Middleby UK has made an undisclosed “strategic investment” in a fintech start-up – meaning it can now sell ordering and fulfilment technology to operators alongside catering equipment.
The company, which provides kitchen equipment to national chains such as Whitbread, Morrison’s, KFC and Papa John’s, said its exclusive partnership with Leslie will allow it to offer an “all-in-one” solution that comprises back-of-house equipment and front-of-house ordering technology.
Leslie claims to have created a “simplified and more efficient” way for customers to order, tip and pay as its software works via a QR code instead of an app.
With no download required, restaurant customers to pay via their smartphone instantly and skip any queues.
Chris Jones, European group president of Middleby Worldwide, said the alliance would give its customers access to valuable technology that enhances the ordering and fulfilment experience for diners.
“The hospitality industry is suffering with staff shortages due to people venturing into new careers as a symptom of Covid. People lost their jobs in the pandemic and have been pushed in new directions,” he said.
“With our exclusive partnership between Leslie and Middleby we are at the forefront of innovation and will offer our client base a solution like no other to aid and enhance the customer experience, capture their missed opportunities and increase revenues.”
Leslie also integrates with self-serve automation technology such as Middleby-owned Carter Hoffman pick-up cabinets (PUC), allowing end customers to order via the QR code and pick up via the cabinet.
Vendors, restaurants and other hospitality businesses will be able to buy Leslie directly from Middleby UK, with set-up guaranteed within seven days and zero ongoing cost.
Although Middleby is best known for its portfolio of heavy duty cooking appliances, its parent company has been investing in hospitality-driven tech businesses over recent years, including Powerhouse Dynamics, the connected kitchen specialist.
Leslie is the trading name of Clip It Ventures, which was incorporated in August 2020.