Food-delivery ‘Squad’ zooms onto the scene
By Karen Iwamoto
Craving steamed xiao long bao but can’t get away from the office? Want gnocchi from your favorite Italian restaurant but dread the hassle of traffic? This is where Bite Squad’s delivery service comes in to play.
The Minneapolis-based company, which was started in 2012 by entrepreneurs Kian Salehi and Arash Allaei, combines the convenience of meal delivery with the freedom of choice. Salehi and Allaei wanted to create a fast, affordable way to have food delivered from all of the restaurants in Minneapolis. The pair combined their years of restaurant experience to create Bite Squad, which now partners with thousands of restaurants in more than 30 markets across 15 states.
On Oahu alone, the company has a network of over 150 restaurants for customers to choose from, and further expanded its reach recently by purchasing the locally based Room Service in Paradise and Aloha 2 Go restaurant delivery services. For those new to the food-delivery
process, ordering with Bite Squad is as easy as signing up for an account on the company’s website or downloading its app (available via iTunes and Google Play), then selecting a restaurant, ordering food and checking out. (There is a small booking fee that ranges from approximately $2 to $4, but there is no minimum-order requirement.)
In addition to individual deliveries, Bite Squad also has an option for catered events. Customers may input the number of guests, address of the event, as well as the date and time. The next step would include selecting from the catering options offered by Bite Squad’s partner restaurants. Once the order is placed, Bite Squad will deliver.
In addition to making sure consumers get the food they crave when they order it, the company feels that putting the right people behind the wheel also is critical to its success.
“We want drivers who seek to make our customers’ day with great service,” said Craig Key, Bite Squad’s vice president of marketing. “We go the extra mile to deliver just what our customers want from local restaurants, and we want drivers who care just as much as we do about giving customers a great experience.”
What’s more, Bite Squad drivers are employees of the company and eligible for company benefits.
“This is an important difference from our competitors who operate using a contractor model, and we believe it’s the right way to treat our employees,” Key stated.
Most of the drivers are part-time employees, but the job offers flexible hours with shifts available during the work week and on weekends. Drivers also are offered a guaranteed increase in hourly pay for deliveries during lunch and dinner rush times.
Key said it’s an ideal position for self-starters who are service-minded and familiar with the restaurant business but don’t necessarily want to wait tables.
Bite Squad also recently launched its Unlimited program, a subscription-based delivery membership, which offers unlimited free deliveries of food ordered from Bite Squad’s partner restaurants within a 4-mile radius of the delivery site, in exchange for a monthly subscription fee, which ranges in price from $6 to $10. The membership is available to eligible customers through invitation.
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COMPANY: Bite Squad
SERVICE AREAS (IN HAWAII): Honolulu, Kailua and Pearl City
WEBSITE: bitesquad.com/ honolulu-restaurant-delivery (to order); bitesquad.com/apply (for job opportunities)
APP: Available in Google Play and iTunes
BITE SQUAD HAWAII DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS: Farhad Yomoutpour
EMPLOYEES: More than 200 full- and part-time employees in Hawaii BENEFITS: Health care for employees working at least 20 hours a week; referral bonuses; management opportunities
NOTEWORTHY: In addition to launching its Unlimited subscription program in Hawaii, Bite Squad also partners with Hawaii Foodbank to raise funds to support the organization’s goal of feeding the hungry.