waitr alcohol delivery (copy)

Louisiana-based Waitr has announced the company can now deliver alcohol to its customers in Lafayette.

Waitr customers in Baton Rouge and Lafayette will now be able to get cans of beer and bottles of wine delivered from about 30 local restaurants.

The company announced Monday it was introducing alcohol delivery from about 15 restaurants in each market. Waitr started alcohol delivery from about 15 New Orleans restaurants last week, said Dean Turcol, a spokesman for the Lake Charles-based food delivery service. Some of the eateries selling beer and wine for delivery include Palermo Ristorante in Baton Rouge, the Siegen Lane Hooters, Deano's Pizza in Lafayette and La Caretta in Lafayette. 

“We are doing everything possible to find ways to help our restaurant partners provide more services to diners in need, such as the addition of alcohol delivery,” Carl Grimstead, Waitr's chief executive officer, said.

Only customers 21 and older will be allowed to order beer or wine. All alcohol purchases must be accompanied by a food order. Once an alcohol order is delivered, Waitr will verify ages by scanning IDs and asking for signatures on a receipt.

Waitr had been offering alcohol delivery from supermarkets as part of its grocery delivery service for about two months, Turcol said.

“We anticipate adding more and more restaurants in the next days and weeks,” he said.

Plans are to expand alcohol delivery to other Louisiana markets, including Shreveport, Monroe and Lake Charles.

The Legislature passed a law that allowed for alcohol delivery in 2019, mandating that all drinks come in a sealed container and forbidding alcohol deliveries to schools and college campuses. But businesses had to get their own employees to do the deliveries, a move that shut out Waitr, after it laid off all 2,300 of its drivers and told them to reapply as independent contractors. 

The Legislature passed a measure, which was approved by Gov. John Bel Edwards in June, that allows for independent contractors to deliver beer and wine. 

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Also on Monday, Waitr posted a third-quarter profit of $4.6 million, compared to a $220.1 million loss in the same period a year ago.

On a per-share basis, the Lafayette-based company had net income of 4 cents, compared to last year's $2.89 loss.

Waitr's revenue, which comes from transaction fees paid by participating restaurants, grocery stores and customers, was up from $49.2 million in third quarter of 2019 to $52.7 million.

“We achieved a second consecutive quarter of continued profitability and operating cash flow, which we believe is the result of our fundamental strategic initiatives and focus on operating a profitable business,” Grimstad said.

Expenses dropped sharply in the third quarter from $265 million in 2019 to $45 million. Waitr took $192.1 million in goodwill and intangible impairments during the quarter last year, charges they didn’t take this time. Sales and marketing costs plunged from $16 million to $3.3 million. Operations and support costs fell from $37.3 million to $27.4 million.

The company had $80 million in cash on hand as of Oct. 31.

Waitr stock closed Monday at $3.20 a share, up 7 cents.

Acadiana Business Today: Waitr will now deliver beer, wine when ordered from local restaurants


Email Timothy Boone at tboone@theadvocate.com.