Waitr, the fast-growing Louisiana-based food delivery service, is eyeing an expansion of its services into several other aspects of the restaurant business, CEO Chris Meaux said Wednesday.
Meaux said in the next five years, he wants to make Waitr one of the top companies in the restaurant space, and hopes to add services for point of sale, credit card systems, table management and loyalty programs.
“In the next five years, those are going to be provided by one vendor,” Meaux said during a keynote address at the annual Baton Rouge Entrepreneurship Week. “And I want that vendor to be Waitr.”
The food delivery space is trending toward offering more services for restaurants, Meaux said, and Waitr aims to help restaurant partners find more efficiencies in several areas.
Waitr will spend 2019 with the No. 1 goal of ensuring every customer can order when they want, Meaux said, especially for the startup’s largest, fastest-growing and most problematic market of Baton Rouge.
“Y’all just hang with us,” Meaux said. “We’re going to get it right here eventually.”
Waitr, which was founded in Lake Charles about five years ago, is going public this week on the Nasdaq stock exchange as part of an acquisition by Texas billionaire Tilman Fertitta’s blank check company Landcadia Holdings, which was announced earlier this year.
Waitr is based in Lake Charles but has operations in Lafayette, where it is part of a growing technology sector that includes CGI.
Meaux said Louisiana needs more organized capital — like venture capital firms and organized angel investors — to grow its tech economy. He also said he is committed to staying in Louisiana, and one of the reasons he agreed to the acquisition by Landcadia was because Fertitta understood Meaux’s desire to stay in his home state.
The nearly $70 million in revenue Waitr is projecting for this year is far ahead of what Meaux originally projected when pitching investors several years ago. At that time, he projected doing $36 million in revenue this year.
He told attendees of the conference to focus on solving problems when founding their business and recommended they bring “domain experts” on board who understand whatever space they’re operating in.
Baton Rouge Entrepreneurship Week kicked off Tuesday evening and featured several speakers and panels for “entrepreneur day” at LSU’s Emerging Technologies Center Wednesday. The events end Thursday evening with a pitch competition at the Water Institute of the Gulf.