Bite Ninja’s New Funding Shows Operational Efficiency Is What’s in Restaurant Tech in 2022

Bite Ninja’s New Funding Shows Operational Efficiency Is What’s in Restaurant Tech in 2022

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Despite the constant flood of doomsday headlines as the dark clouds of recession gather overhead and customer behavior regresses to the mean post-pandemic, not all news is bad news these days when it comes to restaurant tech. In fact, some startups seem to be doing just fine, particularly those whose mission it is to help restaurants save money.

Take Bite Ninja, who this week announced an $11.3 million funding round. The company allows fast food restaurants to outsource their drive-thru through Bite Ninja’s cloud-labor platform. Bite Ninja employees can remotely staff a drive-thru from their home anywhere in the country and can also work multiple drive-thrus during the course of their shift.

The ability to spread a single worker across multiple restaurants and treat drive-thru labor as an “elastic” resource that can be spun or down dynamically during the course of a day is a radical rethink of a core part of a fast food restaurant, coming at a time when most fast food restaurants are struggling to hire employees. According to the announcement, Bite Ninja is currently running trials at five of the top twenty quick-service chains in the US.

Other companies that help restaurants and retail become more efficient and bring cost-savings to operations continue to thrive and get new funding despite what many see as a large-scale downturn in food tech funding. For example, Galley Solutions, a company that helps restaurants more accurately predict and optimize their food inventory, raised $14.2 million this spring. Hyphen, a startup that is building plug & play automated makeline solutions, raised a $24 million Series A in February and saw additional follow-on investment by Chipotle in June. That same month, food waste reduction startup Goodr raised a $8 million funding round in early summer. Last month, Afresh, a company that enables food retailers to optimize their fresh food inventory and reduce waste, raised a $115 million series B.

If 2021’s restaurant tech funding was all about ghost kitchens and digital transformation, the big buzzwords for 2022 are operational efficiency and cost savings. Startups that can help streamline operations using automation, cloud computing, AI, and other transformational technologies will continue to do okay, particularly those that help restaurant operators deal with acute labor shortages and rising costs of doing business during rising inflation and persistent supply chain disruptions.

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