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EX-32.2 - EX-32.2 - Waitr Holdings Inc.wtrh-ex322_8.htm
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EX-31.2 - EX-31.2 - Waitr Holdings Inc.wtrh-ex312_9.htm
EX-31.1 - EX-31.1 - Waitr Holdings Inc.wtrh-ex311_6.htm
EX-23.1 - EX-23.1 - Waitr Holdings Inc.wtrh-ex231_7.htm
EX-4.1 - EX-4.1 - Waitr Holdings Inc.wtrh-ex41_52.htm

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

(Mark One)

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019

OR

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934 FOR THE TRANSITION PERIOD FROM                      TO                     

Commission File Number 001-37788

 

WAITR HOLDINGS INC.

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its Charter)

 

 

Delaware

 

26-3828008

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)

214 Jefferson Street, Suite 200

Lafayette, Louisiana

 

70501

(Address of principal executive offices)

 

(Zip Code)

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: 1-337-534-6881

 

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

Title of each class

 

Trading Symbol(s)

 

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common Stock, Par Value $0.0001 Per Share

 

WTRH

 

The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. YES  NO 

Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act. YES  NO 

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. YES  NO 

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to submit such files). YES  NO 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer

 

  

Accelerated filer

 

 

 

 

 

Non-accelerated filer

 

  

Smaller reporting company

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emerging growth company

 

 

 

 

 

 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). YES  NO  

The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates of the Registrant, based on the closing price of the shares of common stock on The Nasdaq Stock Market on June 28, 2019, was $482,344,731.

The number of shares of Registrant’s Common Stock outstanding as of March 6, 2020 was 76,598,143.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Certain information required to be disclosed in Part III of this report is incorporated by reference from the registrant’s definitive proxy statement or an amendment to this report, which will be filed with the SEC not later than 120 days after the end of the fiscal year covered by this report.

 

 

 

 

 


TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Table of Contents

 

 

 

Page

PART I

 

 

Item 1.

Business

1

Item 1A.

Risk Factors

6

Item 1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments

28

Item 2.

Properties

28

Item 3.

Legal Proceedings

28

Item 4.

Mine Safety Disclosures

28

 

 

 

PART II

 

 

Item 5.

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

29

Item 6.

Selected Financial Data

30

Item 7.

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

31

Item 7A.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

41

Item 8.

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

42

Item 9.

Changes in and Disagreements With Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

42

Item 9A.

Controls and Procedures

42

Item 9B.

Other Information

43

 

 

 

PART III

 

 

Item 10.

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

44

Item 11.

Executive Compensation

44

Item 12.

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

44

Item 13.

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

44

Item 14.

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

44

 

 

 

PART IV

 

 

Item 15.

Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

45

Item 16.

Form 10-K Summary

49

 

 

 

 

Signatures

50

 

Index to Financial Statements

51

 

 

 

 


TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

 

This Annual Report on Form 10-K (this “Form 10-K”) contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). All statements, other than statements of historical or current facts, that reflect future plans, estimates, beliefs or expected performance are forward-looking statements. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements because they are preceded by, followed by or include words such as “may,” “can,” “should,” “will,” “estimate,” “plan,” “project,” “forecast,” “intend,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “seek,” “target” or similar expressions. These forward-looking statements are based on information available as of the date of this Form 10-K and our management’s current expectations, forecasts and assumptions, and involve a number of judgments, risks and uncertainties that may be outside of our control. Accordingly, forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing our views as of any subsequent date. We do not undertake any obligation to update forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date they were made, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required under applicable securities laws. Our actual results could differ materially from those discussed in these forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, those set forth under the section entitled “Risk Factors” below.

 

PART I

The following should be read in conjunction with the audited consolidated financial statements and the notes thereto included elsewhere in this Form 10-K. Throughout this document, we make statements that are classified as “forward-looking.” Please refer to the “Forward-Looking Statements” section above for an explanation of these types of statements.

Item 1. Business

Overview

Waitr Holdings Inc. (together with its wholly-owned subsidiaries, the “Company,” “Waitr,” “we,” “our” or “us”) operates an online food ordering and delivery platform, connecting local restaurants with hungry diners in cities across the United States. On January 17, 2019, Waitr acquired BiteSquad.com, LLC (“Bite Squad”), an online food ordering and delivery platform with operations similar to those of Waitr. The Company connects diners and restaurants via Waitr’s website and mobile application (the “Waitr Platform”) and Bite Squad’s website and mobile application (the “Bite Squad Platform” and together with the Waitr Platform, the “Platforms”). The Platforms are a convenient way to discover, order and receive great food from local restaurants and national chains. Our strategy is to bring delivery and carryout infrastructure to underserved populations of restaurants and diners and establish market leadership positions in the markets in which we operate. At December 31, 2019, we operated in small and medium sized markets across the United States, spanning more than 640 cities.

Our business has been built with a restaurant-first philosophy by providing differentiated and brand additive services to the restaurants on the Platforms. Restaurants benefit from the online Platforms through increased exposure to consumers for expanded business in the delivery market and carryout sales. For diners, Waitr optimizes the journey from restaurant and food discovery through delivery, while providing a diverse restaurant selection and a great customer experience. The intuitive, easy-to-use Platforms allow consumers to browse local restaurants and menus, track order and delivery status, and securely store previous orders for ease of use and convenience.

We generate revenue primarily when diners place an order on one of the Platforms. Our revenue consists primarily of transaction fees, comprised of fees received from restaurants (determined as a percentage of the total food sales, net of any diner promotions or refunds to diners) and diner fees charged when they request the order be delivered to their location. Revenue from diner orders is recognized when orders are delivered.

Key Business Metrics

For a description of our key business metrics, including Active Diners, Average Daily Orders and Gross Food Sales, see Part II, Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations of this Form10-K.

The Waitr Solution

We have created differentiated software platforms, purpose-built to serve restaurants, diners and drivers. Our business has been built with a focus on quality through providing brand-additive services to restaurants, which in turn benefits diners by providing a diverse restaurant selection and a great customer experience.

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Restaurant Benefits

We believe that we provide restaurants with the following key benefits:

 

Exposure.  Our Platforms provide restaurants with access to incremental users and the opportunity to grow their consumer base.

 

Incremental channels.  Our Platforms provide restaurants with additional channels through which they can receive more orders, while building brand awareness, as they are discovered by more diners.

 

Deep integration and customization.  We provide menu onboarding and real-time menu customization that restaurants can manage themselves.

 

Restaurant Software Platforms.  The Platforms provide restaurants with actionable data on diners’ order history and trends, allowing restaurants to offer more tailored dishes and suggest more add-on items, which increases order values.

 

Competitive Rates.  We provide restaurants with competitive pricing plans.

 

Reliable Delivery.  We provide restaurants with accurate and timely deliveries by connecting them with a dedicated network of drivers.

Diner Benefits

We believe that we provide diners with the following key benefits:

 

Selection.  The restaurants on our Platforms represent a wide breadth of cuisines, price points and local favorites in each market to best serve the diverse tastes of diners.

 

Quick, Quality Service.  We strive to deliver the right order, quickly and professionally, and have customer support to assist diners, helping to ensure diner success when ordering on the Platforms.

 

Discovery.  The Platforms are designed to showcase menus with professional photography, giving diners a rich understanding of restaurants’ offerings; resulting in diners discovering restaurants they would like to visit in person, not just to order on the Platforms, further expanding the potential pool of dine-in customers for restaurants.

 

Personalized Experience.  We allow diners to tailor their orders to various layers of customization through easy-to-use Platforms. Diners can add frequent restaurants as favorites and keep track of past orders.

 

Convenience.  We provide diners with intuitive Platforms that make ordering and delivery simple from any connected device. Diners can track their order and know exactly when to expect their food.

