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Restaurant website builder BentoBox raises $16.4M

BentoBox, which helps restaurant owners build mobile-friendly websites, has raised $16.4 million in Series B funding.
This might not seem like the biggest opportunity, particularly since consumers are connecting with restaurants in so many other places online — reading reviews on Yelp, making reservations on OpenTable, ordering delivery on GrubHub and so on. But founder and CEO Krystle Mobayeni said that’s exactly why BentoBox is important.
“Unfortunately, the technology that has over time become more important in dining out has [also] threatened restaurants’ business models,” Mobayeni told me. “Restaurants have lost that direct relationship with their guests, which is the most important thing in hospitality.”
So BentoBox started out with restaurant websites because it’s “the only place online where they had control,” she said. Since then, it’s also added features allowing those restaurants to push the content and information from their websites to other platforms like Google and Facebook.
Mobayeni also said that it’s crucial for BentoBox to be a revenue generator for restaurants, rather than just another cost. So it charges a straightforward subscription fee (rather than taking a transaction fee that eats into a restaurant’s already-thin margins), and it’s added potential moneymakers to the website platform, like selling gift cards, booking private events and taking orders for catering.
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