For Dante DiCicco, co-founder and chief executive of Santa Monica-based restaurant tech startup Zitti Inc., the food industry runs in the family.
In the 1950s, DiCicco’s grandfather and great uncles founded a small chain of Italian restaurants in the Fresno area which are still family-owned and operated. DiCicco, who formerly served as senior manager of global expansion at Snap Inc., said that long before going into the world of tech he was busing tables and making deliveries for the family business.
“I have a whole lifetime of being around the restaurant business,” said DiCicco. “Really the genesis of Zitti is pulling together my personal background and my professional background.”
Zitti is the developer of business software for restaurants that automates payments to food distributors and suppliers while providing restaurant owners with the ability to track spending and manage operating costs.
The company announced March 15 that it had raised $4 million in initial funding to expand its team and launch new services for clients using its platform.
DiCicco said the most impactful feature that the company aims to introduce is a credit system to mitigate cash flow issues for restaurants and allow owners to take advantage of early payment discounts when ordering goods.
“We’re combining payments, data and insights and credit all into one platform,” said DiCicco. “These things are very interconnected and it’s important to tie them all together.”
DiCicco said that multiple Los Angeles-area restaurants have already started using the platform, including sandwich chain Uncle Paulie’s Deli. The software does not carry a subscription fee, and DiCicco said transaction fees have been waived for early users.
DiCicco noted that large chain restaurants often hold a competitive edge on independent establishments because of large-scale distribution deals that drive down the cost of supplies and ingredients. With orders from smaller restaurants consolidated onto a single platform, DiCicco said it could be possible to leverage their collective purchasing power.