- Even as Fiserv has made employee cuts in recent months, the payments and fintech company has continued its acquisition streak. On Sept. 1, Fiserv acquired Nextable, which provides cloud-based reservation and table management for restaurants, according to an Oct. 28 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
- Fiserv Spokesperson Ann Cave declined to comment on the purchase. Fiserv noted in the filing that Nextable is “included within the Acceptance segment and expands the Company’s end-to-end restaurant solutions.” A Nextable managing partner contacted through LinkedIn declined to comment and referred questions to BentoBox, which Fiserv acquired last year.
- A spokesperson for BentoBox, which provides digital marketing and commerce capabilities for restaurants, declined to comment on financial terms of the deal. Nextable, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, has four employees, all of which are joining BentoBox, the spokesperson said Wednesday. Nextable’s website indicates it operates in 18 countries.
Faced with profit margin pressure, Brookfield, Wisconsin-based Fiserv has sought to cut costs in recent months: The company has shed employees this year and recently sold operations in Korea and Costa Rica, as well as an IT engineering unit.
Analysts who follow the company expect the payments giant to focus on areas of strength moving forward, including on its merchant operating systems Clover and Carat.
The Nextable acquisition indicates Fiserv continues to round out the roster of services it can pitch to merchants in the restaurant space that use Clover, which serves small- and medium-sized businesses. BentoBox, which Fiserv bought in October 2021, has since been integrated into the Clover platform, according to Dan Bjerke, Fiserv’s head of Clover.
Clover has shifted away from selling merchants individual tools and is now focused on an operating system approach in catering to the businesses it serves, Bjerke said during an August interview. That’s a “key point in terms of our growth strategy,” he said, because offering merchants more services increases average revenue per client and reduces client attrition.
Clover is further along in that pursuit in the restaurant vertical than it is in the retail or service industries, Bjerke noted, because it offers restaurant operators menu management and integrations with food delivery services.
Still, there’s plenty of competition in the restaurant payments market, where Fiserv’s Clover counts Block’s Square and Toast among its rivals. Those companies, too, are adding services and tools merchants can tap in addition to point-of-sale payments capabilities.
Nextable’s reservation and table management platform features a Google reservation option, automated waitlist function, text communication and customer relationship management tools, the BentoBox spokesperson said.
“With this acquisition, BentoBox and Nextable will support restaurants in their efforts to build direct customer relationships and create differentiated diner experiences, ultimately driving new revenue streams for restaurants,” the spokesperson said in an email.
Fiserv has made a series of acquisitions in recent years, including Ondot, Radius8, Pineapple Payments, SpendLabs, Integrity Payments, NetPay, BentoBox and Finxact. In June, Fiserv also purchased independent sales organization The LR2 Group.
These acquisitions, along with Fiserv’s 2019 purchase of First Data, have resulted in increased integration costs, the company has said. As executives now face a more challenging economic forecast, they’re trying to rein in expenses.
Recent cost-cutting at Fiserv could suggest the company is scanning for additional acquisitions as the economic outlook darkens, said David Robertson, publisher of industry publication The Nilson Report, in an Oct. 28 interview. Challenging economic conditions may cause smaller firms to falter, allowing bigger established companies like Fiserv to buy them at attractive prices.
“Not only do you need to manage your own cash on hand for the obvious reasons of running the business, but should the recession be difficult, it could make acquisitions possible,” Robertson said.
Companies such as Fiserv want to be able to respond quickly to opportunities that enable them to bolt on new technology. “Fiserv is an old legacy company operating old legacy systems, so it needs to be moving as fast as possible into more of a cloud-based world,” Robertson said.
Executives seek to bolster numbers because “if the stock price remains high enough, then of course they become more competitive in terms of making acquisitions” with a combination of stock and cash, Robertson said.