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  • Writer's pictureYalin Solmaz

8 Start-Ups the Foodservice Industry Should Team Up With

Updated: Nov 26, 2020

Just as trends in business are constantly changing, so are successful business models. And since start-ups tend to lead in transforming and adapting their industry, it makes perfect sense to look into the entrepreneurs in each sector to get a read of where the industry might be heading towards. Ultimately, we believe a brighter future exists when these startups collaborate with their traditional counterparts in innovative ways.

In our previous blog posts about the restaurant sector, we first emphasised the four key trends of digitalisation that the foodservice industry should keep in mind. Then, we provided a couple of examples of successful and struggling businesses on their road to digital transformation. In our third instalment, we will take a closer look at eight start-ups that are revolutionising the way business is done.

To better grasp the winds of change, let us delve into some examples. The start-ups that we selected are particularly relevant as they cater to the restaurants’ needs of differentiation, innovation, and customisation, and all have raised at least $2.5M in funding so far.

Here we didn’t include any third-party delivery start-ups (such as UberEats or Deliveroo) as they have proved to be vital during the pandemic and need no such introduction.

So without further ado, here are the 8 start-ups that could be crucial for your business in other aspects of digital transformation:

1. Vita Mojo Operation System (VMOS)

UK-based software to enhance customer experience, operations and data

Who they are and what they do:

In the second instalment of our restaurant sector analysis, we mentioned Vita Mojo, one of the first totally digital and cashless quick-service restaurants in the UK, as one of the success stories in the foodservice industry. After the success of their restaurant, the founders Nick Popovici and Stefan Catoui didn’t stop there. They developed their own software called the Vita Mojo Operation System. As insiders of the sector, they detected possible challenges faced by the hospitality sector first-hand and came up with relevant solutions. They offer products such as loyalty schemes, data collection, and mobile ordering. This way, they enable their collaborators to target their deficiencies and accelerate their digital evolution. Some of the famous clients of this all-encompassing software include popular restaurants such as Yo! Sushi, Leon, and The Athenian.

Why you should team up with them:

Vita Mojo Operation System is a comprehensive software that will help you master the art of digital transformation.

“Our mission is to fuel sales, efficiency and satisfaction for market leading hospitality brands, by partnering on a journey of digital exploration.” Nick Liddle — Commercial Director

2. Soundtrack Your Brand

Background music streaming service out of Stockholm, Sweden

Who they are and what they do:

Music has long been known to alter our mood and behaviours dramatically. Undoubtedly, what we listen to while we eat affects our happiness and satisfaction levels. The founders of Soundtrack Your Brand came up with a great medium to incorporate music into different business models. Whether it is a bar, gym, or restaurant, they enable their collaborators to create customised playlists to match their atmosphere with hundreds of ready-made playlists curated by experts. All the music on the Sweden-based start-up is licensed and backed by Spotify.

Why you should team up with them:

With Soundtrack Your Brand, you will find the best background music that matches the atmosphere of your business.

“Music constitutes a critical element in any brand experience, but in the restaurant industry it is absolute core in delivering a customer experience that drives the actual business. Independent research has proven that delivering a on-brand-music-experience effected top-line sales with 9% for one of the worlds biggest restaurant chains “ Ola Sars, Founder, CEO & Chairman, Soundtrack Your Brand

3. Karma

The Swedish application to minimize food waste

Who they are and what they do:

Sweden-originated start-up Karma addresses one of the most alarming issues in the restaurant industry: Sustainability. With annually 1.3 billion tonnes of food going into waste worldwide, food industries are remarkably culpable in high CO2 emissions. On their mission to fight food waste, Karma offers a marketplace for restaurants to sell food that would be otherwise gone to waste at a reduced price. Their main goal is to eradicate food waste and help the environment while creating new revenue streams in the process. For these invaluable efforts, the start-up was even endorsed by former US president Barack Obama in 2019. As of Nov 2020, 4 million meals have been saved equating to 1,5 million kgs of food.

