There is more consolidation in the restaurant marketing sector as Thanx announces plans to acquire restaurant-focused marketing automation platform ZeroStorefront.

Thanx, a marketing and loyalty firm focused on restaurants, said the acquisition would bring more data insights and intelligence to the company, and more efficiency to partners.

“The ZeroStorefront team has been innovators in consolidating customer data and driving business intelligence that directly produces revenue growth and cost savings for restaurants; we can’t wait to see the outcomes they can drive at a larger scale,” said Thanx founder and CEO Zach Goldstein.

He said the acquisition continues his thesis that data and loyalty is a key area of focus for the restaurant space.

“We believe data is the next frontier for restaurants. It used to be that just producing great food and good service at convenient locations was enough. But the landscape has shifted and brands now also need to deliver relevant and personalized messages to customers when they are not on premises if they hope to earn a repeat visit,” said Goldstein. “Loyalty is core to this and Thanx has delivered on best-in-class marketing automation, but there are more ways that customer data can and should shape the future of restaurants. The entire industry is not yet thinking this way but will be soon, and this acquisition puts us ahead of the curve with one of the best teams in the business.”

ZeroStorefront, formerly Eatgeek, was founded by two former Grubhub employees, Collin Wallace and Ashutosh Joshi. Both will join Thanx, Wallace as vice president of insights and Joshi as director of engineering. The company was part of the 2019 winter Y Combinator class, and it’s operating amid a growing focus from the broader tech industry on the restaurant space.

There were a small handful of foodservice-focused companies in Y Combinator, a well-known Silicon Valley startup incubator, but it’s a growing cohort. Wallace said there has been a dramatic shift in how founders and technology folks look at the space.

“There has been a popular misconception that restaurants are bad businesses with poor margins and high failure rates, but a lot of technology companies are realizing that restaurants are not bad businesses, they just have bad tools and poor access to data,” said Wallace. “With that realization, a whole new generation of innovative companies is emerging to bridge the gap and help restaurants realize their full potential.”

He said ZeroStorefront is one of many technology companies that’s meeting the opportunity and demand in the space for better digital tools.

“Opportunity can be measured as the gap between value and perception, and any time you see a $1 trillion-plus-per-year industry that has a low perception but a high value, there is a really big opportunity, and innovative companies will follow,” said Wallace.

Terms of the deal were not released, nor was an integration timeline. But with Wallace and Joshi joining in key senior positions, their technology is clearly an important piece of Thanx’s plans.