The company that started as Waitr in Louisiana 15 years ago has ceased operations

ASAP, the Lafayette delivery company formerly known as Waitr, has ceased operations, the company announced on its website.

The company that launched 15 years ago as the idea of Acadiana entrepreneur Chris Meaux before it went public and later was rebranded announced it has closed its business.

It’s unknown when the decision was made, but as of Saturday the website only offers a statement with headline “Goodbye for now.”

“With a heavy heart, we share the news of our closure of our delivery and carryout business,” the statement read. “After 15 years of dedicated service, we’ve made the tough decision to cease operations.

“We write to you today filled with gratitude for your unwavering support and loyalty throughout this journey. Thank you for being an integral part of our journey.”

Meaux led the launch of Waitr from a cinder block room inside a business incubator in Lake Charles, ahead of other national companies that would later enter the market. It grew at a frenetic pace, surpassing revenue projections and rolling out in city after city in Louisiana and across the southeastern United States.

It soon became the crown jewel of startups in Acadiana. In December 2018, it had more than 9,000 employees, including 400 in corporate offices, like the one on the first floor of former The Daily Advertiser newspaper building in Lafayette, where he and his leadership team were based.

That same month it 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 had a market capitalization of more than $600 million, and it acquired competitor Bite Squad for $321 million to double its footprint.

Waitr soon added a second operations center at the Lafayette Economic Development Authority’s Opportunity Machine incubator at the LITE Center on Cajundome Boulevard.

Months later it launched a block party in downtown Lafayette that included then-Gov. John Bel Edwards and a pledge to add 200 employees inside its new operations in the Lemoine building.

But momentum slowed and began to swing the other way as other players entered the market and the company found itself swimming in debt. Rounds of layoffs followed.

In November 2022 the company, which rebranded to ASAP because of a trademark issue with its old name, posted a $73.5 million net loss in the third quarter, its fourth straight quarter with a loss and its second massive quarterly deficit that year.

In January 2023, Waitr Holdings, whose stock was trading at 42 cents per share, was notified it would be kicked off the Nasdaq Capital Market for failing to raise its stock and relegated to OTCQB Venture Market, a middle-tier equity exchange.

The demotion ends a battle that began in January 2022, when Nasdaq first informed Waitr Holdings Inc., ASAP’s parent company, that its stock price had been below the market’s $1 minimum threshold for too long to stay on the exchange. The company faced a similar threat in 2019 but recovered as delivery demand grew during the COVID-19 pandemic’s early stages.

Shareholders approved the reverse stock split the previous October, the company’s third attempt at the move, which consolidated available shares in an attempt to raise the per-stock price.

ASAP later shifted toward a broader business model that will see the company deliver alcohol, apparel, sporting goods, auto parts and more beyond food.

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