Lafayette-based Waitr beats second-quarter estimates, posts record $10.7 million profit

William Taylor Potter
Lafayette Daily Advertiser
Waitr provides masks, gloves and sanitation spray to all its drivers. It also offers no-contact delivery for all restaurant orders.

Lafayette-based food delivery service Waitr announced Thursday its second quarter results beat earlier estimates, posting a $10.7 million in its official results instead of the $8 million estimated earlier.

The second quarter marked Waitr's first profitable quarter since the company went public in 2018.

Waitr's preliminary results in early July estimated the $8 million profit for the company. In the second quarter of 2019, the company had a net loss of $24.9 million.

“We are pleased with our second quarter results, especially our strong revenue growth and profitability,” said Carl Grimstad, chairman and CEO of Waitr. “Our solid performance in the second quarter is a result of the initiatives we implemented pre-pandemic and the hard work of our team members, our restaurant partners and our drivers, as well as the trust that we have earned from our customers who have relied on us to deliver high-quality food throughout the pandemic.”

More:For Acadiana restaurants, coronavirus presents many challenges for their businesses

The company said it is not holding a conference call to discuss the financial results. 

Waitr’s revenue increased 18% from the second quarter of 2019, from $51.3 million to $60.5 million. As of July 31, the company’s cash on hand was $87.3 million.

Operations and support expenses fell by 23% — $9.2 million — from $39.7 million in 2019 to $30.5 million. Sales and marketing expenses decreased 82%, or $12.6 million, from $15.3 million to $2.7 million.

Other expenses — such as research and development, general and administrative costs, and depreciation and amortization — were down $5.9 million combined.

Waitr had 44,241 orders each day on average, up 18% from 37,576 in the first quarter of 2020. As of June 30, Waitr had more than 2 million active users.

“We continue to reinforce our presence in our most important markets by increasing delivery areas, adding grocery and alcohol delivery services, and expanding our customer service and dispatch teams,” Grimstad said. “All of these growth initiatives are being supported by a leaner cost structure with an eye on efficiencies and appropriate returns on deployed capital.”

A Waitr delivery driver picks up an order at local restaurant in Lafayette  Wednesday, July 17, 2019.

Financially, 2020 has been a 180-degree turn for Waitr. For 2019, the company posted a net loss of $291.3 million, including a loss of more than $220 million in the third quarter alone as the company contemplated a sale or merger

The year was marked by leadership turnover and rounds of layoffs. The company, with a share price below $1, was at risk of being scratched from the NASDAQ.

With many restaurants in Louisiana and across the nation closed to in-house dining or with limited capacity, Waitr saw a resurgence in its share price. Its price began rising around March 16 and it has largely been above $1 ever since. Its price opened at $5.73 on Thursday.

In February, the company had its first profitable month en route to meeting projections in 2020's first quarter.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., the company implemented initiatives to help its restaurant partners, it said in a press release. Waitr has provided some free marketing and promotional support, discounts on delivery fees and began allowing users to donate to charities like Feeding America.

“The continued demand for our services enables us to provide communities with employment opportunities for drivers,” Grimstad said. “The increase in the number of drivers, in turn, expands capacity and improves service for our restaurant partners and diners.”