Business Strategy

We have historically grown our business by increasing the number of quality restaurants available on the Platforms, which has facilitated growth in diners and orders. Leveraging best practices from the launch of prior markets, we continuously refine our processes in onboarding new restaurants, deploying adequate resources to markets, sales and ongoing business development. We intend to pursue the following growth strategies to grow the Platforms:

Increase sales through further penetration of existing markets

We plan to continue marketing and actively building our brands in existing markets by improving our restaurant offerings, technology platform depth and customer service.

Expansion into new markets, development of new products and services and investment in new technology

While we intend to concentrate our near-term efforts on existing market penetration and adjacent market expansion, our long-term business strategy may include expansion into new cities and geographies, development of new product offerings and services across our marketplace and investment in new technology, all of which will continue to enhance the experience of users of the Platforms.

Deliver an excellent diner experience

We believe that by tailoring experiences on our Platforms to the nuances of local or regional markets, we can further improve the user experience and drive growth for our restaurant partners. We plan to invest in our direct sales teams and to add more restaurants and restaurant variety to the Platforms. A significant opportunity exists to expand existing diner spend, add new diners, and further establish and deepen leadership positions within our current markets.

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Leverage relationships with our restaurant partners

We intend to utilize our existing relationships with diverse and high-quality restaurants to grow within our current markets as well as aid in our expansion into new markets.

Challenges

We face several key challenges in continuing to grow our business and maintain profitability, including the following:

 

 

Long-term growth depends on our ability to expand our marketplace of restaurants and diners in a cost-effective manner;

 

 

 

The ability to realize the benefits of acquired businesses depends on the successful integration of the operations of the acquired businesses with those of the Company; and

 

 

 

The continuing trend toward consolidation in the online and mobile app ordering and delivery industry may result in larger companies with greater financial resources and other competitive advantages than Waitr’s and could impact our growth rates and profitability.

 

Marketing

The Platforms are an important extension of restaurant branding. Most of our marketing efforts to date have been through co-branding with restaurants and generating word-of-mouth adoption. Restaurants promote Waitr and Bite Squad as a feature for their diners through in-restaurant advertising such as door stickers, table tents and push cards in their carryout orders. Our remaining sales and marketing initiatives are paid marketing, which includes: digital media, influencer sponsorships, traditional advertising, and public relations.

Sales

Our sales team is focused on signing restaurants across our current and target markets. By focusing our sales efforts on recruiting restaurants and showing them the value of the Platforms, restaurants promote themselves on the Platforms to their diners. This increase in diners helps to drive more sales and ultimately more restaurants to the Platforms. After launch, we typically continue the sales efforts with business development representatives, while also conducting sales initiatives at the regional and corporate level with key partners and larger national accounts. After opening new markets, our representatives continue to work with the restaurants to increase overall order volume and ensure a high level of quality control across the Platforms.

Products and Services

Restaurant Products and Services

We provide restaurants with a high level of service, high-growth, enhanced marketing Platforms and customer support, all at attractive and aligned pricing.

Pricing Plans.  We offer competitive pricing plans for restaurants on the Platforms, with the option to pay a fee to affect the restaurant’s prominence and exposure to diners on the Platforms.

Restaurant Onboarding.  We offer restaurants a streamlined onboarding process that features direct menu management and high levels of customer service from our market level representatives.

Product Features.  We provide restaurants with the ability to offer promotions and daily specials, optimize orders through real time analytics and manage restaurant menus. The Platforms include a dedicated mobile application for restaurants which simplifies and aggregates restaurant order and delivery tasks onto a central in-app controller and provides flexibility to edit menus based on inventory or promotions, all through user-friendly hardware that receives orders on-site and integrates them seamlessly into existing kitchen flow.

Customer Support.  We also provide restaurants with a team of customer support representatives to ensure quality diner and restaurant service to both parties.

Delivery.  We provide ordering and delivery Platforms for restaurants through a network of drivers to address the growing demand for delivery services.

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Diner Products and Services

For diners, the Platforms serve as a personalized service that provides discovery, convenience and transparency. Our Platforms feature food ordering and delivery, group ordering capabilities and the ability to create favorites for recurring orders.

Features.  The Platforms simplify the online restaurant delivery process to a few steps that include setting location, specifying delivery or takeout, selecting and customizing menu items and tracking orders until delivery or pickup. Diners have search capabilities to locate a certain restaurant or search by cuisine type and can easily view their favorite restaurants and past orders.

Restaurant Selection and Customization.  The restaurants on the Platforms offer diners a wide breadth of cuisines and price points in each market. We create a personalized experience for diners, where they can tailor their orders to several layers of customization: getting what they want, when they want it.

Driver Products and Services

Historically, the majority of our drivers have been employees. As part of our recent initiatives to streamline operations, we are currently in the process of shifting our driver base to independent contractors in all markets in which we operate.

Customers

As of December 31, 2019, we had approximately 18,000 restaurants on the Platforms and served approximately 2.4 million Active Diners. For the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, none of the restaurants on the Platforms or Active Diners accounted for 1% or more of the Company’s revenues.

Competition

Our primary competition has historically been traditional offline options used by the vast majority of restaurants in our markets, including paper menus, telephone orders for delivery or takeout, and local advertising placed by restaurants. Management believes that the Company competes favorably with the traditional ordering process by aggregating restaurant and menu information on the Platforms, making it more convenient for diners to locate restaurants by proximity, cuisine type and/or price point, and efficiently placing a customized order or a repeat order for delivery or takeout, without ever having to interact directly with the restaurant. For restaurants, we offer a more targeted marketing opportunity than traditional, offline, local advertising channels, providing exposure to our network of hungry diners, who typically access our Platforms when they are looking to place a takeout order.

Our competition also consists of other online food ordering and delivery service providers, who compete with us for restaurants, diners and drivers within the markets we serve. Over the last year, we have experienced increased competition from other national delivery service providers. Additionally, some of our competitors have recently started investing more heavily in non-partnered restaurants, which historically has not been our focus.

Seasonality and Holidays

We observe that diner behavior patterns and demand for the services we provide generally fluctuate during the year on both of our Platforms. Order frequency tends to increase from September to March and we generally experience a relative decrease in diner activity from April to August primarily as a result of weather patterns, summer breaks and other vacation periods. In addition, orders in cities or towns with college campuses tend to fluctuate with the start and end of the school year. Our revenues fluctuate according to these patterns and the timing of certain holidays within each quarter, which may result in quarterly fluctuations.

Diner activity may also be impacted by unusually cold, rainy, or warm weather. Cold and rain typically drive increases in order volume, while unusually warm or sunny weather typically drives decreases in orders. Consequently, our results between quarters, or between periods that include prolonged periods of unusually cold, warm, inclement, or otherwise unexpected weather, may vary.

Technology & Intellectual Property

Our Platforms use scalable software to provide a consistent and robust user experience as user adoption increases. The internally developed Platforms are purpose-built to streamline online ordering and delivery for consumers and restaurants. The Platforms are 100% hosted in the cloud. Cloud hosting assists us with addressing potential capacity constraints that we may face as we grow our core applications and provide a level of redundancy, fault tolerance and cost-effectiveness.

We protect our intellectual property through a combination of trademarks, trade dress, domain name registrations, trade secrets, patents, and copyrights.

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As of December 31, 2019, we had registered trademarks covering “Waitr” and “Bite Squad” and the stylistic designs associated with our brands. We have also filed other trademark applications in the United States and may pursue additional trademark registrations to the extent management believes it will benefit the business and be cost-effective.

As of December 31, 2019, we filed two patent applications in the United States, which seek to cover proprietary inventions relating to our products and services. We may pursue further patents to the extent that management believes it will benefit Waitr’s business and be cost-effective.

We hold several registrations to domain names relating to our business, including waitrapp.com, bitesquad.com, and others.

