Downtown Lafayette came out in force to celebrate Waitr opening its new headquarters on Jefferson Street.

Gov. John Bel Edwards was also on hand and delivered some good economic news for Lafayette and the state.

The delivery service's 48,000-square-foot office, at 214 Jefferson St. inside the Lemoine Building, will be home to about 200 new jobs over the next few years, according to Waitr Chief Executive Officer Chris Meaux. Their office at 1100 Bertrand Drive will remain open, he said, and will continue to serve as the customer operations center while the new headquarters will house the company's customer support, engineering, accounting, sales and marketing departments.

"Our workforce is a young workforce," Meaux said. "They like to be able to get out at lunch or what have you, so downtown was just the right place for us. It's really exciting with all the development and revitalization that's happening downtown and we thought we could help be a catalyst for that as well." 

Meaux added that while Waitr is currently on the third floor of the building, they will be taking over the second floor in September. 

Edwards applauded the 220 new jobs coming to Lafayette, which are in addition to the 315 people Waitr currently employs in Louisiana and the 5,800 the company employs nationwide. He also said the new jobs will pay higher than average salaries at $55,000 ler year plus benefits. According to Louisiana Economic Development, this expansion will add 227 indirect jobs in Lafayette, as well.

"No community can deliver on great food and technology like Lafayette," Edwards said. "With an ambitious and intelligent staff like they have at Waitr, we believe that Waitr is going to deliver a whole new era a growth for Louisiana." 

Edwards also used the opportunity to announce a new state-supported venture capital program to help get entrepreneurs and startups off the ground. The state will provide $200,000 a year for the next five years for select new businesses with Waitr and Chris Meaux helping in the selection process, according to Edwards.  

Edwards also announced the state will be providing a $1.5 million grant to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's School of Computing and Informatics. The grant will allow the school to increase the number of graduates to help staff tech companies in Louisiana like Waitr and CGI.


Follow Dan Boudreaux on Twitter, @dan_boudreaux

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