- Coca-Cola has led a $10 million funding round for point-of-sale connectivity platform Omnivore. According to AgFunder News, the California-based company aims to make digital restaurant commerce more agile by enabling POS systems to integrate with third-party technologies.
- Omnivore allows connectivity through disparate systems via its API. In 2017, the company launched Omnivore Marketplace, which enables restaurants to connect different technologies, including online ordering, delivery, payment and labor. CEO Mike Wior said the funding will be used for development of products that continue to minimize friction between restaurant brands, third-party tech and POS systems — as well as integration with data warehousing and central menu management platforms.
- In a press release, Coca-Cola North America CMO Andy McMillin said his company’s funding fits an objective to seek out innovation, insights and technology to create new value in the industry.
The restaurant industry — focused on food and service — has been notoriously slow when it comes to technology adoption, but the swift pace of digital transformation is forcing operators to catch up. A major barrier for restaurants has been with outdated point-of-sale systems, particularly as third-party technologies like Open Table and Grubhub continue to grow.
Legacy POS systems are efficient at payment processing, but not for much else. Perhaps that’s why there’s a heavy focus on POS investments right now. Toast, for example, just raised $115 million. President and co-founder Steve Fredette told Forbes that the demand is there because of restaurants’ outdated software architectures.
The demand appears to be there for Omnivore as well. Omnivore's Wior told media site Cheddar that it is growing by about 1,000 restaurant locations a month.
Another major issue for restaurants is that data collection is either inefficiently siloed or lost to aggregates all together. As Wior explained in the news release, the Omnivore data product will give restaurants direct access to their data across all technology touchpoints. This is a particularly timely solution as restaurants grapple with third-party delivery companies over who owns that data.
By integrating disparate technologies through its API, restaurants should be able to better future-proof their operations for emerging technologies such as voice ordering.
Coca-Cola’s interest in this technology makes sense because of the company’s large footprint in the restaurant industry. As new technologies and innovations continue to disrupt the industry, larger brands are investing in startups to get up to speed. Tyson Foods, for example, invested in plant-based meat company Beyond Meat in 2016, while Yum! Brands invested $200 million in Grubhub earlier this year.
Coca-Cola is keen on engaging startups, creating a program called The Bridge to systematically engage with startups to stay ahead of the innovation curve. So far at least, the company’s investment in Omnivore seems to fit this commitment.