Our non-driver employees and contractors are required to sign agreements pursuant to which they agree to keep proprietary and non-public information confidential and to assign any and all inventions or other intellectual property relating to the business to Waitr. The policies and applicable terms of use of the Platforms also contain confidentiality and assignment of intellectual property provisions and restrict the distribution or use of the Company’s technology in unauthorized manners.

Employees

As of March 6, 2020, we had approximately 10,585 employees, including 10,100 delivery drivers. None of these employees are represented by a labor union with respect to their employment with the Company. We expect to complete the process of moving to an independent contractor driver network by the end of April 2020, after which, we will have no remaining employee drivers.

Corporate History

Originally formed on December 5, 2013 as a Louisiana corporation, Waitr Incorporated began operations in 2014 as a restaurant platform for online food ordering and delivery services, and grew quickly, connecting restaurants, diners and delivery drivers in various markets. Landcadia Holdings, Inc. was a special purpose acquisition company whose business was to effect a merger, capital stock exchange, asset acquisition, stock purchase reorganization or similar business combination. It was incorporated in Delaware on November 19, 2008 as Leucadia Development Corporation and changed its name to Landcadia Holdings, Inc. on September 15, 2015.

On November 15, 2018 (the “Closing Date”), Waitr Holdings Inc. (formerly known as Landcadia Holdings, Inc.), a Delaware corporation, completed the acquisition of Waitr Incorporated, pursuant to the Agreement and Plan of Merger, dated as of May 16, 2018 (the “ Landcadia Merger Agreement”), by and among the Company, Waitr Inc. (f/k/a Landcadia Merger Sub, Inc.), a Delaware corporation and wholly-owned indirect subsidiary of the Company (“Merger Sub”), and Waitr Incorporated. The transactions contemplated by the Landcadia Merger Agreement are referred to herein as the “Landcadia Business Combination.” Upon the consummation of the Landcadia Business Combination, Waitr Incorporated merged with and into Merger Sub, with Merger Sub surviving the merger in accordance with the Delaware General Corporation Law (“DGCL”) as a wholly-owned, indirect subsidiary of the Company. In connection with the closing of the Landcadia Business Combination, the Company changed its name from Landcadia Holdings, Inc. to Waitr Holdings Inc.

Prior to the consummation of the Landcadia Business Combination, the common equity of the Company was traded on the Nasdaq Stock Market (the “Nasdaq”) under the symbol “LCA”. Effective November 16, 2018, the Company’s common equity began trading on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “WTRH”. One of the primary purposes of the Landcadia Business Combination was to provide a platform for Waitr Incorporated to gain access to the U.S. public markets.

On January 17, 2019, Waitr completed the acquisition of Bite Squad, a Minnesota limited liability company, pursuant to the Agreement and Plan of Merger, dated as of December 11, 2018 (the “Bite Squad Merger Agreement”), by and among the Company, Bite Squad and Wingtip Merger Sub, Inc., a Delaware corporation and wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company. The transactions contemplated by the Bite Squad Merger Agreement are referred to herein as the “Bite Squad Merger.” Upon consummation of the Bite Squad Merger, Wingtip Merger Sub, Inc. merged with and into Bite Squad, with Bite Squad surviving the merger in accordance with the Minnesota Revised Uniform Limited Liability Act as a wholly-owned, indirect subsidiary of the Company. Founded in 2012 and based in Minneapolis, Bite Squad operated an online food ordering and delivery platform with operations similar to those of Waitr.

Basis of Presentation

 

The Landcadia Business Combination was accounted for as a reverse recapitalization, with no goodwill or other intangible assets recorded, in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States of America (“GAAP”). Under this method of accounting, Landcadia Holdings, Inc. has been treated as the “acquired” company for financial reporting purposes. Accordingly, for accounting purposes, the Landcadia Business Combination was treated as the equivalent of Waitr Incorporated issuing stock for the net assets of Landcadia Holdings, Inc., accompanied by a recapitalization. The net assets of Landcadia Holdings, Inc. were stated at historical cost, with no goodwill or other intangible assets recorded. Reported amounts from operations included herein prior to the Landcadia Business Combination are those of Waitr Incorporated. The shares and earnings per share available to holders of the

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Company’s common stock, prior to the Landcadia Business Combination, have been retroactively restated to reflect the exchange ratio established in the Landcadia Business Combination.

 

The Bite Squad Merger was considered a business combination, in accordance with GAAP, and has been accounted for using the acquisition method. Under the acquisition method of accounting, total merger consideration, acquired assets and assumed liabilities are recorded based on their estimated fair values on the acquisition date. The excess of the fair value of merger consideration over the fair value of the assets less liabilities acquired has been recorded as goodwill. The results of operations of Bite Squad are included in our consolidated financial statements since the acquisition date, January 17, 2019.

Available Information

The Company is subject to the informational requirements of the Exchange Act and files or furnishes reports, proxy statements and other information with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). The Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to reports filed pursuant to Sections 13(a) and 15(d) of the Exchange Act, are filed with the SEC and are available free of charge on the Company’s website at investors.waitrapp.com/financial-information/sec-filings at the same time as when the reports are available on the SEC’s website. The SEC maintains an Internet site that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC at http://www.sec.gov. The Company also maintains websites at www.waitrapp.com and www.bitesquad.com. The contents of the websites referenced herein are not incorporated into this filing. Further, the Company’s references to the URLs for these websites are intended to be inactive textual references only.

 

Item 1A.  Risk Factors

An investment in our securities involves a high degree of risk. You should carefully consider the risks described below before making an investment decision. Our business, prospects, financial condition and operating results could be harmed by any of these risks, as well as other risks not currently known to us or that we currently consider immaterial. The trading price of our securities could decline due to any of these risks, and, as a result, you may lose all or part of your investment. As used in the risks described in this subsection, references to “we,” “us” and “our” are intended to refer to the Company unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

Risks Related To Our Business

Our industry is affected by general economic and business risks that are largely beyond our control.

Our industry is highly cyclical, and our business is dependent on a number of factors, many of which are beyond our control. We believe that some of the most significant of these factors are economic changes that affect supply and demand in dining out in general, such as:

 

changes in diners’ dining habits and in the availability of disposable income for ordering food from restaurants;

 

 

excess restaurant capacity in comparison with food order demand;

 

downturns in restaurants’ business cycles; and

 

recessionary economic cycles, downturns or other events (like the coronavirus or similar widespread health/pandemic outbreaks).

The risks associated with these factors are heightened when the U.S. and/or global economy is weakened. Some of the principal risks during such times are as follows:

 

 

We may experience low overall food and beverage order levels, which may impair our driver utilization, because our diners’ demand for our services generally correlate with the strength of the U.S. and, to a lesser extent, global economy;

 

Certain of the restaurants on our Platforms may face credit issues and cash flow problems, particularly if they encounter increased financing costs or decreased access to capital, which may decrease diner demand for restaurant prepared food, and such issues and problems may affect the number of orders that occur through the Platforms;

 

Food ordering and dining out patterns may change as food supply chains are redesigned and customer tastes change, resulting in an imbalance between restaurants’ available menu items and the demands of Active Diners;

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Diners may select competitors that offer lower delivery charges, commission rates or other charges from among existing choices in an attempt to lower their costs, and we might be forced to lower our rates or lose restaurants offering food or diners ordering food through the Platforms; and

 

 

Disruptive health events or pandemics, such as the recent coronavirus outbreak, may have significant, negative economic effects on the geographic areas in which we operate, which may include impacts to food ordering, takeout or delivery habits, availability of delivery drivers, and restaurants’ ability to receive and prepare food. Additionally, many of our markets include colleges or universities whose populations fluctuate between semesters. Temporary closures or suspension of semesters by colleges and universities in response to pandemics or other health events may have a material adverse effect upon our operations and financial results.

