As cities begin to close back up again in response to the rapid rise in coronavirus cases, the country is starting to feel like it did back with the pandemic first started in March. This is especially true for restaurants, which are, once again, no longer allowed to serve indoor diners in some cities.
Here to help is Lunchbox, an NYC startup that helps restaurants integrate ordering, marketing, loyalty and delivery capabilities on their own websites without having to go through third-party services. The company announced Wednesday it closed on a $20 million Series A round led by Coatue, which it will use to accelerate its rapid growth amid the pandemic.
“Our mission is to help restaurants survive this pandemic and thrive beyond it,” co-founder and CEO Nabeel Alamgir said in a statement. “When we started Lunchbox 18 months ago, we wanted to help restaurants with a strong ethos and identity speak to their guests directly. That is more important now than ever before.”
Indeed, third-party platforms like Uber Eats and Grubhub have been making headlines lately for their large commissions and pricing restrictions, which are feared to be bleeding already struggling restaurants dry. Meanwhile, Lunchbox claims restaurants that work with them can earn as much as 30 percent more.
“Lunchbox’s software turns every restaurant into a tech company,” Rahul Kishore of Coatue said in a statement. “Local businesses have been hard hit this year, but we think Lunchbox can help enable these businesses to move online, engage with their customers digitally, and build back stronger than ever.”
These capabilities seem to be resonating. Lunchbox’s user base has grown by more than 900 percent this year. The company has also made several strategic partnerships with leaders in the industry, including LA-based Ordermark (which announced a $120 million Series C on Tuesday) and robot manufacturer Kiwibot to help move into the autonomous delivery space.
To keep up with this growth, Lunchbox is also growing its team. A spokesperson told Built In that the company plans to double its current headcount of about 50 people in the next year or so. These new positions will be in the company’s design, development, customer success and go-to-market departments.