Portillo’s Hot Dogs is investing in the company and implementing its turnkey delivery solutions
LOS ANGELES, May 13, 2021 – Cartwheel, an on-demand delivery management platform for restaurants and retailers, announced today that it has raised a $1 million seed round led by TenOneTen Ventures with participation from Act One Ventures and Portillo’s Hot Dogs, along with angel investment from additional restaurateurs. The funds will be used for product development, partnership integrations, and team expansion.
On-demand delivery is a requirement in today’s market, and many businesses struggle to decide between outsourcing, which is convenient but can be expensive, and building their own in-house platforms, which gives brands control over the customer experience but is more operationally involved. Cartwheel offers the best of both options, allowing brands to launch a self-delivery program alongside their third-party partners, saving on costs and strengthening brand loyalty. Cartwheel’s turnkey offering includes an easy-to-use driver app, sophisticated dispatch tools for managers, and user-friendly customer interaction functionality.
Cartwheel is already being used by top chains like Portillo’s to improve its delivery offerings. Illinois-based fast-casual brand Portillo’s offers a menu of unrivaled Chicago-style street food such as Italian beef sandwiches and Chicago-style hot dogs from its restaurants across nine states.
“With more than 60 Portillo’s locations nationwide and the highest average unit sales volumes in the fast-casual industry, we have a lot of deliveries to manage. It’s important that our brand is well-represented. Cartwheel enables us to use our team members to deliver our highest-value orders, cross-training our team members so that they can become drivers for our own fleet,” said Michael Osanloo, CEO of Portillo’s. “Our experience with Cartwheel has been so positive that we invested back in the company so they can further develop services with brands in mind.”
Cartwheel is also partnered with Olo Inc. (NYSE: OLO), a digital ordering and delivery platform with a network of more than 400 brand customers. To date, Cartwheel has powered deliveries for top brands including P.F. Chang’s, Charleys Philly Steaks, Taco del Mar, and more.
“Digital ordering and delivery have become increasingly crucial to the long-term viability of restaurant brands and they will play an even more prominent role in the future of the industry based on ever-growing consumer demand,” said Noah Glass, Founder & CEO, Olo and member of the board of directors, Portillo’s. “With each restaurant brand comes a unique set of needs and we are proud to work with Cartwheel to offer our shared customers a simplified solution to bolster their direct channels and drive success.”
“Cartwheel got its start a decade ago as one of the most successful delivery restaurants in LA. When we moved into the delivery outsourcing business in 2014, we realized we couldn’t find a powerful last-mile delivery management system with all the features we wanted, so we built it ourselves,” said Alex Vasilkin, co-founder and CEO, Cartwheel. “This investment will allow Cartwheel to further expand our reach, offering seamless delivery solutions to businesses that are reimagining what their delivery offerings look like in a post-pandemic world.”
“The last mile delivery market opportunity is in the billions, and Cartwheel is well positioned to capitalize,” said Minnie Ingersoll, partner, TenOneTen Ventures. “Having built their solution from the ground up, with establishments in mind, Cartwheel knows its customer and their needs and will transform the delivery experience for businesses and specialty retailers nationwide.”
Cartwheel (formerly GR Dispatch) is an on-demand delivery management platform for restaurants and beyond. The company was founded in 2012 as a delivery restaurant. After it quickly grew to become one of the most popular delivery operations in Los Angeles, the founders decided to focus solely on the delivery outsourcing business. When the team realized there was no software solution to meet all of their needs, they decided to build it themselves. Cartwheel offers turnkey solutions for in-house delivery operations, including an easy-to-use driver app, sophisticated dispatch tools for managers, and user-friendly customer interaction functionality. Cartwheel is also partnered with Olo and its network of restaurants nationwide. The company is headquartered in Los Angeles. For more information, visit www.trycartwheel.com
About Portillo’s Hot Dogs
In 1963, Dick Portillo invested $1,100 into a small trailer to open the first Portillo’s hot dog stand in Villa Park, IL, which he called “The Dog House.” Years later, Portillo’s has grown to include restaurants in more than 60 locations across several states. Portillo’s is best known for its Chicago-style hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches, char-grilled burgers, fresh salads and famous chocolate cake. The Portillo’s brand also includes Barnellis restaurants that serve award-winning ribs, pastas with homemade sauces, and fresh salads. Portillo’s ships food to all 50 states via Portillos.com. Portillo’s Home Kitchen is the company’s fast-growing catering business. In addition to great food, Portillo’s is also known for its great people. In fact, the brand believes people are the heart of Portillo’s. Family is a top value for Portillo’s, and it led the company to create its own 501(c)3 in 2020, called The Heart of Portillo’s Fund, which was developed to support and provide assistance to Team Members facing financial hardships due to unavoidable situations. In 2021, Portillo’s was recognized by Forbes as one of “America’s Best Midsized Employers,” and were the top-rated company within the restaurant industry category.