 

We are also subject to cost increases outside of our control that could materially reduce our profitability if we are unable to increase our rates sufficiently. Such cost increases include, but are not limited to, increases in fuel prices, compensation to drivers, interest rates, taxes, tolls, license and registration fees, insurance, payment processing fees, and the costs of healthcare for our employees.

The business levels of restaurants on the Platforms also may be negatively affected by adverse economic conditions or financial constraints, which could lead to disruptions in the availability of popular order items, reducing use of the Platforms. A significant interruption in our normal order levels could disrupt our operations, increase our costs and negatively impact our ability to serve our diners.

In addition, events outside our control, such as strikes or other work stoppages at our facilities, among our drivers or at our restaurant diners’ locations, or actual or threatened armed conflicts or terrorist attacks, efforts to combat terrorism, military action against a foreign state or group located in a foreign state, or heightened security requirements could lead to reduced economic demand, reduced availability of credit or ordering capabilities of the Platforms. Such events or enhanced security measures in connection with such events could impair our operations and result in higher operating costs.

We have limited operational history; we are subject to developmental risks associated with the development of any new business.

We lack significant operational history by which future performance may be judged or compared. Any future success that we may enjoy will depend upon many factors, several of which may be beyond our control, or which cannot be predicted at this time, and which could have a material adverse effect upon our financial condition, business prospects and operations and the value of an investment in the Company. As a result, our past quarterly financial results do not necessarily indicate future performance. Investors should take into account the risks and uncertainties frequently encountered by companies in rapidly evolving markets. Investors should not rely upon our past quarterly financial results as indicators of future performance. The numerous factors, which we are unable to predict or are outside of our control, include the following:

 

 

We may not be able to accurately forecast revenues and plan operating expenses;

 

 

We may be unable to fund our working capital requirements or maintain compliance with our debt covenants, particularly if our forecast regarding the sufficiency of our liquidity is inaccurate or our expenses exceed our expectations;

 

We may be unable to scale our technological and operational infrastructure to accommodate rapid growth in diners, orders or customer support needs;

 

Our management team has had limited experience operating a public company and could be unable to help us successfully transition from a developmental stage business to a larger organization;

 

Our growth may depend on acquisitions, our management team does not have significant experience managing acquisitions of other businesses, and we may lack the capital necessary to pursue them;

 

Our still relatively recent transition to a public company could pose operational, financial and quality risks that we are unable to manage effectively;

 

The development and introduction of new products or services by us or our competitors is uncertain;

 

Competing with traditional ordering methods or delivery services provided directly by restaurants (or third parties) to consumers over the phone or through their own websites or other means could pose a risk to our growth and financial performance;

 

Our ability to maintain and grow our number of Active Diners, Average Daily Orders, Gross Food Sales and order frequency is not guaranteed;

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Our ability to attract and retain restaurants over long periods of time has not been tested in several markets;

 

We may prove unable to attract and retain key employees and personnel to support growth;

 

Seasonal and weather-related fluctuations in spending by consumers relating to food delivery can be unpredictable;

 

The acceptable pricing of our onboarding and services fees to restaurants and diner fees to consumers and restaurants has not been tested widely;

 

Our ability to increase onboarding, services, diner fees and other revenue does not enjoy long historical data trends and any increases in our costs may be met with adverse restaurant response that could materially negatively impact revenue as affected restaurants may withdraw from our Platforms;

 

We have yet to demonstrate our ability to diversify and grow revenue sources beyond current onboarding, services and diner fees;

 

Increases in marketing, sales, and other operating expenses that we may incur to grow and expand our operations and to remain competitive are unpredictable;

 

 

Our ability to maintain gross margins and operating margins can be difficult to predict and impacted by numerous factors beyond our control (for example, due to transaction charge increases, technology cost increases, competitive pricing and other items);

 

We may experience system failures or breaches of security and privacy that could pose a harm on their own and could affect consumers’ confidence in our services;

 

We may not be able to adequately manage key third-party service providers;

 

We may experience changes in diner or restaurant behavior or preferences;

 

Payment processing costs could increase, or we could fail to implement our own payment processing solution;

 

Given the rapid pace of our evolution into a public company, our internal controls may not be able to keep pace with necessary requirements from a business, accounting or legal point of view; and

 

We may experience casualties or safety hazards or issues with our drivers or third parties that come into contact with our drivers, all of which could be difficult to predict and which could impact our operating costs and diner or restaurant use of the Platforms.

Our business depends on discretionary spending patterns in the areas in which the restaurants on our Platforms operate and in the economy at large. Economic downturns or other events (like coronavirus or similar widespread health/pandemic outbreaks) impacting the U.S. and global economy could materially adversely affect our results of operations.

Purchases at restaurants and food and beverage hospitality services locations are discretionary for consumers and we are therefore susceptible to changes in discretionary patterns or economic slowdowns in the geographic areas in which restaurants on our Platforms operate and in the economy at large. We believe that consumers generally are more willing to make discretionary purchases, including delivery or takeout of restaurant meals, during favorable economic conditions. Disruptions in the overall economy (including disruptions due to coronavirus or similar health/pandemic events), including high unemployment, financial market volatility and unpredictability, and the related reduction in consumer confidence, could negatively affect food and beverage sales throughout the restaurant industry, including orders through the Platforms. In addition, we believe that a proportion of our weekday revenues, particularly during the lunch hour, are derived from business customers using expense accounts. Our business therefore may be affected by reduced expense account or other business-related dining by business clientele. There is also a risk that if uncertain economic conditions persist for an extended period of time or worsen, consumers might make long-lasting changes to their discretionary spending behavior, including ordering food for delivery or takeout less frequently. The ability of the U.S. economy to handle this uncertainty is likely to be affected by many national and international factors that are beyond our control. These factors, including national, regional and local politics and economic conditions, disposable consumer income and consumer confidence, also affect discretionary consumer spending. If any of these factors cause restaurants to cease operations or cease using the Platforms, it could also significantly harm our financial results, for the reasons set forth elsewhere in these risk factors. Continued uncertainty in or a worsening of the economy, generally or in a number of our markets, and diners’ reactions to these trends could adversely affect our business and cause us to, among other things, reduce the number and frequency of new market openings or cease operations in existing markets.

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If we fail to retain existing diners or add new diners, or if our diners decrease their number of orders or order sizes on the Platforms, our revenue, financial results, and business may be adversely affected.

The number of our Active Diners and total Gross Food Sales are critical to our success. Our financial performance has been and will continue to be significantly determined by our success in adding, retaining, and engaging Active Diners who make orders for delivery or carryout using the Platforms. We anticipate that our Active Diner growth rate will decline over time as the size of our Active Diner base increases, and as we achieve higher market penetration rates. To the extent our Active Diner growth rate slows, our business performance will become increasingly dependent on our ability to increase the size and frequency of orders in current and new markets. If diners do not perceive the Platforms to be useful, reliable, and trustworthy, we may not be able to attract or retain diners or otherwise maintain or increase the frequency and amount of orders. A decrease in diner retention, growth, or order frequency (or overall order price) could render the Platforms less attractive to restaurants, which may have a material and adverse impact on our revenue, business, financial condition, and results of operations. Any number of factors could potentially negatively affect diner retention, growth, and engagement, thereby adversely affecting our revenue, financial results, and future growth potential, including if:

 

diners increasingly order through competing products or services;

 

we fail to introduce new and improved services or menu items or if we introduce new services that are not favorably received;

 

we are unable to successfully maintain our efforts to provide a satisfactory delivery and ordering experience;

 

we are unable to continue to develop products for mobile devices that users find engaging, that work with a variety of mobile operating systems and networks, and that achieve a high level of market acceptance;

 

there are changes in diner sentiment about the quality or usefulness of the Platforms, delivery quality, food quality or other products or concerns related to privacy and sharing, safety, security, or other factors;

 

we are unable to manage and prioritize information to ensure diners are presented with menu items that are interesting, useful, and relevant to them;

 

there are adverse changes in the Platforms, delivery services or restaurant services or products that are mandated by legislation, regulatory authorities, or litigation, including settlements or consent decrees;

 

 

technical or other problems prevent us from delivering food in a rapid and reliable manner or otherwise affect the user experience or enjoyment of food or beverages delivered;

 

we adopt policies or procedures related to delivery, ordering or user data that are perceived negatively by our diners or the general public;

 

we fail to provide adequate customer service to restaurants, diners, drivers, or advertisers;

 

we, our drivers, restaurants on the Platforms, or other companies in the mobile food delivery or ordering industry are the subject of adverse media reports or other negative publicity;

 

restaurants develop their own direct-to-consumer applications or online ordering and delivery services; or

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we are unable to maintain and increase our Active Diner base and order frequency or our Average Daily Orders and Gross Food Sales.

