According to a report by Technomic, the US catering market was worth $58 billion in 2017. Business to business catering (B2B) accounted for nearly $22 billion or 38% of the industry. Social catering or B2C contributed to the remaining $36 billion or 62%. B2B catering market has grown by over 20% annually since 2014.
Boston-based ezCater was set up in 2007 by Briscoe Rodgers and Stefania Mallett. Stefania had met Broscoe while trying to rescue Briscoe’s earlier company BuzzPad during the dot-com bubble burst. In 2007, BuzzPad shut down, but Briscoe and Stefania joined hands to set up a food catering company. They realized that they could build an online platform that could simplify B2B catering.
ezCater started by leasing a software platform from a consumer residential food ordering platform. But soon, they realized that the platform was not suitable for B2B catering. They then built their own platform targeted at restaurants to let them advertise and sell catering services. Their first order came from a business professional to deliver food in a medical office in North Carolina.
Today, it has become the world’s largest marketplace for online catering vendors. It allows offices to cater for regular office lunches or plan for more complex offsite client meetings for anywhere between 5 to 2,000 people. It has expanded to building a curated network of more than 67,000 local caterers and restaurants across almost 22,750 cities in the US.
ezCater has now started looking at acquisitions for growth. Since last year, it has made two acquisitions. Last year, it acquired GoCater, a Paris-based corporate catering platform for an undisclosed sum. GoCater offers ezCater-like services in France and Germany. It allows organizations to create a list of approved caterers, takes care of approval workflows, and lets businesses be billed once a month for ordered meals.
GoCater is significantly smaller than ezCater as it has a few hundred restaurants on its platform, but it gives ezCater an entry into the European market. Prior to the acquisition, GoCater had raised a seed round. Its financials are not disclosed, but its annual revenues are estimated to be $5 million.
Last month, ezCater also acquired Monkey Group, a Vancouver-based catering technology competitor for an undisclosed price. Monkey Group is known for its cloud platform MONKEY, which focuses on takeout, delivery, and catering. MONKEY allows food service operators to access a suite of off-premise functionality, including unified multi-channel ordering, CRM, case management, catering sales team and lead management, integrated accounting functionality to manage business-to-business accounts, catering order production management, and delivery dispatch management.
More than 8,000 restaurants use MONKEY to manage their off-premises channels. ezCater plans to integrate the two platforms to offer an POS, loyalty, and back-of-the-house systems that can allow orders and data to flow across the entire catering operation. Additionally, it also gives ezCater access to the Canadian market.
ezCater is privately held so far and has raised $319.8 million in funding from investors including Light Street Capital, Quadrille Capital, Insight Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Wellington Management, GIC, ICONIQ Capital, H14 and Monkfish Equity. Its last round of funding was held earlier this year when it raised $150 million at a valuation of $1.25 billion. The round was led by Lightspeed Ventures and GIC. An earlier $100 million round held in June last year valued it at $700 million. It is looking at listing in 2021 and is in no rush to go public.
ezCater plans to use the newly acquired funds to further deepen its software’s reach by further integrating it into the sales and management systems of the restaurants.
ezCater does not disclose its financials. But within five years of operations, the company had clocked a million dollars in revenues. It claims that it has grown 100% annually over the past eight years. It is not yet profitable as it continues to invest in market growth.