16 Chicago Food Companies Changing the Industry

Chicago has a plethora of thriving food tech companies. Here are the ones to know. 

Written by Andreas Rekdal
Published on Jun. 11, 2024
16 Chicago Food Companies Changing the Industry

Home to one of the country’s most vibrant food scenes, it should come as no surprise that Chicago has a plethora of thriving food tech companies. In fact, Groupon, which now sells everything from helicopter rides to workout apparel, got its start selling coupons for discounted pizza.

Chicago Food Companies to Know

  • McDonald’s Technology
  • Grubhub
  • Home Chef
  • Tock
  • Peapod Digital Labs
  • Pampered Chef
  • RXBAR
  • Fooda

Chicago food tech companies are a highly diverse bunch, building everything from building cloud-enabled tabletop cooking appliances to food delivery networks all over the country. Here are the top food companies in Chicago.

 

 As the leading global foodservice retailer, featuring over 41,000 locations in more than 100 countries, McDonald’s Technology capitalizes on endless opportunities to integrate technology into the customer’s experience. From app-based ordering to digital menus reinventing the ordering process, McDonald’s technology division is amongst the most innovative tech companies tailoring products towards better food and quality service.

 

Founded in Chicago in 2004, Grubhub is one of the biggest national players in the on-demand food delivery space. Through its website and mobile apps, consumers browse the menus of nearby restaurants and order deliveries directly to their doorsteps. Grubhub is also the parent company of a number of other food delivery brands including Seamless, Allmenus, MenuPages and Delivered Dish, to name a few.

 

One of the fastest-growing companies in the meal kit delivery space, Chicago’s Home Chef delivers recipes and fresh ingredients on a subscription basis. With warehouses in Chicago, Los Angeles and Atlanta, the company delivers to 97 percent of the country’s households. 

 

Restaurants that are nearly empty on Tuesday afternoons can be impossible to get into on Saturday nights, with no-show reservations further compounding the problem. By letting consumers book and pay for entire dining experiences in advance, Tock helps restaurants streamline the dining experience, letting restaurants serve more diners in any given night.

 

Chowly integrates third-party online ordering platforms with a restaurant’s point of sale system in order to increase ordering efficiency. The company helps restaurants interact with sites like Grubhub, DoorDash and Eat24. The smooth ordering and transaction process helps restaurants save time and money.   

 

Do you have a hard time deciphering content labels at the grocery store? Label Insight leverages data science to help consumers understand what’s actually in their food. The company gathers product information about packaged foods, using that data to generate comprehensive insights on everything from nutritional information to allergens and other dietary restrictions.

 

Founded in 1980, Pampered Chef offers a variety of time-saving cooking tools. Through its customer-facing website and network of independent sales consultants, it offer kitchen tools, recipes and food preparation demonstrations. From cookbooks to colanders, Pampered Chef ensures cooks have everything they need to prepare great meals.

 

Who wants to spend their precious free time grocery shopping? Founded in 1989 and launched as an online service in 1990, Peapod was one of the world’s first e-commerce companies. The company lets customers order fresh groceries to be delivered to a home or office at a pre-specified delivery time. Today, the company’s services are available in markets across the United States.

 

Tovala’s flagship, cloud-enabled kitchen appliance scans a barcode on the customer’s meal, configuring its settings automatically to ensure that each meal is cooked to perfection. The appliance also doubles as a highly precise programmable countertop oven, letting adventurous owners experiment with creating their own recipes as well.

 

Embracing it “No BS” motto, RXBAR creates snack products without any processed ingredients. The company’s protein bars feature flavors like Blueberry, Peanut Butter Chocolate and Maple Sea Salt. It uses all-natural ingredients to provide for a truly healthy snack option.

 

Putting a new spin on the restaurant delivery model, Fooda specializes in lunch for offices. Every weekday morning, users pick their lunches from a rotating menu of restaurants. Fooda’s delivery staff then brings all of an office’s lunches in a single batch, significantly driving down delivery costs compared with individual orders.

 

Founded by chef Josh Katt in 2012, KitchFix has a healthy take on meal delivery. The company offers options like paleo and gluten free meals on demand along with snacks, beverages and deli items. The company also offers deliveries to “delivery hubs” around the city for an alternative to standard home delivery.

 

Restaurant.com connects diners with local restaurants through meal certificates and special offers for users of its platform. The company lets users search for establishments by cuisine, city or zip code and pick a restaurant of their choosing. Its service helps diners save money while bringing new customers to local food establishments.

 

Food Genius partners with major operators in the foodservice industry to analyze food content and preparation processes to deliver information about everything from the popularity of certain burger toppings to how swapping out certain ingredients can make a menu item more profitable. The startup was acquired by one of its biggest customers, US Foods but its Chicago operations — and the Food Genius moniker — go on.

 

Looking for a place to share your restaurant experiences? Tastemaker is an iOS app for discovering and discussing Chicago’s newest restaurants.

 

Around three million Americans are sensitive to sulfites, which are commonly used as a preservative in wine. With its wine purifier, Üllo filters out the sulfites, allowing everyone to enjoy a glass of wine. Founded by James Kornacki, who holds a doctorate in chemistry, Üllo raised nearly $400,000 through crowdfunding in 2015.

This article was originally published in 2016.

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