Bite Ninja, a startup that allows operators to staff their restaurants with remote workers, has raised $11.3 million to continue growing its technology.
The round featured contributions from Manta Ray Ventures, Owl Ventures, Agfunder, Pioneer Fund and TRAC Unicorn fund. It brings Bite Ninja’s total funding to $15.4 million and will be used to help fuel its growth in the fast-food sector.
Near-term, that growth includes partnerships with five of the top 20 quick-service restaurants in the U.S. Bite Ninja said it would reveal their identities soon. It’s also eyeing overseas markets.
Restaurant that partner with the company can draw from its pool of more than 12,000 “Ninjas”—remote employees who are trained to work in the drive-thru or at the counter—to help fill shifts and speed up service.
The workers sign on from home and interact with customers via a camera. They then input their orders and send them to the restaurant. Restaurants can “hire” a Ninja for as little as $15 an hour, according to Bite Ninja’s website, and without the added costs associated with a regular full-time employee.
The company was founded in 2020 by Will Clem, the owner of a Memphis drive-thru concept called Baby Jack’s BBQ. During a hectic night at the restaurant, Clem propped up his laptop in the drive-thru and began fielding orders from home over Zoom. It worked, and the idea for Bite Ninja was born.
In addition to helping restaurants that are strapped for workers, Bite Ninja also offers prospective foodservice employees more flexibility because they can work from wherever they are.
The company last year landed seed funding from the prestigious Y Combinator, an accelerator for early-stage startups. It followed that up with a $4 million seed round led by Owl Ventures.
It’s one of many tech companies that want to help ease restaurants’ staffing troubles coming out of the pandemic. Another, ConverseNow, makes an AI voicebot that can take orders in the drive-thru or over the phone. It raised $10 million on Tuesday from Danny Meyer’s Enlightened Hospitality Fund. And 7Shifts, a company that helps restaurants automate scheduling, raised $80 million earlier this year.
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