Our revolution started in 1999

Hospitality management powered by cloud technology

For years Derek and Edwina Lilley ran restaurants in the UK. They founded them, turned them into successful chains and sold them. This deep understanding of hospitality brought them the lightbulb moment.

They knew how important procurement, inventory and staff management were to their business. And they realized that IT systems based on emerging cloud technology could make them all more efficient. They understood that these new systems would be based on a demand forecast, eliminating unnecessary spend on stock and labor. No more spreadsheets with different data – just one version of the truth, in the cloud, in real time. It would change hospitality forever.

Building a company

Derek and Edwina recognized that this was no simple undertaking. They sold their restaurants and recruited their first employee, Ben Hood. They travelled the world in search of the brightest tech talent – people who understood the hospitality sector and shared their vision for it. Inventory management came first, followed by procurement. A full labor and payroll service followed – and the innovations kept on coming, making Fourth's the only end-to-end system in the world.

Worldwide growth

Seventeen years later, Ben, employee #1, is still our CEO. He has been joined by more than 599 colleagues in six offices around the world, and 1,100 customers in 60 countries. In 2015, NYC-based Insight Venture Partners acquired a majority shareholding in Fourth. Together, we continue to serve our customers by providing the best cloud-based operations, cost management and forecasting software for hospitality.

Sam Lilley, elder son of Derek and Edwina, was literally there from the start. Now Fourth’s Director of Solutions Architects, he remembers the humble beginnings of the restaurant groups that came to dominate the UK restaurant scene in the 1990s.

Find out how it all began