Waitr buys MS Coast restaurant delivery service. What’s next includes a new name

What started three years ago as one of the first restaurant-to-home delivery services in South Mississippi boomed during the pandemic and now is Bite Squad.

Anthony Depreo said he founded Tiki Delivery in Diamondhead in May 2018 as “a one man show,” contracting with three restaurants in Bay St. Louis for delivery service.

In December he sold the business to Waitr, parent company of Bite Squad, after expanding his delivery service with 90 restaurants — from Waveland to Gulfport — and 80 drivers.

“COVID helped me for sure,” Depreo said. Many of his drivers were employees of restaurants that closed in the early days of the pandemic, he said. They safely delivered food to people quarantined in their homes, which helped the restaurants that were still operating and Coast residents looking for their favorite dishes.

“Bite Squad is taking what we built and expanding it to the next level,” Depreo said.

He expects Bite Squad will have hundreds of restaurants and drivers and generate millions in revenue for South Mississippi restaurants, “much like our sister company Waitr has done already,” he said.

HOW BITE SQUAD WORKS

Bite Squad has delivery in Waveland, Bay St. Louis, Diamondhead, Kiln, Pass Christian, Long Beach and Gulfport and is adding more restaurants as it expands, Depreo said.

“We have plans to launch Biloxi and Ocean Springs in April,” he said.

Customers download the Bite Squad app from an app store on their phone or bitesquad.com and enter an address where they want the food delivered. If it’s to downtown Gulfport, for instance, a list of 25 restaurants pops up. Users can review the menus and order, and soon barbecue, seafood, tacos, breakfast, sushi or other cuisine will be on the way.

“Your favorite restaurants, delivered,” is how Bite Squad describes the service that has become even more popular in the age of the coronavirus and social distancing.

As an introductory offer, free delivery service is being offered on orders of $12 or more through April 29.https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Ftikidelivery%2Fposts%2F2185273154941620&width=500&show_text=true&height=713&appId

DELIVERY GOES HIGH-TECH

The biggest changes as Tiki transitions to Bite Squad are the technology upgrades and more staff, said Depreo, who remains with the new company as market manager.

The Tiki app was functional. “The Bite Squad app is gorgeous,” he said, “intuitive and responsive.” It lets customers track the status of their delivery at five points, from the time they place their order to when their food is on the way to their door.

What hasn’t changed is the relationship with the restaurants, Depreo said, and that he is still the person for them to contact.

Bite Squad also is adding a marketing coordinator, managers to oversee the operations, customer service staff and drivers who Depreo said are motivated by making some extra cash on the side.

Customers will see services like the ability to get unlimited free delivery from restaurants within a 7-mile radius and alcohol delivery from restaurants as Bite Squad continues to expand along the Coast.

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