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VOL. 133 | NO. 20 | Friday, January 26, 2018

Bite Squad Pool Of Memphis Restaurants Tops 150

By Andy Meek

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Competition in the on-demand meal delivery space is heating up in Memphis with the online and mobile food ordering and delivery service Bite Squad adding more than 30 new restaurants to its stable in Memphis, bringing its total to more than 150 here.

The service has had a presence in the city since May, not long after its much bigger competitor UberEATS launched in Memphis. The latter, however, is a service that more or less exists inside of the Uber ride sharing empire, and it can involve giving Uber drivers something to deliver – meals – when they’re not otherwise ferrying people from one point to another.

Bite Squad, in contrast, is focused entirely on meal delivery. And unlike Uber’s contract workers, its drivers are employees. Bite Squad vice president of marketing Craig Key said the distinction hopefully makes for a more consistent and quality customer experience.

“We acquired a company called Chef Shuttle that was operating here before us, so Bite Squad’s really been on the ground in Memphis since May,” Key said. “And Memphis has been an incredible growth market for us. We’re trying to hire drivers as fast as we can just to keep up with demand.”

Meal delivery app Bite Squad has ramped up its presence in Memphis, bringing the number of participating restaurants here to more than 150. (Submitted by Bite Squad)

The company has added more than 30 new restaurants since November, including Fino’s Italian Deli, Pizza Rev, South Main Sushi, Mardi Gras Memphis, La Guadalupana and City East Bagel and Grille, among others. They join existing Bite Squad partner restaurants in Memphis like Germantown Commissary and Kooky Canuck, for a total of more than 150.

The company says it expects 2018 to be another growth year, with more participating restaurants in the pipeline. Nationwide, the company counts more than 10,000 independent restaurants in more than 30 cities as part of its service.

Bite Squad offers the choice of either a web or mobile experience. Go to www.bitesquad.com, type your address and get a list of restaurants that will deliver to your area.

Bite Squad’s launch in Memphis – along with UberEATS – is the latest in a string of offerings that bring grocery shopping and meal ordering to the mobile sphere with digital services like grocery-delivery apps Shipt and Instacart likewise launching in Memphis last year.

Bite Squad co-founder Kian Salehi said it’s the company’s variety and affordability that have “fueled phenomenal growth in the area.”

From Key’s perspective, employees and participating businesses also like the service for their own reasons.

“This is all our drivers do, and we actually think it’s the more ethical way to have an employment force,” he said. “They’re eligible for benefits. We cover their payroll taxes and workers’ comp insurance, all the things that come with an employee relationship.”

Bite Squad gives participating restaurants, meanwhile, a tablet that stays inside their restaurant, usually in the kitchen or possibly at a host stand. Orders are sent to that tablet, and the restaurant can accept the order and set a cook time, after which Bite Squad dispatches a driver to arrive when the restaurant says the food will be ready.

Bite Squad also doesn’t force the restaurants to exclusively use its delivery service.

“2017 was an incredible year of growth for us in joining the Memphis community,” Key said. “I think 2018 is going to be really incredible. We’re looking at, of course, growing our force of drivers. We’re always hiring new drivers. And we’ve seen very positive customer numbers as far as customers not only signing up but sticking with us. We’re excited for a big year.”

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