US-based restaurant guest engagement software provider Popmenu has raised a $4.5m through Series A funding round to expedite the development of its SaaS platform to boost the ability of restaurants in attracting new guests and keeping repeated guests engaged.

The funding round was led by Base10 Partners’ Rexhi Dollaku. The round had seen participation from Felicis Ventures’ Niki Pezeshki.

Popmenu has raised $6m in total capital, following the funding round Dollaku will become part of Popmenu’s board.

Popmenu’s technology enables online restaurant menus to give a dynamic consumer experience as photos, reviews, ratings, and social validation are directly placed on the restaurant’s website and under their control.

Guests can not only interact but also share their specific dishes and can receive personalised offers and recommendations.

Restaurants stand to benefit through real-time menu management, automated omnichannel communication tools, and analytic insights, which helps them to tap opportunities to promote and measure performance down to the dish-level.

Popmenu co-founder and CEO Brendan Sweeney said: “We strongly believe, and restaurant owner/operators emphatically agree, that third-party platforms have taken too much control over how consumers discover their next favourite restaurant.

“They’ve built that dominance by providing the experience people want when making a dining decision, while restaurant websites struggle to even provide an up-to-date text-based PDF menu. I was building restaurant sites as a web developer nearly two decades ago, and it’s astonishing how little the average restaurant website experience has changed since then.

“There is so much opportunity for innovation, and through Popmenu’s mission of building a modern experience directly into the restaurant’s website and under their control, we’re giving them an ability to express their story and present their dishes in a way that’s never been possible before.”

Popmenu president and co-founder Tony Roy said: “We hear from many clients that since launching they have captured more direct reviews via Popmenu than are being added across the major third-party platforms combined.

“Restaurateurs are passionate and personally invested in their business, and to be able to help them feel a greater sense of control over their digital presence means everything to us. We are thrilled to already be helping thousands of restaurants build direct, authentic relationships with millions of guests via Popmenu monthly, and are extremely excited to help many more drive new business and connect with loyal customers.”

Popmenu co-founders Sweeney, Mike Gullo and Justis Blasco were important players in scaling Commissions Inc, a SaaS provider that similarly aided equalise local real estate teams against third-party platforms until it was acquired by Fidelity National Financial in 2016.