- Bite Ninja, a startup that outsources front-of-house restaurant tasks, has raised $11.3 million in bridge funding, the company announced Tuesday. The firm has now raised a total of $15.4 million.
- The bridge funding was backed by Manta Ray Ventures, Owl Ventures, Agfunder, Pioneer Fund and TRAC Unicorn fund.
- Bite Ninja’s roughly 12,000 workers can provide remote labor for restaurants by taking orders via phone, at the dive-thru and at the front-of-house.
Bite Ninja’s offerings could benefit cash-strapped restaurants that are struggling to adequately staff their operations, but may also weaken restaurant workers’ ability to demand higher wages from employers.
The company offers wages roughly comparable to QSR pay, a Bite Ninja spokesperson said. Restaurants that partner with Bite Ninja pay a premium that is lower than the cost of hiring and training new workers, the spokesperson claims.
Bite Ninja trains workers to use its platform, and then trains them on the menus of specific restaurants they will service. The company’s services allow restaurant operators to redeploy labor to focus on tasks like cooking, per the spokesperson.
The labor shortage continues to challenge the restaurant sector, reflected by high quit rates and turnover and year-over-year wage growth. Employment is also lagging behind the immediate pre-pandemic months, driving tech companies to develop supplemental labor solutions for restaurants. These solutions go beyond outsourcing tasks — some firms have focused on automating managerial tasks or phone ordering, while others are deploying kitchen robotics. Outsourcing drive-thru work may offer a labor-saving option that costs less than the installation or operation of robots, which often require partial remodels and can cost thousands of dollars a month to operate.
Bite Ninja said it works with five major QSR brands, but declined to specify which chains, as well as smaller brands and regional chains.