Why you should team up with them:

Karma will bring you one step further to achieve sustainability via minimising food waste embedded in your business model and provide a new revenue stream.

4. Future Ordering

Cloud company that combines different ordering channels

Who they are and what they do:

Since 1998, Andreas Stormvinge has been active in professional digital development. He translated his own experiences from various industries to Future Ordering in 2016. The start-up offers a cloud-based solution for online ordering via the web, mobile, and kiosks. To help restaurants in optimizing their operations, the platform utilises Machine Learning. With an omnichannel self-ordering technology, Future Ordering provides services such as removing unnecessary queues, linking digital marketing to Point of Sales or analysing and optimising specific data to maximise revenue from its cloud.

Why you should team up with them:

The omnichannel self-ordering system of Future Ordering will kill the queues during ordering and paying while increasing the satisfaction of your customers.

“Future ordering is powering the most profitable restaurant chains in the world. The enterprise customers should focus on what they are good at which is their core business of running a restaurant! We are good at customer experience, helping them achieve higher check averages, and managing the entire omnichannel order mechanism fully labelled with their own brand, optimised for speed, spend and operational efficiency’’. Alexander Herbring, Head of Partnerships, Future Ordering

5. ZenReach

Online marketing expertise from San Francisco

Who they are and what they do:

Founded in 2012, the San Francisco based start-up ZenReach has transformed businesses from food & beverage to entertainment & recreation. What ZenReach offers is quite practical and crucial. Through a marketing software, it allows customers to access public Wi-Fi and uses customer details to create user profiles, track subsequent visits, analyse customer behaviour, provide location-based insight, tailor loyalty programs and help the restaurant connect with potential customers. This way, they manage to unite online marketing with in-store results.

Why you should team up with them:

ZenReach will assist you in knowing your customers better and reaching out for more.

6. Bentobox

New York-based platform for restaurant websites and online ordering

Who they are and what they do:

The online presence of restaurants is just as important as their physical presence. To this end, Bentobox develops customised websites for restaurants by eliminating third-party services. The start-up offers tools that drive high-margin revenue directly through the restaurant’s website. Bentobox is currently used by over 5,000 restaurants worldwide. Its international success comes as no surprise, Bentobox has the potential of adding up 70% more website traffic and five times more return on investment for its partners.

Why you should team up with them:

You can develop and customise your website to entice customers with the aid of experts from Bentobox.

7. Kitchen Cut

British software to manage kitchen operations

Who they are and what they do:

Being a restaurant vet himself, Michelin starred chef John Wood grew tired of inefficient and ambiguous systems for back-of-kitchen operations. Together with an engineering team, Simon Haynes and Wood launched a start-up to provide greater insight into their dishes by digitising information. Kitchen Cut helps its 2,000 restaurant partners to get better information about the most profit-bringing, favourite or overly-priced dishes. From purchasing to inventory, the partners have a better grasp of their current and future operations. Additionally, kitchens can get insight into calorie counts and manage allergens to provide a better service to their customers.

Why you should team up with them:

You will have better access to insights and data about your dishes with Kitchen Cut.

8. Planday

A platform for employee scheduling from Denmark

Who they are and what they do:

As a leading online employee scheduling platform, Planday is restructuring shift planning for businesses from healthcare, hospitality, retail, and leisure industries. With its practical and simple interface, Planday is taking staff management to the next level. Employers can access and edit their workers’ schedules, receive schedule reports, and communicate with their employees all in the same space. Initially established in 2004 for a bar in Copenhagen, Planday has now grown internationally. Also, as of 2020, more than 100 million shifts have been created on the platform.

Why you should team up with them:

Planday enables you to manage your employees’ schedules in the most efficient way possible.


In our fourth and final instalment of the restaurant sector analysis, we will present our vision of the future of the foodservice industry with an emphasis on the digital mindset. Subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter if you’d like to be notified.

By Navivest Research and Analysis Team

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