Interview: Waitr CEO on Failure, Persistence and Delivery

…ST: Tell me about Waitr’s pricing model. Operators often talk about how much delivery services charge, and now there are so many delivery options in the market. The services are really cutting into operators’ profit margins.

Meaux: That’s something that has been really different in the smaller to medium markets that we’re in. In most of the markets where we operate, we’re the sole provider of delivery.

One of my past failures was a restaurant business. I knew the problems that restaurateurs were facing, so I wanted to be a partner to the restaurant. We knew what Grubhub was charging. So we priced ours at half — 15 percent — because in the small markets, restaurants need every dollar they can get. [Delivery fees from different services can range up to 30 percent for operators; Grubhub has recently said that, across its 85,000-plus restaurant partner network, its average rate is less than 20 percent.]

…ST: There are other delivery companies that have a similar small-market strategy, too, like BiteSquad. Is that your direct competition?

Meaux: We would certainly consider them competitors, but friendly competitors because I know all of those guys and we talk to them regularly. I talk to most of the other players in the industry on a regular basis.

But if you think about it, I mean, all of us are focused on the vast majority of the market that still doesn’t order online. It’s friendly competition because our real competitors are the people who are still using the phone.

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