Waitr.jpg

Louisiana-based online food delivery company Waitr Holdings Inc. posted second quarter earnings of nearly $10.7 million or 10 cents per diluted share. That compares to the $24.9 million loss or 32 cents a share loss the company had in the second quarter of 2019.

Louisiana online food delivery ordering tech startup Waitr Holdings Inc. was $291 million in the red during 2019, which is a loss of $4 per share, compared to a $34 million, or $2 per share, loss in 2018. 

Waitr's fourth-quarter earnings were also down as it lost $21.6 million in the last three months of 2019, compared to $17 million during fourth-quarter 2018. 

The company generated $43 million in revenue during fourth-quarter 2019, up from $21 million in 2018. For year-end 2019, its revenue was $191.6 million, compared to $69 million in 2018. One major difference in the past year was the acquisition of Bite Squad, a similarly sized online delivery ordering tech startup. 

Waitr, which has significant operations in Lafayette, is laying off 2,300 food delivery drivers in April as the company transitions many of those employees to independent contractors. The company said that it expects independent contractors to have the "ability to earn more on their own terms."

The company expects to hire more workers in customer service and dispatch in Lafayette and Lake Charles, despite laying off workers in November 2019 and January this year. The company consolidated its operations, support, sales and marketing employees. In December 2019 and January, Waitr pulled out of 60 markets it described as unprofitable.

Carl Grimstad, CEO of Waitr who was also recently named chairman of the company, said that the past year was full of challenges, including more competition in its core markets and distractions of management turnover that "resulted in a lack of focus on our customers and operations."

Grimstad predicted that the company would become profitable during first quarter this year. 

“We have been creating ways to add more value for our restaurant partners by providing additional services to help restaurant owners grow their businesses," Grimstad said in a news release. "We believe our intense focus on supporting our restaurants, our diners and drivers is a clear differentiator." 

Still, Waitr only had $29.3 million cash on hand as of December 2019 but that increased to $30.5 million in March. It also has $130 million in long-term debt and $3.6 million in short-term debt. 

Waitr's stock was trading at about 40 cents per share on Monday morning, down from its 52-week peak of $13 per share in March 2019. Its market capitalization is only $29 million. 

For second time in 6 months, Waitr increasing fees for some restaurants in push for profitability

Acadiana Business Today: Coronavirus testing site, curfew for minors ordered in Lafayette Parish; 'We don't know if we'll make it': Acadiana restaurants brace for uncertainty due to coronavirus


Email Kristen Mosbrucker at kmosbrucker@theadvocate.com.