Ziti is sucking up some of the financing sauce so restaurants can manage their own food supply chain • TechCrunch

Dealing with the food costs of an independent restaurant is always a challenge for the owners, and there is a long list of startups, such as MarginEdgeAnd OneOrderAnd Touch BistroAnd PrestestAnd right NowAnd VoodooAnd Owner.comwhose solutions were drawn up.

Zayty Tech Restaurant

The Zitti app displays food price insights. Image credits: oil

oilCo-founder Dante DiCicco approaches this problem, but from a unique point of view: as a restaurateur. He had watched his parents’ Italian restaurant sites dwindle during the economic downturn of 2007-2008, and now he’s seeing the global pandemic take a similar toll on restaurants.

While opening a new location for his family’s restaurant and acquiring all the food suppliers, that’s when DiCicco hit that process needed technology.

Fortunately, he knew very little about it. A Snap executive, driving the company’s international revenue growth, leveraged that knowledge and teamed with Erek Benz, co-founder of real estate marketplace CREXi, to develop Zitti to put independent restaurants on par, in terms of technology, with the big chains.

The result is a payment software platform that simplifies transactions between restaurants and food suppliers through payment tools, price comparison, and vendor discoverability.

“Improving food prices is the future of the restaurant business,” he told TechCrunch. “Much of the emerging technology has focused on ordering and inventory management, but what’s sorely lacking is actual business intelligence to help restaurants make smarter purchasing decisions. That’s a big part of our mission.”

Zitti was launched in March 2022 after receiving $4 million in seed money in late 2021. DiCicco and his family’s restaurants were the first beta customers.

In the past two months, the company has started charging for its product — $150 per month, per restaurant location — and is seeing “really good sales traction as we double down on our sales efforts,” DiCicco said.

He added, “Our goal in saving money on their food costs is more than that amount, preferably more than once, so it’s been incredibly well received.” “We’ve already had quite a bit of conversions from our test group becoming customers.”

The company has now returned $3.5 million in a seed round jointly led by Oceans Ventures and Serena Ventures with Crossbeam, its pre-investor, also participating. In total, the company has raised $7.5 million since DiCicco and Benz began working on the company in 2019.

Funding will be deployed in technology development with additional AI and automation being added to the platform soon. One of DiCicco’s goals is to be able to show price changes in real time and then use artificial intelligence to predict how a given product will be priced over the next year.

Meanwhile, Zitti is currently focusing on the Southern California and Chicago markets and also sees Austin as an emerging market, DiCicco said.

“The company’s next steps are expanding into new markets, but we’re taking a city-by-city approach,” he added. “It’s going to be important as we’re building density on both the restaurant and supplier side so we can get more market information and therefore more pricing information.”

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