Tuesday, 8 May 2018 (CNBC) – First Data, one of the world’s largest payment processing companies, is betting that restaurants want more data on their customers.
Salido, a restaurant software company, recently raised $12 million in a Series A round of funding with First Data among the major investors. First Data was initially interested in acquiring the start-up, but chose to participate in a funding round instead, Salido CEO Shu Chowdhury confirmed to CNBC.
First Data declined a request for comment on its interest in Salido, which was previously unreported. But Salido is just one example of how technology companies like First Data are racing to reinvent restaurant payment systems as portals to a valuable data source.
Salido builds and sells point-of-sale hardware and software. POS terminals record orders on a tablet or mobile devices and accept payments with a connected card reader. The devices can act as the “brain” of a restaurant — handling logistics like keeping tabs on inventory and managing servers or chefs in the kitchen.
Troves of customer data can be extracted from the terminals, too. With a swipe of your credit card, the system has a name and an account number. With that, it can guide restaurants in tracking what you have previously ordered, how much you have spent or how long you dined at the table.
“Data can help restaurants understand what they are selling, how they should be selling it, and how they should be treating their customer,” Chowdhury said.
Since 2012, First Data has had its own POS device, Clover, which processes customer payments and analyzes sales. Now, the global volume of transactions processed via Clover’s technology amounts to about $58 billion annually, First Data CEO Frank Bisignano said on the company’s most recent earnings conference call. Salido’s technology will be fully integrated with some Clover products by the end of this year, Chowdhury said.
One of First Data’s biggest competitors, Square, just announced its own play for restaurant services. Square for Restaurants, its fourth POS product, integrates its delivery service Caviar, which Square acquired in 2014. Analysts have previously called for an integration that could bridge the gap between the delivery service and its POS software.
Thanks to transaction-based data collection on platforms like Salido’s, restaurants are able to suggest new menu items based on what you have previously ordered.
Tom Colicchio, who owns a group of restaurants that use Salido’s technology, focuses on trends, not necessarily individual data. When Wichcraft debuts a new sandwich, Colicchio can see how the new menu item is performing across the eatery’s different locations.