Signaling tough times ahead, ChowNow lays off employees

ChowNow, a startup that builds branded online ordering systems for restaurants, today announced layoffs internally, TechCrunch has learned. According to several sources who spoke to this reporter on the condition of anonymity, around 100 people were affected across teams including onboarding, operations, and sales.

ChowNow didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

ChowNow launched in 2010 as a way for founder and CEO Chris Webb and his friends to easily order delivery and pickup from smaller restaurants without an online presence. The company powers branded websites, apps, and social media accounts for restaurants as well as its own mobile and web ordering portals.

ChowNow takes care of payments and delivery through agreements with companies like DoorDash and local delivery startups like Jolt Delivery in Los Angeles. It also provides discoverability and marketing services, for example partnering with Instagram to make pictures and stories from restaurants shoppable by adding “order food” buttons and stickers to the restaurants’ images and videos.

The Playa Vista-based company positions itself as a friendlier alternative to incumbents like GrubHub and UberEats, charging a monthly fee instead of the per-order commissions typical of food delivery businesses. ChowNow also promises that restaurants on its platform retain their own customer data for marketing and insights.

As of 2019, ChowNow claimed that it had over 11,000 restaurant customers across North America that were generating $1 billion worth of revenue combined through its platform. ChowNow has raised $64 million in venture capital to date, most recently a $21 million Series C round in 2019 led by 3L Capital and Catalyst Investors.

Economic headwinds have hit the online food ordering space hard as investors pull back from what they perceive as capital-intensive bets. DoorDash recently shut down Chowbotics, a salad robot startup, just a year after it acquired the company for an undisclosed sum. Elsewhere, “instant” delivery company Gopuff announced this week that it would cut 10% of its global workforce — about 1,500 employees — and close 76 of its U.S. warehouses.

This article was originally published on TechCrunch.com. Read More on their website.

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