Toast, one year post IPO
It's still good news for the restaurant software company that's managed to creep into consumer consciousness.
A friend texted me from her dinner a few weeks ago to share a positive experience she was having with a QR code. Once seated at the restaurant, she scanned the code to access a digital menu, order, add extra items, and quickly pay with Apple Pay.
“I was like, ooh, ok, finally a value add. Give me more than a link to your menu,” she wrote. And then: “Toast software seems so widespread I was surprised I have not seen that feature before.”
How does this friend, who works nowhere near the hospitality field, know about Toast, a company known for point of sale (POS) systems and payments? Is Toast a thing with diners?
Turns out it is. Thanks to some subtle consumer branding and the introduction of a few strategic diner-facing tech tools, the restaurant payments company with the cheeky bubble-letter logo and toast illustration — an illustration that years ago I thought was too whimsical to land in higher-end restaurants, boy was I wrong — continues to grow steadily.
Restaurants have taken notice. In the first three months of the year, Toast added over 5,000 restaurant locations. In the second quarter, April, May, and June, Toast added over 6,000 locations, breaking its own quarterly record. In total, 68,000 restaurant locations are using Toast right now. (There are an estimated 850,000 or so restaurants in the U.S.)
It’s been just over a year since Toast made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange. At one point during its debut, shares of the company traded at a $20 billion valuation. In today’s conditions, where tech stocks are a little less shiny, the company’s value has settled around half of that — $9 billion as of writing this newsletter. Still, it remains one of the most important, and in my completely unscientific analysis, most-recognized restaurant technology companies in the country by restaurants and diners alike.
“What is Toast, and why is it everywhere?”
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