WAITR founder talks ASAP app’s demise, his future plans

Published 3:26 pm Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Chris Meaux wouldn’t speculate about why ASAP — the delivery company formerly known as WAITR — ceased operations. He’s too busy working on his latest endeavors with his son, Logan, who heads up “an Airbnb for outdoorsmen.”

“I have been separated from the company completely for almost five years now,” WAITR’s founder said. “What I can say is, we had a very specific strategy for growth and a specific action plan, if you will, to ultimately lead toward profitability.”

Meaux sold the on-demand food delivery service and online technology platform to Landcadia, a Tilman Fertita holdings company in 2022 for $308 million, according to The Advocate, which reported on ASAP’s business closing earlier this week. ASAP went public on the Nasdaq stock exchange after Landcadia Holdings purchased it for $600 million. The company posted a $73.5 million net loss in the third quarter of 2022, “its fourth straight quarter with a loss and its second massive quarterly deficit that year.” ASAP lost its Nasdaq listing after efforts to raise its share price came up short.

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‘Foogle’ it 

Meaux launched WAITR from Lake Charles in 2015, a pitch winner of the competition hosted by the Business Incubator of Southwest Louisiana that earned him six months rent at the Southwest Louisiana Entrepreneurial and Economic Development (SEED) Center — a Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, city of Lake Charles, McNeese State University and SWLA Alliance joint venture.

The idea for WAITR started percolating after his wife commented that she wished she could order something healthy such as chicken for delivery instead of Chinese and pizza. The first name he came up with was Foogle, for a browser like Google, but for food.

Meaux wouldn’t give the name of his latest project, “a framework for startups,” and calls the current economy an “encouraging time for entrepreneurship.”

“Some companies such as Uber and Airbnb were started in the toughest of times. Facebook came out of the dot.com bust.”

Meaux put Logan to work for at 14, and as soon as he turned 16, Logan took his dad’s place driving for WAITR. The 25-year-old is in the driver’s seat again as CEO for Mallard Bay Services. His dad is on board, but says Logan is smarter than he was at that age.

The Mallard Bay platform allows outdoors enthusiasts to search and securely book a variety of hunting and fishing trips, from guided elk hunts in one part of the United States to salmon fishing in another area.

Like WAITR, Mallard Bay solved a problem that no one else had tackled.

“I had booked a deer hunt for my dad and me,” Logan said. “I thought it was going to be a private hunt, but 13 other hunters showed up. We didn’t get a single shot, much less come home with a trophy. The trip had been double booked.”

That got him thinking, and that resulted in Mallard Bay. Now, it has acquired Bourbon Media and that has allowed the “Airbnb for outdoorsmen” to bring web development and marketing services in house. They also have a gear “store.”

Logan said he doesn’t know if the desire to pursue a solution to a problem that no one else has solved is at the root of the entrepreneurial mindset, but it is something that drove his great-grandfather and grandfather, as well as his dad and now, him to do just that.