Order up! Los Angeles based ChowNow is ready to serve the Kansas City startup space, Candice Taylor said as the company prepares to open its first regional office in the Crossroads Arts District.
“It’s really important for us to be somewhere that has an amazing [food] scene and there’s certainly no shortage of incredible local restaurants here in Kansas City,” Taylor, director of recruiting, said with excitement as the online food ordering service puts the finishing touches on its new office space — set to open within the next six months.
In the meantime, the startup has a team working out of a temporary space in the Crossroads, she added.
“We want to make sure that we’re always putting our restaurant partners first and part of doing that is having staff members, boots on the ground in the central time zone so that we can better service those restaurant partners on our platform,” she explained.
Branded apps, social ordering, and tech — click here to read more about ChowNow’s restaurant experience enhancing services.
Also contributing to ChowNow’s decision to enter the midwest market: Kansas City’s hungry talent pool, Taylor added.
“When we announced that we were opening an office in KC, I mean the flood gates opened and I think people were just really excited that, you know, a tech company from L.A. was investing in and building an office and bringing jobs to the community,” she said. “We’ve experienced a lot of excitement, a lot of open arms, a lot of people willing to kind of help navigate the talent and navigate the space.”
Taylor expects roughly 50 jobs to be created in Kansas City over the next year. Hundreds more could follow as the company finds its footing in the midwest, she said.
Click here to view ChowNow’s current job opening in Kansas City.
More than an eclectic food scene, Kansas City’s startup ecosystem also played a role in attracting the West Coast startup — which has raised just shy of $50 million in funding, most recently closing a Series B round — to the metro as they looked to take their first step outside L.A., Taylor detailed.
“I just had a very different experience stepping into Kansas City. You know, when you meet one individual, they are so excited to connect you to like five other individuals,” she said. “So we found that it was apparent that it would be very easy to plug into the community here.”
Kindness on tap, a commitment to community must flow through the water of Kansas City’s famed fountains, Taylor said, reflecting on the immediate differences she observed in the city’s culture and the way it could help the company reach its ultimate goal — helping restaurants thrive.
“I think it’s interesting, sort of coming into a community where you can feel the energy, that people want to experience growth and are so excited to embrace it,” she said.
Community partnerships and opportunities to speak on local podcasts have already presented the company with an outlet for getting plugged into the startup ecosystem, Taylor said.
As Taylor and the ChowNow teamwork to fill open positions, she can see the startup’s culture merging with that of the metro — creating an opportunity for the company to grow even stronger, she said.
“There’s a lot of investment in ensuring that team members are successful and have long term career opportunities at ChowNow,” Taylor said. “We’ve got a really diverse team and our company as a whole, we’re about, I think equally split between male and female [employees] … which is pretty unique for a tech startup.”
When ChowNow customers succeed, the team succeeds, Taylor said.
As the startup unpacks, its leadership team is eager to watch Kansas City succeed, each of them ready to roll up their sleeves and contribute to the entrepreneurial hustle — equally embracing a city that’s excitedly embraced them, she added.