From ideas in Chris Meaux’s notebook five years ago, Waitr now employs more than 9,000 and poised to be major player in the restaurant industry

Meaux, 50, is just five years removed from launching the food delivery startup alongside four co-founders in what he described as a windowless, “cinder-block” room in a business incubator in Lake Charles.

In that time, the company has grown at a frenetic clip, surpassing revenue projections and rolling out in city after city in Louisiana and across the Southeast. As of the beginning of December, it had more than 9,000 employees, including 400 in corporate offices, like the one on the first floor of The Daily Advertiser newspaper building in Lafayette, where he and his leadership team are based.

Last month, the company went public on the Nasdaq stock exchange after being scooped up by Texas billionaire Tilman Fertitta’s Landcadia Holdings for $308 million. For most of December, Waitr has had a market capitalization of more than $600 million, and it recently acquired a rival, Bite Squad, for $321 million, doubling Waitr’s footprint.

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