NoWait Raises $10 Million From Drive Capital, Grows Anti-Reservation Mobile App For Casual-Dining Restaurants
NEW YORK, May 20, 2014-- NoWait, the first and only mobile network for casual-dining restaurants, today announced that it has raised $10 million led by Drive Capital, a $250 million Ohio-based fund focused on Midwestern companies, co-founded by former Sequoia partners Mark Kwamme and Chris Olsen, with participation from existing investors. For its restaurant partners, NoWait helps them replace traditional pen-and-paper and buzzers with its full front-of-house, iPad-based system. Guests use NoWait's recently launched consumer-facing application to view a list of nearby restaurants and real-time wait times, enabling them to join wait lists remotely from their mobile phones.
As the first and only mobile network for the casual-dining market, NoWait has increased the number of diners seated monthly from 700,000 to more than 5 million, and has on-boarded nearly 1,000 restaurants to its consumer app since launching nationally just three months ago. The company will use the $10 million investment to expand its network of restaurants and consumers, ramp up engineering to support its technology roadmap, and continue developing more products and services to enhance the guest experience and restaurant operations.
"We are excited to partner with NoWait because they are one of the few technologies that actually make restaurants more money," said Chris Olsen, co-founder of Drive Capital, who will join NoWait's board as part of his company's investment. "It's a great example of what a Midwest team can accomplish by being so close to their customers."
Current NoWait customers include major national chains such as First Watch, On The Border and Chili's, as well as popular independent hotspots like Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group's Eataly, Jose Garces' Village Whiskey, Marc Vetri's Pizzeria Vetri and Hubert Keller's Burger Bar.
"Our restaurant customers are seeking more ways to enhance their business while delighting their customers, and our consumers want the most enjoyable, hassle-free dining experience," said NoWait CEO Ware Sykes. "Leveraging Drive Capital's unique combination of West Coast pedigree with Midwest sensibility will enable us to grow our network faster and meet this demand for richer features such as reservations, guest data and more."
The $10 million Series B funding follows the recent national launch of NoWait's consumer application, after raising $5.5 million in its seed and Series A rounds.
"Since investing in NoWait less than two years ago, we have watched the company continue to explode," said Sean Ammirati, partner at Birchmere Ventures and a NoWait board member. "The growth opportunity is astounding, and NoWait is positioned to dominate the market."
Launching nationally this year, NoWait's guest app is now available in all 50 states and in every major metropolitan area throughout the country. Diners who cannot yet find their favorite restaurant can use the new "Suggest a Restaurant" feature to add and vote for casual-dining restaurants in their area, which has generated more than 15,000 restaurant recommendations. By year-end, the company expects to offer thousands of restaurants on the mobile guest app. With its service now available nationwide, as well as in Canada, NoWait's cloud-based mobile software has been used to seat more than 5 million guests every month, and more than 50 million in the past three years.
With offices in Pittsburgh and New York City, NoWait launched in 2010 in Pittsburgh and is backed by investors including Drive Capital and Birchmere Ventures. The NoWait guest app is a complementary extension of the NoWait Host app, which currently is used in casual-dining restaurants across the country, including major national chains such as First Watch, On The Border and Buffalo Wild Wings, as well as popular independent hotspots like Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group's Eataly, Jose Garces' Village Whiskey, Marc Vetri's Pizzeria Vetri and Hubert Keller's Burger Bar. To date, NoWait has seated more than 50 million diners and regularly seats more than 5 million diners every month. For more information, visit nowait.com, follow @NoWaitApp and like it on Facebook at facebook.com/nowaitapp. The app is available for Android, as well as iOS.
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