Amid new market entrances mostly across the southeast, Waitr has announced it will open its first operations on the West Coast through the purchase of a California-based discount dining app.
Waitr founder and Chief Executive Officer Chris Meaux says his Lake Charles-based tech company, which provides delivery services to customers from local restaurants in nine cities between Louisiana and Texas, will add operations in Shreveport and Tuscaloosa, Ala., in September and, after buying mobile dining app Requested, is also moving into Roseville in California’s Central Valley. Requested is already operating in Baton Rouge via a partnership with 225 Magazine, which imported the platform for promotional use as 225 Requested.
Waitr will retain that partnership through the takeover, while Meaux’s team folds the Requested platform into Waitr’s own functionality.
Requested provides a “dine and dash” service, says Meaux, allowing users to reserve tables and prepay checks through discounted, inclusive packages. The app gets its name from a criminal service industry nuisance in which customers eat and run without paying.
“You’re running out on the bill, but you’re running out cause you already paid,” jokes Meaux. “It’s a legal dine and dash.”
Aside from the purchase in California, Waitr has primarily eyed the southeast for expansion. At ABiz's State of the Economy luncheon in June, Meaux announced that Waitr would open a new operations hub in Lafayette as a stage for its eastward mobilization. The Lafayette hub will add 100 customer and software engineering jobs to the market, housed in office space leased within city limits.
Meaux says that, since announcing the upcoming expansion, Waitr has added between 30 and 40 employees to the company’s temporary Lafayette outpost at LITE and is in the “final stages” of securing office space in the city.
Meaux anticipates that Waitr will add four new markets a month through the end of the year, potentially hitting Florida by the first quarter of 2017.