Technology succeeds when it makes the everyday more magical, more efficient, just…more. E la Carte provides exactly that experience with its customized Presto tablets for restaurants.
The Y Combinator alumni company has been disrupting the everyday restaurant experience for just over a year by delivering menus, wine lists, nutritional info, instant ordering, play-while-you-wait games, and payment options tableside via touchscreen tablet.
Today, the company announced its biggest partnership to date. E la Carte has partnered with HMSHost, owner and operator of restaurants in 113 airports nationwide, including the 20 busiest airports in North America. Together, the companies plan to make in airport dining faster, more enjoyable, and less stressful. Evidence of this impact can be seen in E la Carte’s existing restaurant partnerships where tips increase by an average of 15% and sales by 10% with the introduction of the Presto.
“Serving the busy road warrior is an excellent application of our Presto tablets,” says E la Carte CEO Rajat Suri. “With HMSHost’s global reach, we are looking to fundamentally upgrade the traveler dining experience.”
The Presto tablet made its debut at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in recent weeks with Charolette being the next to receive the technology and the remaining HMSHost airport restaurants on a rolling basis going forward. The volume and velocity with which people move through the world’s airports make it the ideal environment for this progressive, time-saving technology. It won’t hurt for growing market awareness either, with Suri going so far as to say, “airports are huge funnels.”
“The Presto tablet is a natural fit for our airport restaurants, as we constantly seek to identify innovations that will enrich travelers’ dining experiences,” says HMSHost chief innovation officer Paul Mamalian. “The Presto tablet directly addresses travelers’ primary concerns: speed of service and convenience.”
The Presto is a rugged 7-inch tablet with a built-in credit card reader and that offers a 20-hour battery life. E la Carte charge partner restaurants a subscription fee to utilize the tablets and accompanying software. As part of the partnership, HMS and E la Carte will share the burden of onboarding restaurants, including digitizing menus and training staff.
Beyond its HMS partnership, E la Carte is already in the process of deploying 20,000 tablets in 600 partner restaurants worldwide. The startup team has grown along with its business, with Suri now employing more than 35 people.
E la Carte received $4 million in seed funding from Lightbank, a venture formed by Groupon co-founders Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell. The “feet on the street” business development experience and deep pockets of the Lightbank team make for an ideal partnership in this case.
“[E la Carte] gives customers more control and allows them to pace the meal themselves, whether they’d like to sip cocktails at one of our bars while waiting for their flight, or indulge in a quick meal without having to wait for their bill,” says Mamalian.