We generate a substantial amount of our revenue from restaurants viewed positively by diners. The loss of restaurants to other platforms could seriously harm our business.

Substantially all of our revenue is derived from items offered by restaurants to diners on the Platforms. The number of Active Diners, Average Daily Orders and Gross Food Sales depends on the availability of quality items available on the Platforms from restaurants viewed positively by diners. As is typical in our industry, restaurants do not agree to long-term contracts with us, and they are generally free to leave the Platforms with minimal notice or to participate on competing platforms. While no single restaurant accounts for more than 10% of our revenue, many of the restaurants on our Platforms only recently started providing menu items on the Platforms, and they spend a relatively small portion of their overall budget with us. In addition, some restaurants may view the Platforms as experimental and unproven. Restaurants will not continue to do business with us if we do not increase revenues for them or provide delivery or takeout ordering for diners in an effective manner, or if they do not believe that their investment in onboarding for the Platforms will generate a competitive return relative to other alternatives, including from our competitors.

Moreover, we rely heavily on our ability to collect and disclose data and metrics to and for restaurants to attract new restaurants and retain existing restaurants. For example, we present historical data about sales to demonstrate our value to attract new restaurants

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to the Platforms. Any restriction, whether by law, regulation, policy, or other reason, on our ability to collect and disclose data that restaurants find useful would impede our ability to attract and retain restaurants.

Growth in the number of restaurants on the Platforms may not continue at historical rates, and the addition of new restaurants to the Platforms and retention of existing restaurants on the Platforms could decline due to a number of factors. First, the cost of adding new restaurants or retaining existing restaurants on the Platforms could increase substantially. Competition to advertise our services to restaurants has been increasing and will likely continue to increase as a result of increasing competition among similar companies for a finite pool of restaurants. In addition, the number of options available to restaurants may result in downward pressure on the prices that restaurants are willing to pay for our services. As more choices become available for diners to order delivery or takeout from restaurants, the number and frequency of our word-of-mouth and/or organic referrals may decline. Our efforts to attract and retain new restaurants in new geographical areas may not be successful.

If we fail to attract new restaurants or retain existing restaurants, especially those restaurants that are most popular with diners, our financial results could materially suffer.

If our delivery service levels decline or if restaurants do not see increases in business, restaurants could leave the Platforms, reducing revenue and significantly harming our business.

Restaurants will not continue to do business with us or will be unwilling to pay onboarding or other service fees if we do not deliver food and beverages in a timely, professional and friendly manner or if the restaurants do not believe that their investment in the Waitr Platform or the Bite Squad Platform, as applicable, will produce an increase in revenue from delivery or takeout orders. Our service fees and commission revenue and the availability of restaurants on the Platforms could be negatively impacted by the following factors, among others:

 

decreases in the number of Active Diners or Average Daily Orders on the Platforms;

 

loss of online or mobile food delivery market share to competitors;

 

inability to professionally and accurately display menu items to consumers on the Platforms;

 

adverse media reports or other negative publicity involving the Company, our drivers, restaurants on our Platforms or other companies in our industry; and

 

the impact of macroeconomic conditions and conditions in the restaurant industry in general.

We are subject to a variety of risks relating to our relationships with our drivers, including those related to our shift from primarily employee to independent contractor drivers, shortages of available drivers, adverse conditions impacting drivers, and possible increases in driver compensation.

We are in the process of shifting the composition of our driver base from primarily employee drivers to independent contractor drivers. While we are implementing this change in a way intended to ensure that our drivers are indeed independent contractors under applicable law and regulation, certain state and local governmental authorities have recently initiated efforts to classify independent contractors performing jobs like our drivers as employees. Should regulators in jurisdictions where we operate apply similar efforts, it could result in increased costs and burdens relating to treating drivers as employees and/or disputing such regulatory framework. As of now, we are not aware of any governmental authority pursuing this type of action in any of our markets; however, this could change in the near future.

The change in composition of our driver base could also result in a degradation of service provided by our delivery drivers, an increase in the turnover rates of delivery drivers and potential lawsuits. If we are unable to retain current employee drivers as independent contractor drivers or unable to attract and retain a sufficient number of independent contractor drivers, we could face difficulty meeting consumer order demands or be forced to forego business that would otherwise be available to us, which could adversely affect our profitability and ability to maintain or grow our business.

Shortages of available drivers could require us to spend more to attract and retain drivers and could create shortages at peak order times. We could face a challenge with attracting and retaining qualified drivers primarily due to intense market competition, which may subject us to increased payments for driver compensation and independent contractor driver rates. Also, because of the intense competition for drivers, we may face difficulty maintaining or increasing our number of drivers and may face increased costs for securing the services of drivers, thereby negatively impacting our profitability.

Further, with respect to independent contractor drivers, shortages can result from the absence of long-term contracts along with other contractual terms or company policies that make contracting with us less desirable to certain independent contractor

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drivers. In addition, the “on-call” or “on-demand” nature of the way that we ask independent contractor drivers to pick up shifts during busy times may result in difficulties procuring such independent contractor drivers when we need that labor most. Such a shortage could result in material harm to our business or reputation.

The financial condition and operating costs of our independent contractor drivers are affected by conditions and events that are beyond our control and may also be beyond their control. Adverse changes in the financial condition of our independent contractor drivers or increases in their car ownership or operating costs could cause them to seek higher revenues or to cease their business relationships with us. The prices that we charge our diners could be impacted by such issues, which may in turn limit pricing flexibility with diners, resulting in fewer delivery orders and decreasing our revenues.

Independent contractor drivers may utilize shirts and food carrier equipment bearing our trade names and trademarks; however, it is not required. If one of our independent contractor drivers is subject to negative publicity, it could negatively reflect on us and have a material and adverse effect on our business, brand and financial performance. Under certain laws, we could also be subject to allegations of liability for the activities of our independent contractor drivers.

As independent business owners, our independent contractor drivers may make business or personal decisions that conflict with our best interests. For example, if an order is unprofitable, route distance is further than desired or personal scheduling conflicts arise, an independent contractor driver may deny orders from time to time. In these circumstances, we must be able to timely deliver food orders to maintain relationships with diners and restaurants on the Platforms. The unwillingness of independent contractor drivers to perform their services when and where they are needed could adversely harm our financial performance and operating results.

 

If we are not able to maintain and enhance our brands, or if events occur that damage our reputation and brands, our ability to expand our base of diners and restaurants may be impaired, and our business and financial results may be harmed. Unfavorable media coverage could seriously harm our business.

Our brands have significantly contributed to the success of our business. We believe that maintaining and enhancing our brands is critical to expanding our base of diners and restaurants. Many of our new diners are referred by existing diners, and, therefore, we strive to ensure that our diners remain favorably inclined towards the Platforms and our online ordering service. Maintaining and enhancing our brands will depend largely on our ability to continue to provide useful, reliable, trustworthy, and innovative services, which we may not do successfully. We may introduce new services, products or terms of service that diners do not like, which may negatively affect our brands.

