Smartphone, delivery apps have drastically impacted the restaurant industry; according to a survey of 1,500 consumers, 44% of people ages 18-34 are ordering delivery. If restaurants want to maximize profits from delivery, they have to be accessible on every delivery app, which often translates to chaos in the kitchen. Ordermark is the online ordering management platform that was built specifically to help restaurants coordinate and manage delivery orders from multiple apps. The platform, launched in 2017, is so effective that large mega-chains like Subway, Pinkberry, and Papa John’s are using it. Along with its proprietary technology, Ordermark offers consulting services to strategically redesign restaurants take-out menus, ensuring the food is delivered with the exact same quality a customer would expect when dining in-house.
LA TechWatch chatted with founder Alex Canter to discuss how Ordermark is poised to lead the emerging off-premise dining market, the company’s plans for continued growth and latest funding round, which brings its total funding to $30.6M across four rounds.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
Investors: Foundry Group (Lead investor), TenOneTen Ventures, Vertical Venture Partners, Mucker Capital, Act One Ventures, and Nosara Capital.
Series B round – $18M.
As a restauranteur, I know that the printer in the kitchen is the heart of restaurant operations. Ordermark combines every available delivery platform in one simple interface and sends those orders directly to a kitchen printer. We also provide bespoke, consulting services for each restaurant, helping them to redesign their delivery menu in the same way I did for Canter’s to ensure the food will arrive exactly as customers expect.
What inspired you to start Ordermark?
The combined forces of the 2008 recession and millennials desire for on-demand convenience created a well-documented decline in foot traffic to restaurants. I am the fourth-generation proprietor of my family’s restaurant, Canter’s Deli, in Los Angeles, and our restaurant was impacted as well.
I started experimenting with new ways to reach customers – food trucks, pop-ups, delivery. Delivery services gave us an immediate jump in incremental revenue, but I realized that we needed to be on every platform –big or small, national or local – in order to be relevant & accessible to customers. However, managing multiple platforms was confusing and frustrating: we had 9 tablets, 2 laptops, and a fax machine. My staff refused to use them, so we created the technology that would later become Ordermark, to help simplify all that complexity while still maximizing revenue from delivery.
Additionally, I wanted to create a delivery experience to match the restaurant experience as closely as possible, so I would drive menu items around Los Angeles, checking the temperature and texture of the food at regular intervals. I realized that we needed to change our packaging and tweak our delivery menus, in order to offer delivery items that would arrive to the customer’s home or office in a way that matched their expectations from the restaurant. I changed the packaging on our potato pancakes, for example.
In short, we created Ordermark to help my family’s restaurant, Canter’s Deli in Los Angeles, adapt and thrive in the mobile delivery era. It was tested, refined, and built in a restaurant. We then realized that as a company, we could help other restaurants experiencing the same challenges.
How is Ordermark different?
Ordermark is the only online ordering management company that was “born in the kitchen” to help restaurants work with multiple delivery platforms. Ordermark was built, tested, and refined from the perspective of a restaurant operator instead of just forcing new technology on the already-overwhelmed restaurant market.
What’s your business model?
We charge restaurants a monthly subscription fee to use our product, with no set-up fee!
How has the business changed since we chatted after your Series A last year?
I am most excited about the team. We’ve increased from 30 employees to over 100+ and added some key executives along the way. We now work with over 3000+ restaurants, including many national chains.
I am most excited about the team. We’ve increased from 30 employees to over 100+ and added some key executives along the way. We now work with over 3000+ restaurants, including many national chains
What was the funding process like?
I enjoy meeting with different types of investors that are looking to add fuel to our fire. It’s oddly similar to dating. We were approached by many VC groups and Private Equity firms and ultimately chose a partner that we felt was the best match for scaling our business: Foundry Group.
Foundry has an incredible track record, and it was great getting to know them through the Techstars program, as well as through some of our existing investors.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
The biggest challenge was staying focused on the actual business. Fundraising can be very distracting, and there were many times where I had scheduling conflicts. I always want to focus my attention on partnerships/business development/growing the team, and the diligence process can get very detail-oriented.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Our traction, the team, and the long-term vision of helping restaurants of all sizes prepare for the next generation of the industry. We are very passionate about helping restaurants grow their delivery business.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We are going to stay laser focus on growing our restaurant count and continue to expand our product offerings through integrations with POS systems, Kitchen Display Systems, Accounting Softwares, and many other existing restaurant technologies.
What advice can you offer companies in Los Angeles that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
It takes a village. Surrounding yourself with a solid founding team, mentors, advisors, and investors is mission-critical when you are getting off the ground. Don’t be afraid to give up equity to get good people behind you early on. You likely won’t have the money to afford real salaries, and therefore will need to overcompensate with upside.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We are going to continue ramping up to make the largest impact possible.
It’s probably unfair to ask you this but what is your favorite restaurant in LA?
I have too many: Felix, Sugarfish, Bestia, Bavel, Larchmont Wine and Cheese Shop, the list goes on.