When Hypepotamus last spoke to Popmenu’s CEO Brendan Sweeney in the fall, the Atlanta SaaS startup had just raised a $17 million Series B to help restaurants stay afloat during pandemic closures.
Now in summer 2021, Sweeney is seeing a drastic turn in the restaurant space.
“There’s a massive global shift currently taking place in restaurant technology,” he told Hypepotamus. “Owners have quickly gone from having to cope with COVID and figure out heavy off-premise dining to navigating a strong return of on-premise dining as markets re-open, combined with a devastating labor shortage and heightened consumer expectations for a frictionless experience. Restaurant owners are in a position where on one hand they can’t afford to pass up their share of more profitable on-premise business after losses suffered last year, but on the other hand, every step of operating a restaurant is more challenging since COVID.”
Popmenu has raised a new $65 million Series C round to help restaurants navigate such stressors that come from the “new normal.”
Tiger Global Management led the round, with participation from Salesforce Ventures, Bedrock Capital, Base10, and Felicis Ventures.
Sweeney told Hypepotamus that they had started conversations with Tiger at the tail end of Series B fundraising, and said they still “canvassed many of our clients and heard what an impact we were having on their business, followed us through the first part of the year and ultimately were ready to move when we were.”
“It also helped that both were big-picture focused and moved fast, making the whole process less of a distraction for us,” he added.
John Curtius, Partner at Tiger Global Management said in a statement: “We are thrilled to be partnering with Popmenu as they continue to build momentum through an incredibly well-differentiated product that thousands of customers truly love. We think we’re still in the early days of this global shift in restaurant tech, and we strongly believe the Popmenu team is best positioned to capitalize on it.”
Popmenu is now in over 5,000 restaurants locations, according to numbers released by the startup. Key to their success, they say, is their ability to improve first-time guest conversion rates. Sweeney said that clients are “saving several thousand dollars a month while improving performance across their digital experience: from SEO to website to email & SMS messaging to online ordering.”
The additional capital will go towards building out Popmenu Max, which helps manage the tech stack that restaurant patrons interact with. “We were already focused on building one holistic tool to help simplify how restaurants manage all of their guest-facing functions – we call it Popmenu Max – but timing and market factors are dramatically increasing the need for it, so we thought it made sense to really accelerate and the additional capital allows us to do just that,” added Sweeney.
The work Popmenu is doing across the restaurant tech continues to become more imperative, since a recent survey suggests upwards of 10% of restaurants across the country permanently closed due to the pandemic, those left open are trying to attract workers and patrons alike.