Catalyst portfolio company ChowNow is launching new products to support local restaurants during COVID-19. A new Instagram alliance enables restaurants to add “Order Food” buttons to their Instagram profile and Stories, free of charge, providing another way to sustain their businesses in these difficult times.
“During this unprecedented pandemic, ChowNow has mobilized all its resources to help local restaurants survive and ultimately thrive, launching new products and services in record time,” said Chris Webb, CEO of Catalyst-backed ChowNow. “This Instagram feature is yet another valuable tool we’re offering our restaurant partners — at no cost to the restaurants — to help them drive more revenue and boost order volume without suffering the outrageous commissions and fees imposed by other delivery apps.”
Unlike other platforms, Catalyst portfolio company ChowNow tries to help smaller restaurants build their own web presence instead of turning to the aggregators. Restaurants pay ChowNow between $100 and $150 per month to use its software to create branded apps and allow ordering through their websites. Restaurants get a full-service dashboard that lets them control all delivery functions, including hours, zones and fees. Most important, through ChowNow, a restaurant owns its own customer information.
ChowNow, whose food-ordering platform makes it easier for local restaurants to accept online orders, has raised $21 million in a series C round of funding from private equity firms 3L Capital and Catalyst Investors.
Catalyst-backed ChowNow is opening its first regional office in Kansas City’s Crossroads Arts District. The LA-based company’s director of recruiting, Candace Taylor, expects roughly 50 jobs to be created in Kansas City over the next year and said hundreds more could follow as the company finds its footing in the midwest.
For QSRs, offering mobile order-ahead can be a double-edged sword. While it’s critical to boosting sales, it also comes with the expense of tackling card-not-present fraud. In the new Mobile Order-Ahead Tracker, Chris Webb – CEO of Catalyst Investors-backed ChowNow – explains how ordering platforms can help by viewing customer interactions across restaurants to identify suspicious behavior, and by handling security measures behind the scenes to tackle fraud and reduce friction.
Catalyst portfolio company ChowNow named Jocelyn Mangan to its Board of Directors. Mangan was previously COO at Snag, and before that SVP Product for OpenTable, where she spent ten years defining the vision, strategy, and development of OpenTable’s products. She has also held senior roles at Ticketmaster.
Catalyst-backed ChowNow, the leading online ordering platform for local restaurants, is now integrated into Instagram, allowing restaurants to accept takeout and delivery orders through the social network. Instagram’s “Start Order” button can be incorporated into restaurant profiles, allowing users to place orders directly through Instagram. An early crop of restaurants tested the feature with unanimously positive results. With its 11,500+ followers, HomeState, a Los Angeles-based Texas taco restaurant and longtime ChowNow partner, was eager to combine the reach of Instagram with the seamless ordering experience of ChowNow.
Chris Webb, CEO of Catalyst-backed ChowNow, speaks with Alan Krueger, Princeton University professor of economics, about building software for small businesses, the competition in the start-up scene, and other labor market elements on Bloomberg TV.
Catalyst-backed ChowNow launched a new publication focused on going behind-the-scenes with restaurants and chefs. Tableside will produce original, in-depth stories for curious eaters, food culture fanatics, and restaurant enthusiasts alike.