The other day, while scrolling through a list of major IPOs from 2021, I came across a successful launch that really caught me by surprise.
Toast — an all-in-one restaurant management and point-of-service platform — went public in September 2021 despite catering exclusively to businesses bearing the brunt of pandemic lockdowns.
Sure, plenty of software companies are enjoying a successful start to the 2020s thanks to the rise in popularity of distributed organizations and remote work. But the B2B clients of these tech giants generally offer services that lend themselves to work-from-home.
That’s simply not the case in hospitality. It’s very much a work-from-work industry.
So, how exactly did Toast survive the darkest days of the pandemic and emerge on the other side, ready for launch? And how did they keep their clients engaged when restaurateurs across the nation (and globe) were largely tightening their purse strings?
My subsequent deep-dive revealed a crucial theme that comes up again and again in industries dealing with economic turbulence and disruption:
Strategic investment in content fosters resilient companies.
And a quick glance at Toast’s search metrics reveals just that. Their online presence is incredibly strong and has experienced tremendous growth throughout the pandemic. Just take a look for yourself:
Toast is All-in on Organic Growth
One of the most interesting things about Toast’s growth strategy is that it’s largely reliant on organic traffic.
Based on data from SimilarWeb, organic traffic is the crux of Toast’s strategy. Right now, 55% of site visits come through search and another large chunk comes from direct traffic.
This means other digital marketing mainstays like email, social, PPC, and referrals only make up a small sliver of the overall pie.
Toast’s reliance on organic traffic is a full 25% greater than the rest of the companies in the Restaurant and Delivery space.
They’ve created a massive SEO moat using hospitality-relevant keywords, but more on that later.
Their content strategy is also a major reason why the company is generating more search traffic than competitors like TouchBistro, HungerRush, and Lightspeed.
Currently, the site pulls in 464k visitors a month through search. That’s a 100% increase on what their traffic was this time two years ago when it clocked in at 220k.
Considering the company was founded in 2011 and has a fairly established presence, I was curious to see why their organic traffic ascent overlapped with one of the most difficult economic times for restaurants.
Then I found their secret weapon:
On the Line, a publication from Toast.