ShiftPixy Inc., a tech-based restaurant staffing company in Irvine, said it’s been getting queries from companies desperate to make deliveries and stay at least partially open during the coronavirus pandemic.
The interest comes at a crucial time for the struggling company (Nasdaq: PIXY), whose stock fell along with other companies during the pandemic-triggered market crash. Photos of empty, shuttered restaurants have become some of the most poignant symbols of the crisis in Orange County and literally stretching to all four corners of the globe.
“As you can imagine, we are busy responding to many inquiries from most of the national brands,” Chief Executive and co-founder Scott Absher said on March 20, the day after home state California ordered people to stay home due to the spreading COVID-19 disease.
He said all of the restaurants “are trying to keep their employees busy and connected to their store, and wish to use our self-delivery platform to stay connected with customers.”
“In response to the pandemic, major cities including Los Angeles, New York City and Seattle have banned dine-in restaurants, restricting businesses to takeout and delivery exclusively,” he noted.
Using ShiftPixy’s driver management technology, “restaurant operators can control delivery with their own staff without having to deal with the uncertainties of third-party delivery services,” the company said in a statement on March 20. “In partnership with ShiftPixy, these restaurants can train their staff to act as delivery drivers—repurposing their existing human capital while adjusting to the current needs of the marketplace.”
He added, “Coronavirus is hitting all aspects of society hard, and restaurants have had a particularly rough time. Our technology provides a native delivery opportunity to allow multi-unit operators to remain operational in this very challenging environment.”
ShiftPixy’s product line includes two layers. The first revolves around building for operators a digital ordering platform that boosts customer engagement and spending, while the second handles driver management, intercepting online orders, finding a designated driver, creating a driver route, and communicating with the customer as the order is completed.
Absher said last year the company was launching new user features, including a driver management application that helps restaurant clients deploy in-house workers for food delivery rather than resorting to third parties.
ShiftPixy said in January it raised $20 million in a contract assignment, with the expectation of reaching cash-flow breakeven by the middle of this year. The company conducted a 1:40 reverse split in December to boost its shares above the penny-stock level.