Chattanooga Dining Management Startup Sold For $11.5 Million

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Chattanooga dining management startup company has been sold for $11.5 million in cash.

Quickcue, with offices on Main Street, is only two years old.

OpenTable, Inc., the world's leading provider of online restaurant reservations, announced that it has acquired Quickcue, LLC, a provider of guest management systems for restaurants, pursuant to an agreement and plan of merger. 

"We're excited to welcome the talented Quickcue team to our restaurant technology group," said Joseph Essas, chief technology officer of OpenTable. "We're looking forward to working with the Quickcue engineering team to accelerate our efforts aimed at providing our customers with the most sophisticated mobile waitlist technology on the market and developing our next generation hospitality solutions for restaurants that are primarily walk-in, but accept reservations."

The nine Quickcue team members joining OpenTable will continue to operate from their offices in Chattanooga. 

OpenTable will support approximately 40 existing Quickcue customers and plans to discontinue offering the current Quickcue product to new customers while it works on its next-generation solution.

Quickcue officials said, "The OpenTable network connects restaurants and diners, helping diners discover and book the perfect table and helping restaurants deliver personalized hospitality to keep guests coming back. We have been inspired by and share their vision of hospitality and commitment to creating valuable tools to connect restaurants and diners.

"You can be assured that we are committed to making your experience through this transition as smooth as possible. If you are a Quickcue customer, OpenTable plans to honor your subscription agreements and service contracts. If you have simply been taking Quickcue for a spin with our free trial, we will reach out to you shortly and provide you with your options.

"We've had a wonderful two years working with each and every one of our clients. You have provided valuable feedback and many times hosted us in your restaurants, extending your own special brand of hospitality to our team members – and we sincerely thank you. It has been our pleasure serving you. We are excited about the opportunities as we begin our journey with OpenTable. We look forward to serving you in the future."

Quickcue raised $2.7 million in private equity during a 60-day, Series A funding round, "to launch its vision of enabling exceptional hospitality everywhere" in September and October 2012. 

That came just over a month after Quickcue landed Chattanooga-based Craftworks Restaurants and its nationwide locations as its first major customer.

“I think every casual dining restaurant in the country will be using Quickcue or similar technology within three to five years,” said Lex Tarumiaz, Quickcue’s chairman, at the time. “Chattanooga is quickly becoming known as a tech town, Quickcue and its product offering have enormous potential to be a real success story, not only for the benefit of the company, but for all of Chattanooga.”

Officials at the time said Quickcue’s vision was centered on redefining the “conversation” guests have with restaurants "by truly opening communication channels that will improve the overall dining experience. It is a vision that separates Quickcue from other iPad-based reservation, waitlist and notification applications in the casual-dining arena."

“We want to turn every restaurant into “Cheers,” said CEO Bo Ferger. “Our current waitlist, reservation and notification application is one of the most robust in the space, but our vision is to open meaningful dialogue between the guest and restaurant, through rich guest profiles and two-way, mobile communication tools."

Quickcue released its self-named app in July 2012 and had been working steadily to build out new products and features to support its vision.  

Officials then said Quickcue was revolutionizing the way restaurants engage their guests. The Quickcue host stand iPad application "serves as the hub for restaurants to manage their waitlist, take reservations, and develop rich guestbook profiles that create loyal customers and valuable guest insights."

The acquisition will be recorded in the fourth quarter 2013 financial statements of OpenTable and is not expected to have a material impact on fourth-quarter and full-year 2013 financial guidance provided by the company on Nov. 5. OpenTable will provide financial guidance for the first quarter and full-year 2014 financial outlook when the company reports fourth quarter 2013 financial results on Feb. 6. 

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