Union, a hospitality engagement platform raised $22M in an oversubscribed Series B funding round that will be used to expand into all major US metro areas in 2022. The Austin, Texas-based company's technology enables bars and restaurants to materially increase revenues, mitigate staffing shortages, serve more customers safely and quickly, and create a more personalized consumer experience.
Union’s platform combines the POS system, its mobile ordering/payment solution, and highly granular customer data to deliver a customized experience that allows venues to treat every patron like a VIP.
Customers can order, reorder, tip, and pay via their mobile phones while receiving highly personalized product recommendations. Union increases revenue by up to 30% while also improving the consumer experience by reducing their wait time by up to 80%, according to the company. Over 600,000 consumers have used the Union engagement platform in the last year.
Help Wanted Everywhere
Union’s contactless ordering and payment technology triples each server’s capacity, allowing more of the restaurant or bar to be open for business. Three-fourths of restaurants (74%) say their top challenge is recruiting employees, according to the National Restaurant Association's mid-year supplement to the 2021 State of the Restaurant Industry Report. Operators have been offering incentives for new hires and added benefits for existing employees. On-demand pay apps and other tech tools can help to increase job satisfaction for a more positive workplace culture, which is highly correlated to retention.
A Banner Year for Restaurant Tech Investments
Union's cash infusion coincides with other key investments in the restaurant and restaurant tech space. Drone delivery company Flytrex raised $40M in its latest funding round. Recent, high profile IPOs and acquisitions in the restaurant tech space include SpotOn acquisition of Dolce Software, a labor-management solution, and the digital and mobile commerce platform Appetize. HungerRush plans to acquire Menufy. Plate IQ raised $160M. On the M&A front, Punchh was acquired by ParTechnology and Restaurant365 Bought Compeat. First Watch filed to go public, and Toast filed for an $100M IPO. Online ordering company Olo held its IPO in March.
Union is a cloud-based software system designed by food and beverage professionals themselves, specifically bespoke for the particular needs of high-volume bars and restaurants. Many POS systems have been engineered for a wide-range of hospitality businesses, from quick service to coffee shops, which may not see the same volume at scale that Union has been designed to address. The system performs optimally at high speed whether one or one thousand checks are open, minimizing costly downtime and system failure.