A Boston-based software company will employ “at least a few hundred” people in Omaha in the next few years, one of its top executives said Friday.
The company, Toast Inc., announced this week that it chose Omaha as the place to plant its first U.S. corporate flag outside its home city. The company makes restaurant point-of-sales systems that take payments from customers and help establishments take care of inventory, personnel and other business-management functions.
Omaha appealed to Toast because of the city’s already established base of tech companies — like PayPal — and its business community’s culture of entrepreneurship, said Tim Barash, Toast’s chief financial officer.
And one more thing caught the company executives’ eyes, Barash said: Omaha’s restaurants.
“It was just meal after meal of amazing food and amazing entrepreneurs” when executives came to town over the past few months, Barash said Friday in an interview. “We’re excited about coming to Omaha and becoming a piece of the restaurant world.”
Restaurants in Boston, and the people who run them and love them, were a key part of the company’s growth from 50 employees to 700, from a basement to an 83,000-square-foot office, since 2014, he said.
As for Omaha, he said: “This is going to be a sizable office for us. We expect to have at least a few hundred (employees) in the next few years.” The Omaha staff will work in every aspect of the company — including positions in sales, software and customer satisfaction.
The company hasn’t decided yet where it will locate in Omaha. It’s been looking downtown.
“We’re a hyper-growth tech company,” Barash said. “We certainly want to move as fast as we can. We’re trying to find a home in Omaha that will make sense long-term.”
Toast has people working remotely around the country, but its only offices are the headquarters near Fenway Park in Boston and an office in Ireland that opened last month.
“Obviously the Old Market is a pretty great part of town,” he said of Omaha. “It’s lively, historic and has amazing food and restaurants down there.”
But Toast is looking at all parts of the metro area, probably for an existing building to remodel, with room to expand, he said.
“When you’re growing this fast, you have to be relatively agile when it comes to physical space,” he said. “We really have not pinpointed the exact building location that fits our needs.”
Toast opened the Dublin office to take advantage of the highly qualified technology people there, he said. The city already has major operations for tech giants including Facebook and Google.
“Omaha was sort of a natural place to go when we looked,” Barash said, with a long history of financial services innovation by companies like First Data Corp., financial companies including Berkshire Hathaway, offices for PayPal and LinkedIn and “homegrown startups” like tech businesses Hudl and Flywheel.
“When we visited the market, we met some of these amazing entrepreneurs,” he said. “We were just kind of blown away by the level of talent. We found people who were proud of being in Omaha and how exited they were to be there.”
Opening the Omaha office, he said, “seemed like a natural evolution of our business.”
Toast has raised $130 million from venture capitalists — none of them from Omaha — in the past two years to build a software platform that goes far beyond the simple insert-or-swipe payment devices at most retailers, known as point-of-sale terminals.
Barash said Toast believes its competitive advantage is the breadth of services that its software provides, including taking orders and accepting payments, inventory control, staff scheduling, gift cards, loyalty programs and performance data.
Toast’s software includes programs for food trucks, breweries, delis, bars, and quick-service and full-service restaurants, among others.
Toast doesn’t make its own hardware but rather uses others’ tablets or other devices and writes software for Android operating systems.
“We see ourselves as the leader in the restaurant technology arena,” Barash said. “A lot of it is just that we are almost maniacally focused on ... restaurant success.”
Are you a Toaster?
“Toasters” — that’s what restaurant software company Toast Inc. calls its 700 staff members. It’s recruiting people for a satellite office it plans to open early next year in Omaha and build to a few hundred people in a few years.
Tim Barash, chief financial officer of the Boston-based company, urged people to send resumes to the company’s website at careers.toasttab.com. “We want to find the Toasters in Omaha,” he said.
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