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Attendees look out over the festivities from a balcony in the new Waitr location during Waitr Day, a celebration of Waitr's move to its new Jefferson Street location on Feb. 15 in downtown Lafayette.

In the latest effort to turn a profit, Waitr has slashed more jobs and will discontinue services in some markets.

About 20% of the workers affected by Tuesday's layoffs were based in Louisiana, but Waitr will not pull out of any Louisiana markets, a company official said.

The news comes just two days before the restaurant-delivery company will announce its third-quarter financial results. 

"Eliminating jobs is the last thing a business ever wants to have to do," Waitr CEO Adam Price said in an emailed statement to The Acadiana Advocate. "Actions taken this week were done to best position Waitr for the future and enable the company to continue providing a consistent, reliable experience to our customers, and valuable relationships to our restaurant partners."

As many as 200 to 300 employees across the company were laid off Tuesday, according to two affected employees based in Louisiana who agreed to speak under the condition of anonymity because of a non-disclosure agreement that, if broken, could put their severance packages at risk.

"I'm at the bar celebrating," one employee said during a phone call with The Acadiana Advocate. "I've been planning an exit strategy. This shortened it by a few weeks, but this turned out better, actually. I'll be OK."

Waitr eliminated all employees in the menu, photography and account management departments on Tuesday and "significantly" reduced the size of its acquisitions team, according to a recording of a Tuesday conference call for laid off employees obtained by The Acadiana Advocate. 

"This news should not overshadow the immense contributions you've had and made over many years of work and service," Tyson Queen, Waitr's VP of sales and account management, said during the call after informing the employees their jobs and departments had been eliminated. "As (CEO) Adam (Price) said earlier, this is not an indication of your performance. It is solely a result of the financial position the business is in and need to make large changes to be successful."

Tuesday's news of workforce and market reductions is the latest in a series of controversial changes that have happened since Waitr went public about a year ago.

In July, Waitr announced a new "performance-based rate structure" that outraged some restaurant owners who had long partnered with the company. In August, Waitr Founder and CEO Chris Meaux stepped down. In October, CFO Jeff Yurecko stepped down and was paid $145,000 as part of his separation agreement as of Nov. 1, according to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission records.

Two board members also resigned last month. 

Waitr, which went public about a year ago after Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta acquired it for $308 million, only has enough cash to run through March of next year, according to an October report by The Current. Its market capitalization is about $33 million, down from its peak of $910 million several months ago. 

The company is also in danger of being delisted from the Nasdaq stock exchange if its stock price doesn't rise above $1 per share by the end of November. It was trading around 45 cents per share as of Tuesday, down from its 52-week peak of $14 per share in March. 

Waitr's Media Relations Director Dean Turcol called Tuesday's actions "unfortunate but necessary" so the company could remain "competitive in the industry" and sustain a "profitable business model."

"We are sincerely grateful for the contributions of the employees affected by this change and are committed to supporting them, including providing separation packages," Turcol wrote in an email to The Acadiana Advocate.

All laid off employees will receive at least six weeks of severance pay, according to Tuesday's conference call. One additional week of pay will be provided for those who worked for the company for at least two years, and two additional weeks of pay will be provided for those who worked at the company for three or more years, Queen said in the call.

"For those of you physically located in one of our offices, feel free to take time to say goodbye to your fellow friends and colleagues," Queen said in the call. "You may leave at your own leisure."

Turcol could not confirm how many people have been laid off, but he did confirm that 20% of those affected by the layoffs were based in Louisiana.

Turcol confirmed that Waitr services will continue in all existing Louisiana markets. He said he couldn't disclose how many markets Waitr delivery services will be discontinued in. 

"The closing of a subset of low-performing markets will be based on a growth and profitability analysis currently underway," Turcol said. "These closures are expected to occur over the next 30 days."

Waitr was founded in 2013 by Chris Meaux, an Acadia Parish native who still holds about 936,800 shares in addition to 3.8 million shares held by Meaux Enterprises LLC. The startup was backed by New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees as an investor. 

Meaux was recently named senior adviser for Baton Rouge-based Relief Telemed, an on-demand health care platform. 

Advocate Staff Writer Kristen Mosbrucker contributed to this report. 

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Were you laid off by Waitr? Reach out to Megan Wyatt at mwyatt@theadvocate.com or 337-534-0623 to share your story.