“We’re enabling what we call this new era of hospitality,” says Toast CEO Chris Comparato. “We’re investing heavily in R&D. This is a massive opportunity and the restaurant community is a massive market. The market is untapped and we’re in the early days of a major transformation across the entire industry. For us in many ways, we’re still getting started because we’re making massive investments in R&D across the whole spectrum.”
We’re going to do a lot with the money. It’s a nice capital raise ($250 million). We’ve been busy over the course of the past two years really trying to affect a lot of change across the restaurant community. We’re enabling what we call this new era of hospitality. We’re investing heavily in R&D. We look at all of the stakeholders, we look at the guests, we look at the employees, and we look at the owner-manager-operator. This is a massive opportunity and the restaurant community is a massive market. The market is untapped and we’re in the early days of a major transformation across the entire industry. For us in many ways, we’re still getting started because we’re making massive investments in R&D across the whole spectrum.
A good example of what we are doing is how do you get orders into the restaurant? In today’s consumer, personalization, and convenience environment, how does the restaurant get orders? Whether it’s a tool like Toast TakeOut which we piloted in Boston, which allows you to do mobile order ahead with your phone. Or possibly a kiosk or online ordering or a device called Toast Go which we released last year that allows the waitstaff to take orders at the table and turn tables faster. Toast brings (to restaurants) two things. It’s all about more revenue in the door and then operational efficiency.
First and foremost we’re happy being private and putting investments to pilots and R&D and really breaking fruit to the future for the restaurant community. I’ve had a lot of friends who have gone public recently and we’re in no rush. I think it’s a milestone. We’re after building long-term shareholder value. When we look at the opportunity for us it’s to build a pillar company in Boston for the restaurant community that builds long-term investor value.
We’re growing north of a hundred percent year-over-year in terms of the customer base (and revenue). We’ve got over 1,500 employees. We’ve probably added a thousand employees in the past couple of years. We have an engineering center in Dublin but we’re still US-based in terms of the restaurants that we serve. We serve restaurants across the United States, whether it’s an enterprise like Jamba Juice or nationally acclaimed restaurant operators like Danny Meyer and Jose Andres. We’re all over the US in 30 markets but it’s still the early days.
We look at the entire restaurant value chain and we’re trying to make their lives better. It’s hard to run a restaurant. This week we announced Toast Payroll and Team Management. A lot of restaurant operators are spending hours doing payroll every Friday. If we can give them their Friday’s back and streamline payroll so that they can get hours back on efficiency to spend more time with guests that’s what we’re doing. We launched that this week which is an exciting new venture for us. We’re going to continue to innovate across the entire restaurant value chain. This includes the back-office, front office, supply chain, whatever it is.
There are areas where we built and there are areas where we partner. I think it’s a space that’s dynamically changing. At the end of the day, we want to help transform the community and move the community forward. The Boston Market (where Toast is headquartered) is tremendous. There is sort of two sides to the market. You’ve got this amazing supply chain of talent with MIT, BU, UMass, and Harvard. There is plenty of talent. Then you’ve got on the other side of the market these companies that are transforming industries like Wayfair, CarGurus, HubSpot, and Toast. It’s an amazing market for us to thrive in and it’s an awesome restaurant community.
We feel like we’re enabling the community to thrive. A lot of the restaurants that are running Toast are adding workforce. Because we’re making their jobs easier they can spend more time with guests, more time cooking, and more time managing the operations. We see a lot of restaurants that are thriving and adding labor and we’re trying to make it easier for them.