Point-of-sale integration has spawned a whole industry of technology brands looking to ease operations for restaurants diving deeper into delivery with multiple providers. Vishal Agarwal, the founder and CEO of ItsaCheckmate, sees room for all the players in this space, as the focus in restaurants shifts from experimenting with delivery to going whole hog by integrating as many providers as possible—and trying to turn a profit along the way.
As ItsaCheckmate builds its staff of largely remote employees, the New York-based outfit proudly proclaims its goal of working with all delivery providers, not just the largest. Outside of players like DoorDash, Postmates, Caviar, the brand has maintained a focus on smaller, regional providers that can drive surprising volume as more restaurants branch out beyond one or two delivery services. Texas ToGo, Snackpass, FreshBytes, Slice, EatStreet and Foodora are a handful of the approximately 40 regional players ItsaCheckmate currently integrates.
“From where I’m sitting, this industry is just continuing to explode and grow at a phenomenal place,” Agarwal said. “We are like the back end. The restaurants don’t see us when it works, the customers don’t know about us, but when it works it’s just invisible.”
Three years after launching ItsaCheckmate, the company is still adding three or four new delivery providers to its roster each month, underscoring that growth in delivery isn’t exclusively about order volume, customer frequency or funding rounds. As the investment media covers mega-chain delivery partnerships, like McDonald’s as it moves beyond its once-exclusive Uber Eats deal, Agarwal sees diversifying delivery channels as the new normal for a variety of reasons that should benefit restaurant operators.
“I think exclusivity contracts will start going away very shortly,” he said. They were way ahead of the times, but that was almost three years ago,” he said of McDonald’s. “The industry and landscape has changed massively, so in the very near future more brands will say you know what, we need all the different providers, we need them all integrated into our POS and we need the best rates from all of you.”
For large, multi-unit restaurant brands Agarwal said direct integration into existing restaurant systems is the key to eliminating theft and calculating royalties paid to the franchisor. For all restaurants, including smaller independent players, he added that convincing them to pay “$80 to $100/month” for order integration on top of delivery fees is an easier sell once it’s explained that reduced staffing and less manual entry can offset the cost. Those savings can be multiplied drastically, he said, in restaurant brands with hundreds or thousands of locations.
Part of ItsaCheckmate’s future strategy is storytelling among those operating in the restaurant delivery world, which is the charge for Cheryl (Clements) Durkee, its new VP of brand identity. Durkee previously founded PieShell, a food and beverage crowdfunding platform.
Countless delivery integration providers have sprung up in recent years, including Chowly, Ordermark, Your Fare, Omnivore and Olo. As a sign of the category’s growing clout, many of the integrators continue attracting investor cash, and Olo recently announced a high-dollar move to One World Trade Center—one of the most expensive office buildings in North America.