Waitr to expand with new name, delivery model

Waitr, a nine-year-old startup founded in Lake Charles as an online food delivery service, has announced a major expansion that will change its name and delivery model beyond restaurants.

The company, now based in Lafayette, plans to rebrand to “ASAP” and deliver a much broader range of products to consumers from any type of business. The name change follows a $4.7 million legal settlement in 2021 with California-based Waiter.com which required that Waitr stop using the name and its trademark.

“The rebranding embodies the future direction of our company in which you can get everything ASAP,” Carl Grimstad, CEO and chairman of the board of Waitr, said in a news release. “Our vision is delivering ‘anything’ to consumers, same day, from any type of business. With ASAP, we will bring our best-in-class food delivery services to a broader range of products.”

Waitr signed agreements last week with two software logistics delivery providers, Elite Extra and Burq, to deliver from retailers in multiple industries including aftermarket auto parts, electrical products, clothing, luxury, sporting goods and alcohol. Waitr had announced plans to acquire a cannabis dispensary point-of-sale company to eventually deliver the product as markets open up, but scrapped a deal with one of those earlier this year, according to the Daily Advertiser. The newspaper reported that Waitr still intends to try to expand into cannabis delivery.

The company said its new brand will debut later this summer with a new logo, app and website.

Waitr has seen regular transformations since it was founded by Chris Meaux as a project supported by McNeese State University in 2013. It added restaurants in the New Orleans region and beyond before expanding to grocery delivery.

In 2019, the company acquired Bite Squad in a $321 million transaction that doubled Waitr’s size. That same year, Waitr moved to a contract-only model and laid off over 2,000 of its employed drivers.

In 2021, Waitr purchased Florida-based Delivery Dudes. The company also announced promotional agreements with college athletes and New Orleans Pelicans player Jose Alvarado and contracted with the University of Alabama to speed service in the concession areas of the school’s football stadium.

Waitr reported $38.6 million in revenue for the fourth quarter of 2021, compared to $46.8 million for the fourth quarter of 2020. Total revenue for 2021 was $182.2 million, compared to $204.3 million the previous year.

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