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Food.com brings investors to the table

A group of well-heeled investors, led by McDonald's, is banking that online consumers are ready to order meals online and is pumping $80 million into the dining-destination site.

A group of well-heeled investors, led by McDonald's, is banking that online consumers are ready to order meals online and has pumped $80 million into dining-destination site Food.com.

Food.com said today that it has attracted investments from Kraft Foods, TV Guide and Blockbuster. This latest round of funding brings the company's valuation to more than $400 million, Food.com executives said. The amount of each company's investment was not disclosed.

With the investment, the San Francisco-based upstart plans to expand in an area that's been relatively untouched online--quick delivery of takeout. Net grocers such as Webvan offer some ready-made meals, but they have yet to push the service. Other sites such as Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch and Opentable.com are using the Web to let diners make reservations at local restaurants, a service that Food.com plans to add in the future.

"The (investors) are all starting to realize that we're more than a takeout and delivery company," said Food.com chief executive Richard Frank. "We decided to forget about venture capital money and go for strategic partnerships on this one."

Consumers can find more than 16,000 local restaurants on Food.com, browse menus and order takeout. The site plans to feature professional and customer restaurant reviews, and it will tailor the site to be accessible by wireless devices, such as cell phones and personal digital assistants.

The company has deals with several major restaurant chains, including Pizza Hut, KFC and Pizza Inn.