Lunchbox, the online ordering engine and web-based marketing provider known for its anti-third-party messaging, has acquired Spread, a commission-free delivery and takeout service that positions itself as a more restaurant-friendly alternative to large-scale delivery platforms.

Both companies are based in New York City, and Spread Founder Andrew Wang will continue as General Manager at Lunchbox. In a press release announcing the deal, the company said this acquisition will ensure that Lunchbox continues to help restaurants build leading-edge digital products to help strengthen the guest-restaurant relationship and bolster their bottom lines with commission-free food ordering and delivery.

As Lunchbox currently serves multi-unit restaurants, the acquisition of Spread allows the company to now service restaurants of all sizes, including helping single-location and mom-and-pop eateries “break their reliance on third-party delivery platforms where restaurants lose money and access to essential customer data.”

Spread allows restaurants to have access to customer data, which allows them to drive future sales and retarget previous customers, which has been a hot topic in the restaurant industry, as most large-format delivery providers do not share this customer data with their restaurant partners or have monetized access to end-user data.

Spread also has multiple applications and can be focused on target neighborhoods or be used as a city-run marketplace.

“Together with Spread, we’re creating a no-commission marketplace for the restaurant industry which is an absolute game-changer as they can keep profits in-house,” said Nabeel Alamgir, CEO and co-founder of Lunchbox. “Restaurants will no longer have to give up 15-30 percent of their online order costs in order to compete with other restaurants and keep their doors open. Now they can process orders online completely free, and create more meaningful relationships with customers as they now have access to diner data.”

The Spread marketplace launched in late 2020 in New York City with 1,500+ restaurants on the platform and $3M+ orders. The release added that, with the new marketplace, “single-location and mom-and-pop restaurants will be able to band together and provide a one-of-a-kind platform” to place on-demand orders directly from their own digital storefronts.

“We created Spread to answer the question: What would it look like if restaurants banded together and built their own marketplace?” said Spread co-founder and CEO Andy Wang. “With this acquisition, we’re able to bring our platform to millions of diners who want access to a more ethical delivery platform that helps restaurants stay profitable. I’m thrilled to be joining the Lunchbox team to spearhead this new platform and help restaurants see greater returns.”

This acquisition will push Lunchbox beyond a white-labeled ordering platform to create a new delivery option for restaurants concerned about the cost of delivery services. It will also allow the company to explore a new business model that complements its current focus area on building direct ordering while also investing in a marketplace “created by restaurant people for the restaurant industry.”

“With Lunchbox’s focus on accumulating varied data points for each customer interaction, we are able to build a customer database for smaller restaurants so they can target repeat patrons,” said Andrew Boryk, co-founder and head of innovation at Lunchbox. “We’re excited to see what the new phase of Spread looks like as we continue to help more restaurants across the industry.”