Choco, described as the food industry’s No.1 ordering platform, is launching to the UK restaurant and supplier market.

The unicorn, headquartered in Berlin, Germany, has pledged a £20 million investment in a bid to onboard 10,000 restaurants by 2023.

Choco says order management has the ability to be fully automated by 2026. Its mobile app enables suppliers to offer customers a fully digital ordering process, replacing the ‘gut feel, phone and paper list’ system that chefs have traditionally used.

All available products are shown on the interface in real time, so chefs can see exactly which products they are ordering and at what cost – eliminating human error on both sides. 

With operations in the USA, France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Spain, the total value of goods traded through the platform since Choco’s inception in 2018 has been over €1.2 billion. 

Choco is working with over 15,000 restaurateurs, as well as over 10,000 wholesale businesses worldwide. 

“Automation is particularly important in an industry where suppliers are working 24/7 due to a limited workforce, and restaurants are working round the clock to provide the ultimate gastronomic experience to customers,” said Alex Kiely, UK general manager.

“The UK has a real appetite for tech. The food industry in particular knows that digitising their business is not an option anymore, and they have to act now.

“Choco has proven experience and a strong customer base to take the UK market on its digitalisation journey and is already working with digitally receptive customers across the country to realise efficiencies.”

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Shaun Henderson, founder of Henderson Seafood, a Brixham-based, sustainable and ethically sourced fish supplier to the restaurant industry, said: “We use Choco as a platform for our customers to buy online from us. We wanted to digitise the process of food ordering to give our customers a better and faster experience and to make the process more efficient for us too. 

“We typically take 50 orders a day. WhatsApp or phone can be prone to human error. Choco eliminates that. It saves time for our customers as they simply tick box what they want, the order comes through to us, we process it, and the invoice is automated, saving us even more time.

“Onboarding has been quicker than ever imagined and we were up and running within two weeks – two thirds of our orders are already coming through Choco, customers have really taken to it. Choco has really changed the way we do things, and we couldn’t be happier.”

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Chris Bassett, head chef at Portland, a Michelin-starred restaurant in London’s Fitzrovia district which serves a seasonal menu of modern British cuisine, added: “I’ve never come across an online food ordering platform for restaurants before so when I was introduced to Choco I loved the concept. We’ve been using the platform for a few months now and it’s truly transformed the way we do things.

“99% of our suppliers use the platform and we can see in real time what is available, and we can select exactly what we want any time of the day. It not only saves me approximately 20 minutes at the end of each service, but it also cuts out the human error, so I now get exactly what I ordered.

“Previously, when done by phone, I could be waiting around to speak to someone, then I could read something out wrong or the supplier could have noted it down wrong so with Choco, we both know exactly where we stand so it’s a more seamless, efficient experience.

“As a restaurant that produces a very seasonal menu, it’s paramount we have access to the best ingredients available at any given time and Choco gives us the ability to do this.”

Choco is now available free to all UK restaurants and UK suppliers can sign up for a fee to get listed.