waitr adds ordering management platform

Waitr posted a first-quarter loss of $3.7 million, compared to a $2.1 million loss in the same period a year ago.

The Lafayette-based food and grocery delivery service blamed the loss on $5.1 million in one-time, non-recurring expenses incurred during the quarter.

Waitr will change its name and visual identity as part of a comprehensive rebrand, company officials announced Thursday morning.

The on-demand food ordering and delivery service that was founded in 2013 will launch a strategic initiative to rebrand itself over the next 12-18 months. It will reflect the company’s ongoing commitment to innovation, said chairman and CEO Carl Grimstad, and its recent expansion efforts through acquisitions and new delivery verticals.

The company has invested in the “last mile delivery” segment, maintained a technology-forward platform and will expand into payment solutions. Last month it began offering service for concessions delivery during LSU baseball games.

Waitr will continue to focus on the evolving business opportunities through its three core constituents – restaurants, diners/consumers and independent contractor drivers. It currently provides on-demand ordering and delivery under Waitr, Bite Squad and Delivery Dudes.

“This decision to rebrand will better reflect our identity and business operations as we continue our expansion into new verticals outside of the food delivery segment and should improve and enhance our marketing and public relations synergies,” Grimstad said. “Our three core constituents provide us with a myriad of commercial opportunities. We are currently interviewing branding firms with the goal to identify and settle on a corporate name and brand that unifies our current service offerings and better reflects our long-term business strategy.”

Waitr posted a loss of $3.7 million in the first quarter, compared to a $2.1 million loss in the same period a year ago. It cited $5.1 million in one-time, non-recurring expenses incurred during the quarter as adjusted net income was $1.4 million, up from the net loss of $2.1 million from a year ago.

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The rebranding could be a means for the company to redefine itself following the acquisitions of Bite Squad and Delivery Dudes, said Geoff Stewart, director of the Louisiana Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Center with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. It’s been Waitr that been doing the acquiring and not the other way around, he said.

“Right now the ability of brands to tell their story and what they do is critically important,” Stewart said. “Currently they’re essentially having to run three different marketing shops. It sounds like they’re trying to bring it into a holistic brand to use in all their geographic markets. It sounds like their services will remain the same.”

The news caused Waitr Holdings’ stock dip slightly on Thursday, with the price ending the day at $2.03 per share after starting being at $2.23 per share at the close of markets on Wednesday.

The delivery field is still a solid one, even with the number of businesses in the industry, Stewart said. Waitr and others posted significant gains during the pandemic as restaurants were forced to close their lobbies and offer only takeout, but industry experts say some of those companies are struggling to keep their customer base now that restrictions are being lifted across the country.

With a rebranding, Waitr could position itself to be a bigger player in the industry. Data from November indicated DoorDash had 50% of the food delivery market, followed by UberEats/Postmates at 30% and GrubHub at 18%, according to a report from Eater.com.

“I don’t think this category of delivery is going anywhere,” Stewart said. “I see the demand in this space still being very strong.”

Email Adam Daigle at adaigle@theadvocate.com.