Daniel Estrada says his company’s resilience often resonates with investors.
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As CEO and co-founder of 86 Repairs Inc., a service provider that streamlines the end-to-end repair and maintenance process for restaurants, Estrada’s business increased sales 146% from 2019 to 2020 even as the COVID-19 pandemic has rocked the restaurant industry. The company, founded in 2018, has offices in Grand Rapids and Chicago.
The pandemic then led to a lingering job crisis with around 1.8 million restaurant jobs unfilled across the country. The labor shortage is part of the reason Estrada believes 86 Repairs has grown so rapidly amid the uncertainty.
“There is just tremendous pressure on the (restaurant) staff to keep the ship afloat,” Estrada said. “If we can get one thing off their plate… it’s a huge time and money saver for our customers.
The company’s growth last year was followed by a recent announcement that it closed a $ 7.3 million funding round. That included $ 2 million in seed funding in March of this year, followed by an additional $ 5.3 million last month. The company has raised $ 8.8 million in capital since its launch in 2018.
Final round investors include a Chicago-based food industry investment firm Cleveland Avenue, led by former McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson, and Relish Works Inc., the innovation and investment arm of the Wyoming food distributor Gordon Food Service Inc.
“We are really proud to have heavyweights in the industry supporting us,” Estrada said. “It’s not just about capital, we have strong strategic support from our investors. It’s great to have capital, but to have capital from those who know the industry and are very familiar with this pain point, it proves the value of what we do to the industry as a whole.
Estrada said 86 Repairs would leverage capital for growth, even though it serves clients in almost every state across the country. The company is also hiring for virtually all positions, added Estrada.
86 Repairs will also use the capital to invest more in its own technological resources in order to provide a more efficient service to clients. For example, the company uses advanced technology to troubleshoot problems to avoid unnecessary repair visits. It also uses machine learning to provide repair cost estimates to customers based on the specific market in which they operate.
“We are investing in this technology to continue to give customers better visibility while increasing the time we can save them and the amount of money we can save them,” said Estrada.
Like its restaurant industry clients, 86 Repairs has had its own set of obstacles during the COVID-19 pandemic. Skilled workers are in short supply while supply chain issues can make it difficult to source parts and equipment. For example, Estrada said it currently takes restaurants about three to four months to access a new fryer.
Still, Estrada said 86 repairs can help restaurants cope with problems on their own.
“We manage all of these headaches for our customers so they don’t have to,” he said. “That doesn’t mean we can magically bring up a service provider when we want to. But when there’s this need for two-way coordination – when there’s this need to hold a service provider accountable for getting the job done – our team manages that for our clients so they can focus. on running their business. “