Even pizza parties have gone virtual with the launch of ChowNow: a food ordering service that connects to Facebook as well as mobile and web pages. ChowNow has raised $3 million in series A funding, the company announced today, with plans to release new products and expand its national operations.
Returning investor GRP Partners led the round, along with Daher Capital, Double M Capital, Karlin Ventures, and Velos Partners.
The idea behind ChowNow is to send customers to their favorite restaurant’s Facebook page or website to place an order instead of having the customers choose from a long list of nearby eateries. “If a restaurant sends a customer to a portal (GrubHub, etc.), it would be like Delta sending customers to Kayak or Priceline to buy tickets,” explained ChowNow co-founder and CEO Christopher Webb in a statement. “The vast majority of to-go orders come from repeat customers so it’s not logical to pay 15 percent to a portal if someone was going to order from the restaurant anyway.”
Webb launched the site in May 2012 at the National Restaurant Association Show with co-founders Eric Jaffe and Josiah Carlson. Based in Venice, CA, the team includes veterans of tech companies such as OpenTable and Google.
Since its launch, the service has attracted hundreds of local restaurants, as well as chains like CiCi’s Pizza and Ground Round, and ski resorts Mammoth Mountain and Homewood Mountain Resort. ChowNow plans to add 1,000 new restaurants to the list in the first half of 2013.
With the additional funds, the company will be able to add new features, including catering (which is currently in beta), expanded customer relationship management (CRM) services, and marketing tools such as push notifications.
Said Steven Dietz, Partner at GRP, “GRP works with entrepreneurs solving important challenges for many people. ChowNow has the potential to significantly improve the way restaurants communicate with their customers. This is a large opportunity and the innovative team at ChowNow has already begun delivering on their promises to restaurants and their customers. There is an exciting future ahead for this company.”