Reservation and booking platform Tock secured a $10-million investment round as it pivoted from in-person operations to off-premises enabler to help restaurants provide takeout and curbside meals.
When COVID-19 hit, the restaurant industry came to a screeching halt, especially places where you need to reserve a table. Prior to the pandemic, that was the core function of Tock. The company served as a reservation, event booking and hospitality tool provider for about 3,000 restaurants and wineries before the pandemic hit. It had booked nearly $1 billion in payments for client businesses.
CEO Nick Kokonas said that while the world changed, the company’s goals did not.
“Tock’s mission has never wavered,” said Kokonas. “We always focus on empowering restaurants to have a better, direct connection with their customers. In doing so, we help them provide superior hospitality, increase their sales and streamline their operations. While we never expected a crisis like this, we know that what worked so well in good times is now critical. Our work has always been rewarding because we love the hospitality industry. Now it is truly important.”
Nearly overnight, the company pivoted to launch Tock Go, an all-new platform under its umbrella. It allows partner companies to make the most of to-go, curbside and delivery orders without investing in yet another tool. Restaurants like the independent gem Tilia in Minneapolis, for instance, have used the system to roll out cook-at-home versions of star menu items and family meals.
And it actually started with a restaurateur who was trying to “hack” the platform to give customers an option to order delivery and curbside through the reservation system. That piqued Kokonas’ interest and spurred along his entrepreneurial spirit.
“We built this all in a week, utilizing Tock’s existing data structures and back end. But we really had a team going 24/7 because we anticipated this shut down,” Kokonas explained to Forbes.
That drive to help clients by any means necessary also grabbed, or at least kept, the interest of investors too. The company announced a successful $10 million Series C round two months later, lead by Valor Equity Partners. The round brings company investments to $27.5 million, according to Crunchbase data.
“We were impressed with Tock’s system, innovations and rapidly expanding raving-fan customer base throughout 2019,” explained Valor Siren Ventures fund manager, and Tock board member Jon Shulkin, “but we were blown away by its rapid development and deployment of Tock To Go amidst this terrible pandemic. Tock revealed its true grit and entrepreneurial spirit, and is helping thousands of restaurants build a bridge to the future.”
According to the company, the new platform that launched in mid-March has already enabled restaurants sell more than 1 million orders.