Additionally, the actions of restaurants that are on our Platforms (or quality and safety of their food), delivery drivers and others may negatively affect our brands if consumers do not have a positive experience interacting with those parties after using the Platforms. We may experience media, legislative, or regulatory scrutiny of our delivery and food safety record, our delivery experience, privacy matters or other issues, which may adversely affect our reputation and brands. We may also fail to provide adequate customer service, which could erode confidence in our brands. Maintaining and enhancing our brands may require us to make substantial investments and these investments may not be successful. We face the potential loss of use of our trade name “Waitr” due to certain litigation (see Item 3. Legal Proceedings below). If we fail to successfully promote and maintain our brands, if we lose the right to our trade name, or if we incur excessive expenses in this effort, our business and financial results may be adversely affected.

We rely on restaurants in our network for many aspects of our business, and their failure to maintain their service levels could harm our business.

Diners demand quality food at reasonable prices. The ability of diners to obtain such quality food from restaurants they like on a timely basis through the Platforms drives the primary value of the Platforms. Our ability to provide diners with a high-quality and compelling food ordering experience depends, in part, on diners receiving competitive prices, convenience, customer service and responsiveness from restaurants from whom they order. If these restaurants do not meet or exceed diner expectations with competitive levels of convenience, customer service, price and responsiveness, the value of our brands may be harmed, our ability to attract new diners to the Platforms may be limited and the number of diners placing orders through the Platforms may decline, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Likewise, if restaurants face challenges or difficulties set forth elsewhere in these risk factors, the number of restaurants on the Platforms could decline, the price of food could increase or customer service levels could suffer, all of which could harm our business and results of operations.

Seasonality and the impact of inclement weather adversely affect our operations and profitability.

We observe that diner behavior patterns and demand for the services we provide generally fluctuate during the year on both of our Platforms. For example, order frequency tends to increase from September to March and we generally experience a relative decrease in diner activity from April to August, primarily as a result of weather patterns, summer breaks and other vacation periods. In addition, orders in cities or towns with college campuses tend to fluctuate with the start and end of the school year, which can comprise a large part of our overall revenue in certain locations. Our revenues fluctuate according to these patterns and due to the

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timing of certain holidays within each quarter and result in quarterly fluctuations. As a result, diner activity and demand for our services is generally stronger in our first and fourth fiscal quarters as compared to our second and third fiscal quarters. In addition, other seasonality trends may develop and the existing seasonality and diner behavior that we experience may change or become more extreme, including as a result of factors outside of our control.

We sometimes experience large influxes of orders during inclement weather when consumers do not wish to leave their homes to eat restaurant food. Such inclement weather events are unpredictable in many cases. In such events, the availability of drivers could be limited due to unsafe driving conditions or the refusal or unwillingness of drivers to work during such weather events. This can result in substantially delayed delivery times and diner frustration with our services, reducing the willingness of consumers to order using the Platforms in the future. We have in the past experienced increased order volume during certain holidays, while facing a simultaneous shortage in drivers, which can also result in substantial delivery delays and diner frustration. In addition, the likelihood of accidents may increase during inclement weather events, thereby increasing the costs to us of each delivery, exposing us to potential litigation or accident claims and reducing overall driver efficiency. Any of these events could substantially impact our revenue and results of operations and our ability to grow and operate our business.

We may be unable to continue to grow at historical growth rates or achieve profitability in the future.

Our revenue has grown substantially year over year, and this growth rate may not be sustainable. We believe that our growth rates of Active Diners and Gross Food Sales will decline over time as the market for our services matures. Historically, our diner growth has been a primary driver of growth in our revenue. We expect that diner growth, the addition of new restaurants to the Platforms and our revenue growth rates will decline as the size of our Active Diner base increases and as we achieve higher market penetration rates. As our growth rates decline, investors’ perceptions of our business may be adversely affected and the market price of our common stock could decline. We may not realize sufficient revenue to achieve profitability and may incur losses in the future for several reasons, including insufficient growth in new menu items, declining numbers of Active Diners or orders, increasing competition, costs to scale our business and technology and other risks described elsewhere in this Form 10-K.

Our inability to manage growth and meet demand could harm our operations and brands.

Occasions have arisen in the past in which we were not able to adequately meet surges in orders and consumer demand. We may be required to make substantial investments in the future in technology, customer service, sales and marketing infrastructure in order to adequately handle growth, surges in orders and consumer demands. As we continue to grow, we must be able to effectively integrate, develop and motivate a large number of new employees, while maintaining the beneficial aspects of our company culture. We may not be able to manage growth effectively. If we do not manage the growth of our business and operations effectively, the quality of the Platforms and efficiency of our operations could suffer, which could harm our brands, business and results of operations.

We prioritize the experience of restaurants and diners over short-term profitability at times, which may cause us to forego short-term opportunities and could impact our profitability.

Our culture prioritizes its long-term diner and restaurant experience and loyalty over short-term financial condition and results of operations at times. We frequently make decisions that may reduce our short-term revenue and profitability if we believe that the decisions benefit the aggregate diner and restaurant experience and will thereby improve our financial performance over the long term. For example, we monitor how restaurant responsiveness to orders affects diners’ experiences to ensure long delivery times are not perceived as a problem for hungry diners, and we may decide to remove certain restaurant offerings from the Platforms to ensure our diners’ satisfaction in the overall delivery experience. In addition, we may make changes to the Platforms or offerings on the Platforms based on feedback provided by diners and restaurants. These decisions may not produce the long-term benefits that we expect, in which case our growth and engagement, our relationships with diners and restaurants, and our business could be materially adversely affected.

If use of the Internet via websites, mobile devices and other platforms, particularly with respect to online food ordering, does not continue to increase as rapidly as we anticipate, our business and growth prospects will be harmed.

Our business and growth prospects substantially depend upon the continued and increasing use of the Internet and mobile telecommunications as an effective medium of transactions by diners. Orders on the Platforms are conducted using the Internet and/or mobile networks. Historical rates of growth and adoption in Internet and mobile wireless communications may not predict future rates of growth or adoption. Diners or restaurants may not continue to use the Internet or mobile networking services to order their food at current or increased growth rates or at all. Consumers in our industry (and in others) may reject the use of the Internet and mobile applications as a viable platform or resource for a number of reasons in the future, including:

 

actual or perceived lack of security of information or privacy protection;

 

possible disruptions, computer viruses or other damage to Internet servers, users’ computers or mobile applications;

 

excessive governmental regulation; and

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unacceptable delays due to actual or perceived limitations of wireless networks.

Our operations depend on mobile operating systems, hardware, networks and standards that we do not control. Changes in our products or to those operating systems, hardware, networks or standards may seriously harm our Active Diner growth, retention, and engagement.

A large percentage of our revenues and growth occur on mobile devices using the Waitr App and the Bite Squad App, or collectively, the “Apps.” Because the Apps are used primarily on mobile devices, the Apps must remain interoperable with popular mobile operating systems, Android and iOS, and related hardware, including but not limited to mobile devices. We have no control over these operating systems or hardware, and any changes to these systems or hardware that degrade the functionality of our products, or give preferential treatment to competitive products, could seriously harm the usage of the Apps on mobile devices. Our competitors could attempt to make arrangements with Apple or Google to make interoperability of our products with those mobile operating systems more difficult or display their competitive offerings more prominently than ours. Similarly, our competitors could enter into other arrangements with mobile device manufacturers, wireless network carriers or Internet service providers that diminish the functionality of the Apps. We plan to continue to introduce new products regularly and have experienced that it takes time to optimize such products to function with these operating systems and hardware, impacting the popularity of such products, and we expect this trend to continue.

The nature of our business and content on the Platforms exposes us to potential liability and expenses for legal claims that could materially affect our results of operations and business.

