Bite Squad is set to launch in Hilo on Friday, marking the first Hawaii Island city for the app-based delivery service.
More than 40 Hilo restaurants have partnered with Bite Squad so far, including Amigos Taqueria, Bangkok Villa Hilo, Don’s Grill, Ning’s Thai Cuisine, Popover Bakery & Café, Sky Garden Restaurant, Sushi Ebisuya and Tetsumen Ramen.
The Minneapolis-based company, which was founded in 2012, first launched in the Aloha State in 2016 in Honolulu. The company has since grown its Oahu service to include about 600 restaurant partners across multiple cities. More recently, Bite Squad has begun Neighbor Island expansion: It launched on Maui in June with service to Kahului and added service to Kihei in July. Bite Squad now has more than 700 restaurant partners throughout the state.
“Hawaii has been one of our strongest markets since we first opened up in Honolulu,” Dean Turcol, Bite Squad media relations director, told Pacific Business News. “For a while we were focused just on Oahu, but this year we decided to test the waters on Maui. The grand opening in Kahului was one of the best we’ve ever seen, so we were encouraged that we should keep going. That led us to Kihei next, and now hopping over to Hilo.”
Bite Squad anticipates that its launch in Hilo will be met with similar demand, and it’s currently looking to hire 100 employees in the area. Interested drivers can apply here.
In July, Kahului and Kihei became among the first of Bite Squad’s nationwide markets to be included in its breakfast service rollout — and Hilo also will offer breakfast delivery, which begins at 8 a.m. daily.
“Early returns with the expansion of breakfast in Kahului and Kihei have been encouraging, so we’re hoping for similar success in Hilo,” Turcol said.
Bite Squad’s Hawaii expansion reflects growth throughout the country. In 2018, the company added about 100 new service areas. This year, Turcol said, the company has continued to “attack medium and small markets across the country” since being acquired by Waitr Holdings for $323 million in January. As of March 31, Waitr and Bite Squad have about 24,000 restaurant partners in 700 cities across 29 U.S. states.
“Our strategy is predicated on being the market leader, and we have that position in the majority of the markets in which we operate. We want to be the default — the brand name synonymous with restaurant delivery — everywhere we go,” Turcol said.
“The space is getting very crowded, but we continue to focus on great service, and amazing restaurant selection, and that seems to be the right place to put our energy,” he added.
To celebrate its Hilo launch, Bite Squad will offer free one-year subscriptions to its Unlimited program, which waives delivery fees, to anyone who orders in the area during grand opening week from Sept. 6 to Sept. 15.