Olo Restaurant – Reforming Retail

By | March 10, 2024
olo restaurant

Exposing Olo Part 1: Introduction

Note: if restaurants spent even 1% of their revenues on technology that would be $10B in annual revenues, or enough for 100 companies to make $100M in revenue, but of course there are only 5-8 companies in the US restaurant market that collect > $100M in sales (the variance depends how you define delivery companies like Doordash or Uber Eats).

After going public in 2021, Olo opened itself to public market investors. This brought in new lines of discourse and examination.

And this is precisely how we became involved.

While we generally stay away from following the public markets with any concerted effort, several of Olo’s investors were dogged in their requests that we look more closely at the company.

Our expertise and background were called into demand as sufficiently specific to help these investors sort out what was really happening with Olo.

And as we dug we found a consistent and troubling pattern of behavior.

Some of the behavior is actively under litigation, whether it’s the class action securities claim, or the three derivative cases (Floyd v. Glass, et al., Case No. 1:23-cv-03770 (S.D.N.Y.), Floyd v. Glass, et al., C.A. No. 2023-0560 (Del. Ch.), Balleh v. Glass, et al., C.A. No. 2023-1165 (Del. Ch.), and Giuda v. Glass, et al., C.A. No. 2024-0025 (Del. Ch.)).

But our research has led to a different, upstream culprit that we think all of Olo’s current plaintiffs have entirely missed.

This upcoming series represents the culmination of hundreds of hours of investigative journalism.

We spent time with current and former Olo executives, Olo investors, global private equity practices, potential acquirers of Olo, litigators, and experts on case law.

Our findings point to clear breaches of fiduciary, self-dealing, and alarming behavior from Raine Capital, one of Olo’s early financial backers, that would make any reasonable party wonder how there have been no criminal convictions.

Olo is on the record with the following:

The factual statements and legal conclusions in [Reformingretail’s] post are baseless and misleading. As we have previously disclosed, we have settled the securities class action lawsuit on favorable terms. Your unsupported assertion that there has been criminal activity has no basis in fact and is wrongful.


We’ll let the evidence speak for itself.

More Olo Background with Toast and PAR


Olo, founded almost 18 years ago as Go Mobo, was the first real phone ordering attempt for restaurants. After an absolutely painful stretch of time spent convincing restaurants that customer technology matters, they finally reached IPO status with a favorable COVID tailwind that literally made it illegal for some restaurants to conduct business any other way than online.

Now counting 83,000 restaurant rooftops as customers, Olo inarguably represents only chain locations. That’s because for the longest time Olo had a price minimum, and only larger groups could justify the cost. The reason for that was pretty simple: the cost to ingest menu data for a restaurant was the same whether you were 1 location or 100.

Olo acquired Omnivore as a way to start its move into POS and in-store commerce. They further acquired Wisely to offer marketing automation and CDP, and launched Olo Pay for online and instore commerce.

Olo’s biggest challenge is TAM.

SMB merchants are getting online ordering from their POS company, larger enterprise merchants build Olo internally (think Subway booting Olo), and as enterprise POS companies mature (see PAR above), online ordering is natively coming with the POS.

Because, truth be told, online ordering is not that hard to do.

It was 20 years ago, but today it’s not very complicated with cloud POS systems.

Now what?

Olo and PAR are on a collision course.

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