We face potential liability, expenses for legal claims and harm to our business relating to the nature of the delivery and takeout food business, including potential claims related to food offerings, delivery and quality. For example, third parties have in the past and could in the future assert legal claims against us in connection with personal injuries related to food poisoning or tampering or accidents caused by the delivery drivers in our network. Alternatively, we could be subject to legal claims relating to the sale of alcoholic beverages by restaurants on our Platforms to underage diners.

Reports of food-borne illnesses, whether true or not, could adversely impact the results of our operations regardless of whether our diners actually suffer such illnesses from orders on the Platforms. Food-borne illnesses and other food safety issues have occurred in the food industry in the past and could occur in the future. In addition, consumer preferences could be affected by health concerns about the consumption of foods provided on the Platforms, even if those concerns do not directly relate to food items available on the Platforms. A negative report or negative publicity, whether related to a restaurant on one of our Platforms or to a competitor in the industry, may have an adverse impact on demand for the restaurants’ food and could result in decreased diner orders on the Platforms. A decrease in orders or Active Diners as a result of these health concerns or negative publicity could materially harm our brands, business, financial condition and results of operations.

Furthermore, our reliance on third-party food suppliers and distributors increases the risk that food-borne illness incidents could be caused by factors outside of our control and that multiple markets for our services would be affected rather than a single market. We cannot assure that all food items will be properly maintained during delivery to diners or that our drivers will identify food that is problematic upon pickup. If diners become ill from food-borne illnesses, we and/or restaurants on our Platforms could be forced to temporarily suspend service. Furthermore, any instances of food contamination, whether or not they are related to us, could subject us or restaurants to regulation by applicable governmental authorities.

We face the prospect of liabilities and expenses relating to the content and other information that we publish on the Platforms, third party sites and/or relating to our marketing efforts. We could face claims based on the violation of intellectual property rights, such as copyright infringement claims based on the unauthorized use of menu content or other items. Although we typically obtain a restaurant’s consent to publish their menu items prior to posting them on the Platforms, we may not always be successful in obtaining such consent. We could incur significant costs investigating and defending such claims and, if we are found liable, significant damages. If any of these events occur, our business and financial results could be adversely affected.

While historically most of our drivers have been employees, we are now transitioning completely to independent contractor drivers. Almost all of our orders are delivered by drivers of motor vehicles. Some of our drivers have been involved in motor vehicle accidents, and it is almost certain that some of our drivers will be in motor vehicle accidents in the future. Although we maintain insurance policies in an attempt to cover the risks associated with a motor vehicle delivery business, we may be unable to maintain sufficient coverage of all claims relating to such injuries or accidents that foreseeably arise in this line of business. Furthermore, we have in the past and could in the future receive denial of coverage for particular insurance claims relating to injuries, accidents or violations.

We have incurred and expect to continue to incur expenses relating to legal claims. The frequency of such claims is unpredictable. We have experienced diversion of attention by management to address these claims, and such claims can result in significant costs to investigate and defend, regardless of the merits of such claims. The potentially significant number and dollar amount of claims could materially affect our results of operations and harm our business.

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Our business is dependent on our ability to maintain and scale our technical infrastructure, and any significant disruption in our service could damage our reputation, result in a potential loss of diners and engagement, or adversely affect our financial results.

Our reputation and ability to attract, retain, and serve our diners, drivers and restaurants depends upon the reliable performance of the Platforms and their underlying technical infrastructure. We have experienced service disruptions, and may experience future disruptions, outages or other performance problems due to a variety of factors. As the Platforms grow more complex, store more information and service higher numbers of diners, their technical infrastructure could suffer. We may not be able to identify causes of performance issues or service disruptions.

Our systems may not be adequately designed with the necessary reliability and redundancy to avoid performance delays or outages that could be harmful to our business. If the Platforms are unavailable when diners, drivers or restaurants attempt to access them, or if they do not load as quickly as they expect, these key users may not return to the Platforms as often in the future, or at all. As our Active Diners and restaurants and the amount and types of information shared on the Platforms continue to grow, we will need an increasing amount of technical infrastructure, including network capacity, and computing power, to continue to satisfy the needs of our diners, drivers and restaurants. It is possible that we may fail to effectively scale and grow our technical infrastructure to accommodate these increased demands. In addition, our business is subject to interruptions, delays, or failures resulting from natural disasters, terrorism, or other catastrophic events.

A substantial portion of our network infrastructure is provided by third parties. Substantially all of the communications, network and computer hardware used to operate our websites and mobile applications are located in the United States in Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform data centers. We do not own or control the operation of these facilities. In addition, we may not have sufficient protection or recovery plans in certain circumstances. We may not always maintain redundancy for certain hardware. Any disruption or failure in the services we receive from these providers could harm our ability to handle existing or increased traffic and could significantly harm our business. Any financial or other difficulties these providers face may adversely affect our business, and we exercise little control over these providers, which increases our vulnerability to problems with the services they provide.

We expect to continue to make significant investments to maintain and improve the availability of the Platforms and to enable rapid releases of new features and products. To the extent that we do not effectively address capacity constraints, respond adequately to service disruptions, upgrade our systems as needed or continually develop our technology and network architecture to accommodate actual and anticipated changes in technology, our business and results of operations would be harmed.

We have spent and expect to continue to spend substantial amounts on technology infrastructure and services to handle the traffic on our websites and mobile applications and to help shorten the length of or prevent system interruptions. The operation of these systems is expensive and complex, and we could experience operational failures.

Although we carry business interruption insurance, it may not be sufficient to compensate us for the potentially significant losses, including the potential harm to the future growth of our business that may result from interruptions in our service as a result of system failures.

Personal data, internet security breaches or loss of data provided by diners, drivers or restaurants on our Platforms could violate applicable law and contracts with key service providers and could result in liability to us, damage to our reputation and brands and harm to our business.

Mobile malware, viruses, hacking, and phishing attacks have become more prevalent in our industry and may occur on our systems in the future. Although it is difficult to determine what, if any, harm may directly result from an interruption or attack, any failure to maintain performance, reliability, security, and availability of our products and technical infrastructure to the satisfaction of restaurants, drivers or diners may seriously harm our reputation and our ability to retain and attract new Active Diners, drivers and restaurants.

We rely on third-party billing and payment processing providers, many of whom may collect and store sensitive data, including legally-protected personal information. Examples include third parties who process diner orders, payroll and other payments, and service providers who collect and store diner, restaurant or employee information. We may also process and store and use additional third-parties to process and store sensitive intellectual property and other proprietary business information, including that of the restaurants on our Platforms. While we intend to maintain data privacy and security measures that are compliant with applicable privacy laws and regulations, future security breaches could subject us and/or these third-party service providers to liability for violations of various laws, rules or regulations, civil liability, government-imposed fines, orders requiring that we or these third parties change our or their practices, or criminal charges, which could adversely affect our business. Complying with these various laws could cause us to incur substantial costs or require us to change our business practices, systems and compliance procedures in a manner adverse to our business.

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We may become a payment processor at some point in the future and may be unable to comply with applicable law or standards, resulting in harm to our business.

Although we currently do not directly store or process payments on behalf of restaurants or diners and use third parties to do so, we may choose to do so in the future. We would need to comply with Payment Card Industry (“PCI”) and Data Security Standard (the “Standard”) if we choose to pursue this possibility. The Standard is a comprehensive set of requirements for enhancing payment account data security that was developed by the PCI Security Standards Council to help facilitate the broad adoption of consistent data security measures. Payment card network rules would require us to comply with the Standard, and our failure to do so may result in fines or restrictions on our ability to accept payment cards if we elected to become a payment processor.

