Orin Wilson is co-founder of Bite Ninja, a restaurant technology startup that provides cloud labor for restaurants, helping them virtually staff their drive-thru and front counter to create a more efficient and profitable ordering system.  

Russ Prince: Your website says that Bite Ninja offers cloud labor for restaurants. What exactly does that mean?
Orin Wilson: Across the country, we’ve seen the labor shortage strike at many businesses, with restaurants being one of those hardest hit. Restaurant owners, especially quick service-based operations offering drive-thru options to customers, have been struggling to run their businesses at full capacity simply because they can’t fill the necessary shifts. As a result, they’re left with few options other than to reduce hours and service for their customers, taking a significant blow to their bottom lines. 

At Bite Ninja, we specialize in technology that equips restaurants with the ability to hire remote workers to run their drive-thru windows and dedicate staff who are able to work in-person to critical in-restaurant tasks and functions. Through our virtual platform, drive-thru workers can connect with customers and take orders through a large video screen from a remote location. Customers can then see their orders placed in real-time, rather than just a summary that pops onto a screen. This personalized experience allows for fewer entry mistakes, less food waste, and overall, a more efficient service. With Bite Ninja, restaurant owners can access a large network of highly skilled virtual professionals across the nation, expanding their workforce and mitigating the negative impacts of the current labor shortage they’re facing. 

Prince: What type of restaurants are you looking to partner with?
Wilson: Bite Ninja’s specialty is serving fast food and quick service restaurants, which thrive on speed, reliability and convenience. Our engineers work with their teams to fully integrate their ordering systems into ours and provide deep training to remote workers before they’re approved to virtually staff their drive-thru windows. Once trained, our “ninjas” become an extension of the restaurants’ waitstaff and are able to engage customers with the same level of confidence, service and accuracy as if they were physically there.   

Prince: Let’s look at this from the labor side of the equation. What has been the response from “ninjas” as you call them?
Wilson: Highlighted in countless reports, one of the great shifts we’ve seen in the workforce following the pandemic has been a significant increase in the desire to work remote, and the quick service dining industry has been no exception. Until now, remote work for quick service restaurant employees was not an option and was simply out of the equation. 

Since debuting our technology and hiring our first ninja who seamlessly took orders several thousand miles from the restaurant that was being serviced, we’ve seen an influx of applicants who wish to be onboarded and join our growing team. They’re delighted by the convenience of working from any location of their choosing and more importantly, having full control over their calendars, and maximizing their ability to generate income in a way that works best for their own personal schedules. It’s brought the gig economy to a sector in a way in which it’s never existed and doing so in a way that is a win-win for both the restaurant and the worker. 

Prince: The restaurant technology sector seems to be in the spotlight lately. Do you see further growth for the sector in 2022? 
Wilson: Absolutely, this sector is on the cusp of incredible growth. In general, the restaurant industry has been notoriously slow when it comes to adopting new technologies; however, it’s been hard not to notice how quickly those tides have shifted. 

The pandemic has spurred restaurant owners to rewrite the rulebook and find new ways to remain relevant to customers, and it all comes back to the experience. From self-service kiosks to contactless payment options, even digital menu boards, and online ordering, restaurants are now seeing the benefits that a high-tech infrastructure can afford. 

Thanks to our recent $4 million seed round, we were able to fast-track our growth, and we’re currently fundraising to deliver record-breaking expansion for Bite Ninja and to further invest in new technologies that will enable us to bring new markets online across the country, and ultimately the world. Exciting opportunities lay ahead for this sector, and we’ve just scratched the surface as far as what’s possible. 

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