General Tso plants a flag in South Austin
A local Chinese food delivery startup that serves conventional Chinese American dishes and is backed by deep-pocketed investors is making a foray into South Austin.
- Tso opened its first post in 2017 in Cherrywood and a second in 2019 in the Arboretum.
There are plenty of more daring — and arguably tastier — Chinese menus in the Austin area, but Tso, which has no sit-in restaurant, is the sort of throwback hole in the wall that delivers standbys like General Tso's chicken, fried rice and lo mein.
Between the lines: Unlike your classic Chinese American restaurant, though, this joint has corporate money behind it. Expansion into South Austin was aided by a $2 million seed funding round in 2019 led by Walter Robb, former co-CEO of Whole Foods; Brett Hurt, co-founder of Bazaarvoice and data.world; and Brian Spaly, founder of Bonobos and Trunk Club.
- In some ways, it's really a digital company masquerading as a Chinese delivery outfit.
- The company's calling card is an order-tracking program, built in-house, that alerts customers when their order has been received, is being cooked, is on its way and is outside the door. With its own fleet of delivery vehicles, the company made a strategic decision not to use third party services like Uber Eats or DoorDash.
Of note: Tso was recently named one of the Top Fast-Food Brands to Watch by QSR (Quick Service Restaurant Magazine).
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