Waitr debuts app redesign amid continued struggles

  • ood delivery platform Waitr has launched a new delivery app for Android and iOS that is designed with a more personalized and engaging user experience, according to a company press release.
  • The app features a more efficient order flow to help users place orders more quickly, including improvements to group ordering and optimization for larger orders.
  • Waitr also added a new “Order it Again” section within the app that shows diners’ most recent delivery purchases and allows them to add those items to their cart with one tap. 

Waitr’s redesign is likely an attempt to keep pace with larger competitors as it recovers from a number of hurdles. The startup’s stock continues to sink and its CEO and founder resigned earlier this month. The leadership swap, which made former COO Adam Price Waitr’s new CEO, may have been in response to the estimated $775 million drop in market value that the company experienced in a five-month window.

To make matters more complicated, Waitr recently suffered substantial backlash after it replaced a flat 15% restaurant commission to a sliding scale commission up to 25%, contingent on the restaurant’s amount of sales made through Waitr. Some partners said the new few structure was too restrictive and costly, though the fee isn’t unprecedented — Uber Eats charged 40% commissions in Los Angeles last year. 

Waitr is not the only delivery company to experience trouble with its restaurant partners: Grubhub was recently accused of cybersquatting and charging hidden fees, for example. But with a smaller market share and less name recognition than other major delivery players, Waitr likely can’t afford to be making the slip-ups that other platforms are making. 

The app revamp could be aimed at increasing user traffic to help restaurants buoy their sales amid the commission restructuring. But considering that restaurants must also now absorb credit card transaction fees of 3%, a new app design may not be a big enough olive branch to mend the protracted relationship. Some partners even filed a class action lawsuitclaiming that the fee restructuring violated terms of its contracts.

Adding further fuel to the fire, earlier this summer Waitr laid off over 20 employees at its Louisiana headquarters following its acquisition of Bite Squad. The move was designed to address some of the employee overlap resulting from the acquisition, and did not affect its drivers. U.K.-based food delivery company Just Eat also made layoffs earlier this year following investor pressure to expand more rapidly.

Waitr has been attempting to stay relevant in the food delivery sphere as big players like Uber Eats, DoorDash and Grubhub innovate and expand at lightning speed, but these obstacles could slow its trajectory. The company recently added alcohol delivery and may add reservation and loyalty programs soon, which could sharpen its competitive edge. 

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