The menu is getting larger for clients of Venice’s ChowNow, an online ordering system and marketing platform for restaurants.

The company last month partnered with Yelp, allowing its restaurant clients to take orders from the popular online search and review website.

Chris Webb, chief executive of ChowNow, said the move is a big deal because it will help drive more traffic to his clients. Before the deal, the company focused on helping restaurants retain customers by creating mobile apps and developing online ordering systems for the businesses’ websites.

“A lot of restaurants were asking, ‘How can you drive more business to us?’” Webb said. “That wasn’t in our core function, so instead of trying to build it ourselves we partnered with the largest website out there for restaurant traffic.”

Now, customers visiting the Yelp page of a ChowNow client will see a box titled “order delivery or pickup.” With one click, they can start the order process.

Webb said the service is optional for restaurants but that nearly half of its 2,000 clients have already signed up.

For its trouble, Yelp gets 7 percent of the pre-tax, pre-tip value of each order placed online through the partnership. ChowNow earns its revenue by charging clients a monthly fee of $99, which doesn’t change for clients who sign up for the Yelp service.

ChowNow started in 2012 and works with clients including Pitfire Artisan Pizza in Venice, Pono Burger in Santa Monica and Coral Tree Café in Brentwood.

Close Shave

Greg Aghamanoukian, chief executive for men’s shaving and grooming retailer MenEssentials in Toronto, is eyeing Los Angeles for its first foray into the United States.

The online retailer opened its first brick-and-mortar store in Toronto last year. Aghamanoukian expects to open the company’s first U.S. location in April in West Hollywood. He also plans to follow up with 11 more U.S. stores, including locations in New York and Chicago.

Customers will be able to shop from the store’s collection of about 1,600 products from popular and luxury brands such as Anthony Logistics in New York, California North in Sausalito and Penhaligons in London.

While the locations will not house a barbershop, Aghamanoukian said there will be a barber’s chair for men to pop in on the weekend for a shave. He added that the locations will also carry a selection of high-end colognes. Customers can book a 30-minute session to get help on finding the perfect scent.


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