A lot has changed for itsaCheckmate since it came onto the scene eight years ago.

Originally it started as a third-party integration company for restaurants’ point-of-sale (POS) systems—remember the sea of tablets operators often had to deal with to handle multiple digital orders?

Vishal Agarwal, Checkmate founder and CEO

Now it’s expanded into an all-around digital ordering supplier, serving more than 27,000 locations. Offering various products including first-party and third-party integrations, loyalty, data analytics, catering, custom web and apps and most recently kiosks and voice AI.

To reflect the evolution, the company now known as Checkmate, unveiled a rebrand at the Food On Demand conference last month, featuring a new logo, visual identity and revamped website.

In an industry saturated with tech-centric brands, coupled with the headache restaurant brands face juggling multiple tech vendors, Checkmate Founder and CEO Vishal Agarwal believes it has forged a path to becoming a one-stop-shop for operators to manage omnichannel presence.

“We wanted to come out with this philosophy that we are not just a tech company, we are a solutions-oriented company. We work with the heart and connect with our clients,” said Agarwal, commenting on the rebrand. “And, hey, we are a multi-product company now so let’s re-represent ourselves to the world.”

Biting into voice AI

On the heels of the rebrand, Checkmate added voice AI to its roster, acquiring the company VoiceBite. It now offers customers voice AI phone ordering, which it says can handle 95 percent of calls without human intervention. VoiceBite can intelligently interpret requests, even vague ones, allowing customers to order as they normally would at a restaurant, and also has upselling capabilities.

Checkmate acquired VoiceBite to power Voice AI ordering through phones and drive-thrus.

In the coming Q3 or Q4 of this year, Agarwal anticipates the addition of an AI-voice drive-thru product.

VoiceBite was founded just last year. When asked what attracted Checkmate to go all-in with the startup, he said the three co-founders, Robert Nessler, Arjun Vasan and Chris Lam, have extensive experience in developing successful voice AI solutions. With former roles in companies such as kea and Presto, the trio has helped create products for hundreds of quick-service restaurants.

On collaborating with Checkmate, VoiceBite Co-founder and CEO Robert Nessler said, “The unification will rapidly accelerate voice AI development for restaurants.”

Kiosk craze

VoiceBite marks just the latest consolidation for Checkmate, following the purchase of Open Tender last March, which serves as the backbone for a newly built kiosk product.

“We always saw the wave coming for a kiosk solution,” said Agarwal.

Checkmate kiosk pilots went live in May. 

Kiosk competition is heating up industry-wide as more operators look to technology to increase revenue and decrease labor costs.

Despite companies such as Bite, GRUBBRR, and Otter making waves—to name a few— Agarwal remains confident.

“We have built a system that makes the kiosk truly customizable to reflect the [restaurant’s] brand,” he said. Adding that “the backend support of POS integration and menu management combined with front-end customizability… is what’s going to help us really stand out in this market.”

“There are good players and other credible players and we look forward to competing,” he said.

Customers are offered risk-free trials and pilots went live in May. Feedback has been positive.

Looking ahead, Checkmate has no qualms about slowing down.

“This is about skating to where the puck will be. Our sole focus is to become the most comprehensive digital ordering solution provider.”