Velocity buys premier restaurant app Cover to meet consumer demand

Velocity, a British digital hospitality service, has acquired US restaurant mobile payments brand Cover as it looks to connect premier restaurants with affluent diners using their smartphones.


Improving the dining experience

Cover is one of the most popular mobile dining applications in the Unites States, with its platform being accepted in over 350 restaurants in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

Velocity’s acquisition of Cover follows its latest Series A funding round. The hospitality group gained $4m worth of greenshoe funding in September, pushing its total raise to $16m. Lars Christensen, Saxo Bank CEO and co-owner of 2-Michelin-starred restaurant Geranium were behind the greenshoe.

Velocity works with a number of premier restararunts across the globe, eateries which boast a combined 21 Michelin stars. Through its new acquisition, the company looks to ‘‘harness mobile payments technology to connect premier venues with the global tastemakers and biggest hospitality spenders.’’

The restaurant group claim that its diners spend 14 per cent more than the average guest, which will have surely influenced its decision to acquire Cover.

‘‘We are delighted to have completed the acquisition of Cover, the first major step in accelerating our international roll-out,’’ commented Alex Macdonald, co-founder and CEO of Velocity.

‘‘With the acquisition, we are excited to bring our suite of loyalty, CRM, and analytics tools to restaurateurs in the US, enabling them to identify, attract, and retain high value, trend-setting customers. We see ourselves as a hospitality company first, and a technology company second – a value shared with our newly expanded U.S. team.’’


High demand for restaurant technology

Another fact which would have been in the minds of Velocity execs during takeover negotiations would have been the overwhelming demand for mobile technology in restaurants.

In July, Payment Eye reported on a piece of research from restaurant reservation firm OpenTable, which found that 46 per cent of US diner customers would consider paying for their food with their smartphone.

Open Table also discovered that 85 per cent of respondents said they wanted to use technology to add their names to a waitlist before arriving at an eatery. Velocity and Cover will now work together to fulfil its customer’s needs.

‘‘Changing consumer behavior and capturing the attention of the premier, global restaurateurs requires a bulletproof product, embedded loyalty into the user experience, and a premium brand that aligns with the influencers in hospitality,’’ explained Mark Egerman, Cover co-founder, who will now become executive vice-president following Velocity’s acquisition.

‘‘Velocity and Cover share this vision, and together we can uniquely bring an unrivaled, international combination of assets and sensibility to the market.’’

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