Technology that Turns Food Services into a Piece of CAKE

From humble beginnings to the arms of a formidable giant

A start-up with just five employees in 2007, Sysco LABS has expanded into an engineering organization of over 350, housed across multiple offices today. Originally an incubator and consultancy known as Latitude655, the company went through several evolutions before being wholly acquired by international foodservice giant and Fortune 500 company Sysco, in 2016.

Sysco, the global leader in selling, marketing and distributing food services, acquired Sysco LABS, the Silicon Valley based tech company formerly known as CAKE LABS; with its core engineering team in Colombo Sri Lanka. Sysco has consistently supported the evolution of the tech innovator since it entered the restaurant technology space and after examining how much it has achieved in only a few short years, decided Sysco LABS would be the ideal partner to take Sysco into the future of foodservice that technology unlocks.

“Sysco recognized the small, agile company’s ability to solve the complex issues faced by restaurant operators with tech products; engineered and released into the market at a rapid pace.”

The CAKE restaurant operating system was the strongest example of this; an integrated and entirely cloud-based restaurant technology platform provided on a technology-as-a-service model; making leading-edge software accessible to restaurants.

World-class products that propelled Sysco LABS

The flagship product in the platform is the CAKE POS, a smart POS that extends beyond simply processing transactions into online ordering, inventory management, table management, reports, analytics, and much more.

Integrated with the POS are other consumer-facing products such as CAKE’s reservation and waitlist management solution CAKE Guest Manager, but also several innovations that work in the background to ensure superior performance and an exceptional customer experience such as the Payment gateway. The platform impressed the foodservice company so much they decided to make Sysco LABS their engine for innovating across the entire foodservice journey; ‘from farm to fork.’

Sysco, The Acquirer?

Based in the United States of America. Sysco is a Fortune 60 company, employing over 65,000 people across the world and catering to around 425,000 clients in over 90 countries. Sysco’s operations span four continents and its annual revenue exceeds $50 billion. As a leader on the forefront of food service, Sysco has been expanding its scope, acquiring the London-based Brakes Group in 2016 and deepening its involvement in Europe.

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From Farmers to Diners, Sysco LABS is transforming lives with continuous innovation

This acquisition and expansion uniquely position Sysco LABS. With the agile culture of a tech start-up and with access to the single largest foodservice network in the world through Sysco, Sysco LABS is perfectly poised to do to the entire foodservice industry what it did to the restaurant industry; to transform it with technology. Foodservice is one of the largest industries in the world, and there are many stakeholders between growing the food and consuming it, from farmers to restaurant operators and diners, etc. The goal of Sysco LABS will be to revolutionize the experience of each of these customers using technology, setting the standard for customer service in foodservice globally.

Through Sysco LABS, Sysco is also looking at ways to completely re-imagine the food service industry through technology innovation. Sysco LABS was already engaged in this through its ingenious restaurant technology platform CAKE, which was disrupting the restaurant customer relationship. But with Sysco’s acquisition and the expansion of the engineering center in Colombo, Sysco LABS will now be looking at every single interaction and touch point ‘from farm to fork.’

“When you’re a company in a small country you have to bet on quality and product innovation. Sri Lanka doesn’t have the capacity to compete on numbers the way that other Asian countries can in the IT-BPO scene, but that is also what drives us to excellence. It’s all about finding creative solutions to problems in industries and building products that solve them. That is how you create billions of dollars in value, in a short period of time.”

– Shanil Fernando, Managing Director Sri Lanka and Senior Vice President, Sysco LABS

The success of Sysco LABS is a testament to the caliber of product engineering that is possible in Sri Lanka.

This content has been produced within the framework of the EU-Sri Lanka Trade Related Assurance Project, funded by the European Union and implemented by ITC and UNIDO in partnership with the Government of Sri Lanka.

Island of Ingenuity is a collective of the knowledge services industry in Sri Lanka, whose ethos is to provide inventive solutions through proactive and flexible customer engagement. It is endorsed by the Sri Lanka Export Development Board, Sri Lanka Board of Investment, Sri Lanka Association of Software and Service Companies, Information & Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka and Federation of Information Technology of Sri Lanka.

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