The race for tech providers to fold all of restaurants’ digital needs into one point of sale (POS)-centric solution is growing more competitive. Fiserv announced Monday (Oct. 18) that it has signed an agreement to acquire restaurant marketing and commerce platform BentoBox with a goal to integrate the company’s technology into Fiserv’s Clover restaurant technology solutions. With this acquisition, Clover will have access to BentoBox’s restaurant website-building products, digital ordering features and marketing tools.
“Consumers today expect a consistent, seamless experience when engaging with restaurants both in person and online,” Frank Bisignano, president and CEO of Fiserv, said in a statement. “The addition of BentoBox’s premier website capabilities to the business management solutions of Fiserv will strengthen our omnichannel platform, providing restaurants of all sizes and types with an integrated offering that delivers a customizable consumer experience.”
While restaurant technology has rapidly advanced since the start of the pandemic, it has done so piecemeal, with often incompatible solutions rising to the fore, leaving restaurants to navigate a disorderly tangle of digital tools. Now, as restaurants aim to make their digital presence a more permanent fixture of their business, tech providers are racing to meet as many of restaurants’ digital needs as possible with comprehensive, connected systems.
POS providers have been at the forefront of this shift, looking for ways to leverage their payment systems to connect previously disparate restaurant processes. For its part, Fiserv has, in the past couple of months, launched Clover Station Solo, a device that seeks to consolidate front and back of house operations and integrated with food delivery marketplace Grubhub for delivery orders.
You may also like: POS Providers Compete To Be Restaurants’ One-Stop Shop
This latest acquisition fits into Fiserv’s broader push to provide frictionless convenience for consumers on the one hand and a comprehensive range of digital options for merchants on the other.
“We’re going after categories where there is a lot of inefficiency or a need for speed, and areas where people still use a lot of checks and there’s a need to migrate to digital wallets,” Nandan Sheth, head of Fiserv’s Carat and Digital Commerce business told Karen Webster in an interview. “It’s about enabling consumer experiences and showing that our merchants can provide a choice for their customers.”
For its part, BentoBox has also been highly active in identifying places where restaurants’ digital needs have not been met. In late September, for example, the company announced the launch of its Pre-Order & Catering product, addressing a gap in the market.
“We spoke with a large number of restaurants that were offering catering and other types of preorders … and we found that they all had similar problems,” Brian LeVee, vice president of product at restaurant marketing and commerce platform BentoBox, told PYMNTS in an interview. “There weren’t many tools available in this space for these types of catering and other types of preorders … We saw those deficiencies were particularly magnified by COVID-related issues and staffing shortages.”
The move to integrate digital ordering features may be key for Clover, as PYMNTS research from The Bring-It-to-Me Economy report, created in collaboration with Carat from Fiserv, finds that 58% of consumers are ordering restaurant-made food online more often than they were before March 2020, and all told 61% of consumers are now ordering restaurant food online.