Angry with Waitr’s recently announced switch to a “performance-based rate structure,” many Baton Rouge restaurant owners plan to pull from the delivery service once the fee structure goes into effect, according to Daily Report.
Based on the terms of the new agreement, partner restaurants with food sales from the Waitr platform exceeding $20,000 will be charged a 15% commission from Waitr for every transaction. The commission increases in brackets, reaching a cap at 25% for restaurants with monthly food sales at or below $1,000. The terms also prohibit restaurants from charging a higher price for food ordered through Waitr than regular, in-restaurant transactions, instead passing along the fees charged by credit card companies to the restaurants.
In an emailed statement, Waitr says its partners “will discover this is a far more attractive option than those offered by our competitors,” arguing that “the more our restaurant partners deliver, the lower their rate will be.” But local restaurant owners say the move makes Waitr—traditionally viewed as an affordable option for partner vendors—more comparably priced with competitors like UberEats and DoorDash. It also forces restaurants getting less business from Waitr sales to shoulder more of the cost burden amid already slim profit margins.
“For many restaurants, it becomes not worth it,” says Stephen Hightower, owner of City Group Hospitality Co., which owns City Pork, City Slice and the new Rouj Creole. “We already have razor-thin margins, and with so much competition it makes it hard not to search for the dollar in sales, and delivery is such a major part of everyday life.”
While Hightower hasn’t yet decided if he’ll sign the new agreement, others are more certain. Kalurah Street Grill co-owner Brad Watts, for example, is discontinuing the delivery service. Rocco Moreau, owner of Rocco’s New Orleans Style Poboys and Cafe, says he will “absolutely discontinue” his partnership.
Meanwhile, owners of other restaurants, such as Rotolo’s Pizzeria and Ruffino’s, say they are considering their options.