ChowNow, a startup building online ordering systems for restaurants, today announced internal layoffs, australiabusinessblog.com has learned. According to several sources who spoke to this reporter on condition of anonymity, about 100 people were affected in various teams, including onboarding, operations and sales.
ChowNow did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
ChowNow was launched in 2010 as a way for founder and CEO Chris Webb and his friends to easily order and collect from smaller restaurants without an online presence. The company operates branded websites, apps and social media accounts for restaurants, as well as its own mobile and web ordering portals.
ChowNow handles payments and delivery through agreements with companies such as DoorDash and local delivery startups such as Jolt Delivery in Los Angeles. It also provides discoverability and marketing services, for example, by partnering with Instagram to make restaurant photos and stories shoppable by adding “order food” buttons and stickers to the restaurants’ images and videos.
The Playa Vista-based company is positioning itself as a friendlier alternative to incumbents like GrubHub and UberEats, charging a monthly fee rather than the per-order commissions typical of food delivery companies. ChowNow also promises that restaurants will store their own customer data on its platform for marketing and insights.
As of 2019, ChowNow claimed it had more than 11,000 restaurant customers in North America who collectively generated $1 billion in sales 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 out of what they perceive to be capital-intensive betting. 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 US warehouses.