In the restaurant industry, consumer preferences are rapidly changing. Convenience has become paramount, with apps offering features like intuitive interfaces, customizable orders, and streamlined payment options to create a seamless ordering process. The world’s largest restaurant chains — including Starbucks, Chipotle, and Mcdonald’s — are taking notice and investing in new technologies to enhance the customer experience. For local retailers, it can often feel like an uphill battle to compete with the resources of large chains and deliver the same frictionless and personalized experience for their customers. 

That’s where Craver comes in. The Vancouver-based food tech company Craver is leveling the playing field by helping local retailers compete with large chains by providing the same app technology they use — but at an affordable price. 

Craver’s intelligent online ordering and engagement platform connects restaurants with their customers on a deeper level. Features like push notifications, rewards points, and intelligent upselling make it easy for restaurants to engage their loyal customers and increase their lifetime value. Additionally, Craver provides insights into customer data, allowing restaurants to create more personalized interactions and make more informed, data-driven decisions.

Craver has taken advantage of multiple New Ventures BC programs over the years, including the Sales Accelerator Program and the 2020 Competition, where they finished in the Top 25. We caught up with Craver’s CEO and Co-Founder, Amin Yazdani, to discuss his competition experience and why rapid tech adoption in the restaurant industry has his food tech startup primed for huge growth. 



It’s been more than three years since Craver finished in the Top 25 in the New Ventures BC Competition, presented by Innovate BC. What have you been up to during that time?

It’s been an exciting few years at Craver since we landed in the Top 25 at the New Ventures BC Competition. We wrapped up 2023 on a high note, achieving our best-ever growth in a single year, and began 2024 with strong momentum. Our journey has taken us across borders, serving restaurants not just in Canada, but also in the US, Australia, and the UK. To support this expansion, our team has grown to 30, mostly based at our Vancouver HQ. Our mission remains the same: to help local restaurants engage with their guests and keep them coming back for more.


What was your competition experience like?

The New Ventures competition was more than just a contest for us; it was a foundational experience. It served as a crucial platform where we received valuable advice on refining our idea and business model. This early-stage guidance was instrumental in shaping Craver’s vision, setting the stage for our strategic direction. Over the last three years, we’ve been diligently executing this vision, thanks to the insights and high-level direction we gained from the competition.


Tech is transforming all aspects of the food industry. On the retail side, the adoption of tech has largely been driven by evolving consumer preferences and the need to increase efficiency. How important is it for smaller retailers to adopt and invest in technology to keep up with larger brands like Starbucks, Chipotle, and McDonald’s?

  • The McDonald’s app was downloaded 40 million times in 2022.
  • 50% of Starbucks’ sales were made through its app in 2021.
  • Uber Eats generated $8.3 billion in revenue in 2021.

These numbers each represent an incredible statistic about the increasing customer demand for digital ordering solutions. These brands are some of the biggest players in the restaurant/food delivery digitalization movement, and they have the results to prove it.

Digitalization undoubtedly looks different for locally-owned restaurants and coffee shops, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth pursuing… because it absolutely is. While local restaurants don’t have millions in development funds to spend on state-of-the-art tech, there are a ton of different ways that they can adapt to meet the digital-first needs and wants of their customers. Here’s why locally-owned restaurants need to invest in digitalization:

  • 41% of the average restaurant’s revenue comes from online/digital channels.
  • 61% of diners want digital options from the restaurants they eat at.
  • Online order tabs are ~30% higher than in-person or call-in orders.

For local restaurateurs to keep their loyal customers happy and coming back time and time again, technology needs to be the future of their business.


You have customers all over the world. How have you been able to grow and scale so quickly?

We’ve grown quickly because we solve a genuine need for our clients. Restaurants have slim margins which means cost efficiency is super important. At the same time, customers are increasingly expecting to be able to order digitally and conveniently, on their terms. But that technology is expensive to build. The magic of Craver is that we’re helping restaurants serve their customers how they want to be served and do it in a way that costs them less money, not more.

Craver’s rapid expansion can also be attributed to the movement toward digital ordering, which was greatly accelerated by the pandemic. Before that, restaurant technology was a nice-to-have. Now, about 41% of a restaurant’s revenue comes from online channels, surpassing both onsite (32%) and phone orders (26%). This shift wasn’t just a temporary response to the pandemic; it has become a lasting change in consumer behavior, contributing to Craver’s growth and scalability in the global market.


Craver seems like a great place to work. You’ve won multiple awards for your culture and seem to be attracting and retaining high-quality talent. How important has your company culture been to your success?

At Craver, we believe our company culture is a cornerstone of our success. We’re thrilled to have been recognized as a 2022-23 Workplace Culture Leader and a 2022 Great Place to Work, but what does that really mean?

Our mantra is that we win and lose as a team. Whether it’s breaking records or navigating through challenges, we do it together. We’re laser-focused on our goals and results, but how we get there matters too. Everyone is empowered to lead and make decisions, with the right support and guidance always available.

As a high-growth startup, there are heaps of chances for our employees to climb the ladder right along with us. As Craver expands, so do the possibilities for our team. We prefer to promote from within when we can, recognizing and nurturing the talent we have.

Diversity isn’t just a buzzword for us. We’ve got people from all walks of life — different ages, and backgrounds, and loads of talented women in tech and leadership roles. Plus, our partnerships with universities like UBC and SFU mean we’re always bringing energetic co-op students with fresh ideas.

We understand that life’s not all about work. We believe in flexibility — whether that’s choosing hours, planning holidays, or opting for remote work. If someone’s got a side hustle or wants to learn something new, we’re all for it. We’re tuned into what makes the modern worker tick.

And let’s not forget the fun! We party together, build strong connections through our team events (both online and off), and make sure everyone feels part of the Craver family.


What do the next 12 months look like for Craver?

2023 was a harsh winter for much of the tech world, but for Craver, it was our biggest year yet. In 2024 we have no plans to slow down: we’re already working on a suite of exciting new features designed to help restaurants build even closer relationships with their customers, powered by even deeper integrations with our POS partners. You’ll have to stay tuned to find out more!


Anything else you’d like to add?

I highly recommend early-stage companies view competitions like NVBC not just as contests to win, but as invaluable resources for growth. It’s about leveraging the opportunity to gain feedback and advice that can fundamentally strengthen your business. Stay open to different perspectives and soak in as much guidance as you can. But, remember, it’s ultimately your venture, your vision, and you decide what direction to take your company.

Applications for the 2024 New Ventures BC Competition, presented by Innovate BC, open in March. Check out the competition webpage for more information.

Where Are They Now: Rootd