Under certain circumstances specified in the payment card network rules, we could be required in the future to submit to periodic audits, self-assessments or other assessments of our compliance with the Standard. Such activities may reveal that we had failed to comply with the Standard. If an audit, self-assessment or other test determines that we need to take steps to remediate any deficiencies, such remediation efforts may distract our management team and require us to undertake costly and time-consuming remediation efforts. In addition, even if we comply with the Standard, there is no assurance that we will be protected from a security breach. Payment processing businesses involve complex financial, cybersecurity and other factors that may be difficult to us. We cannot ensure that the cost savings or additional revenue from becoming a payment processor would exceed the significant costs associated with that decision. While we are currently PCI compliant on both Platforms, there can be no assurance that we will remain compliant.

We are subject to a number of risks related to the credit card and debit card payments we accept.

We accept payments through credit and debit card transactions. For credit and debit card payments, we pay interchange and other fees, which may increase over time. An increase in those fees may require us to increase the prices we charge and would increase our operating expenses, either of which could harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We currently rely exclusively on one third-party vendor to provide payment processing services, including the processing of payments from credit cards and debit cards, and our business would be disrupted if this vendor becomes unwilling or unable to provide these services to us and we are unable to find a suitable replacement on a timely basis. If we or our processing vendor fails to maintain adequate systems for the authorization and processing of credit card transactions, it could cause one or more of the major credit card companies to disallow our continued use of their payment products. In addition, if these systems fail to work properly and, as a result, we do not charge our customers’ credit cards on a timely basis or at all, our business, revenue, results of operations and financial condition could be harmed.

The payment methods that we offer also subject us to potential fraud and theft by criminals, who are becoming increasingly more sophisticated, seeking to obtain unauthorized access to or exploit weaknesses that may exist in the payment systems. If we fail to comply with applicable rules or requirements for the payment methods we or the restaurants accept, or if payment-related data are compromised due to a breach of data, we may be liable for significant costs incurred by payment card issuing banks and other third parties or subject to fines and higher transaction fees, or our ability to accept or facilitate certain types of payments may be impaired. In addition, our customers could lose confidence in certain payment types, which may result in a shift to other payment types or potential changes to our payment systems that may result in higher costs. If we fail to adequately control fraudulent credit card transactions, we may face civil liability, diminished public perception of our security measures, and significantly higher credit card-related costs, each of which could harm our business, results of operations and financial condition.

We are also subject to payment card association operating rules, certification requirements and rules governing electronic funds transfers, which could change or be reinterpreted to make it more difficult for us to comply. We are required to comply with payment card industry security standards. Failing to comply with those standards may violate payment card association operating rules, federal and state laws and regulations, and the terms of our contracts with payment processors. Any failure to comply fully also may subject us to fines, penalties, damages and civil liability, and may result in the loss of our ability to accept credit and debit card payments. Further, there is no guarantee that such compliance will prevent illegal or improper use of our payment systems or the theft, loss or misuse of data pertaining to credit and debit cards, card holders and transactions.

If we fail to maintain our chargeback rate or refund rates at acceptable levels, our processing vendor may increase its transaction fees or terminate its relationship with us. Any increases in applicable credit and debit card fees could harm our results of operations, particularly if we elect not to raise our rates for our service to offset the increase. The termination of our ability to process payments on any major credit or debit card would significantly impair our ability to operate our business.

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We rely on third-party vendors to provide products and services, and we could be adversely impacted if they fail to fulfill their obligations.

We depend on third-party vendors and partners to provide us with certain products and services, including components of our computer systems, software, data centers, payment processors and telecommunications networks, to conduct our business. For example, we rely on third parties for services such as organizing and accumulating certain daily transaction data on orders. We also rely on third parties for specific software and hardware used in providing our products and services. Some of these organizations and service providers may provide similar services and technology to our competitors, and we do not have long-term or exclusive contracts with them.

Our systems and operations or those of our third-party vendors and partners could be exposed to damage or interruption from, among other things, fire, natural disaster, power loss, telecommunications failure, unauthorized entry, computer viruses, denial-of-service attacks, acts of terrorism, human error, vandalism or sabotage, financial insolvency, bankruptcy and similar events. In addition, we may be unable to renew our existing contracts with our most significant vendors and partners or our vendors and partners may stop providing or otherwise supporting the products and services we obtain from them, and we may not be able to obtain these or similar products or services on the same or similar terms as our existing arrangements, if at all. The failure of our vendors and partners to perform their obligations and provide the products and services we obtain from them in a timely manner for any reason could adversely affect our operations and profitability.

Our industry is highly competitive and fragmented, and our business and results of operations may suffer if we are unable to adequately address downward pricing and other competitive pressures.

We compete with many traditional and online and mobile app food ordering and general delivery companies of varying sizes, including some that may have greater access to restaurants, a wider range of services, a wider range of menu or delivery items, greater capital resources, or other competitive advantages. Traditional food ordering techniques involve advertising by restaurants in low cost paper publications, through traditional online and offline media channels, with consumers simply calling restaurants or delivery services to place orders. Traditional takeout or delivery services are often lower cost than the Platforms and are difficult to disrupt. We also compete with smaller, regional and local companies that cover specific locations with specific restaurants or that offer niche services. We also compete, to a lesser extent, with restaurants that hire their own delivery drivers for online, mobile application or telephone orders. Numerous competitive factors could impair our ability to maintain or improve our profitability. These factors include the following:

 

Many of our competitors’ periodically reduce or eliminate their delivery charges to consumers or commissions that they charge to restaurants to gain business, especially during times of increased competition or reduced growth in the economy, which may limit our ability to maintain or increase our order commissions and delivery charges, may require us to reduce our order commissions and delivery charges or may limit our ability to maintain or expand our business;

 

Some restaurants have reduced or may reduce the number of mobile app or online ordering and delivery services and technologies that they use by selecting a single core company or a limited number of providers as approved service providers, and in some instances, we may not be selected;

 

Restaurants could solicit bids from multiple service providers for their mobile application or online food ordering and delivery needs, which may depress onboarding fees, service fees, take rates or result in a loss of business to competitors;

 

The continuing trend toward consolidation in the online and mobile app ordering and delivery industry may result in larger companies with greater financial resources and other competitive advantages, and we may have difficulty competing with them;

 

Advances in technology may require us to increase investments in order to remain competitive, and our restaurant diners and consumers may not be willing to accept higher onboarding fees, service fees, take rates or delivery charges to cover the cost of these investments;

 

Higher fuel prices and, in turn, higher fuel surcharges to our drivers may cause some of our drivers to demand higher independent contractor driver rates;

 

Competition from “gig economy” companies in general may negatively impact our driver, restaurant customer and/or consumer relationships and service rates;

 

We may have higher exposure to litigation risks as compared to other providers of delivery services; and

 

Restaurants could develop their own online or mobile app food ordering and delivery technology and hire their own drivers to make their own deliveries, which could reduce demand for our services to restaurants and limit choices for consumers, reducing the number and frequency of orders using our technology.

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We may not be able to successfully compete in technology innovation and distribution. If we are unable to continue to innovate and provide technology desirable to diners and restaurants, our business operations could materially suffer.

We face significant competition in almost every aspect of our business. We must continuously innovate to improve our existing Platform technology and ensure that our products and services are well received. Mobile applications, internet enabled technology and online e-commerce are constantly changing. We face competition from larger and more established companies such as Uber, GrubHub, Door Dash and others. Smaller companies also provide similar services and technology. Furthermore, larger companies such as Facebook, Google, Apple and others could choose to offer similar services or technology at comparatively little additional costs to themselves. Our competitors may also develop products, features, or services that are similar to ours or that achieve greater market acceptance. These products, features, and services may undertake more far-reaching and successful product development efforts or marketing campaigns or may adopt more aggressive pricing policies.

Our ability to compete effectively in the deployment of innovative products depends on factors outside of our control, including the following:

 

usefulness, ease of use, performance and reliability of our products compared to those of our competitors;

 

size and composition of base of Active Diners;

 

engagement of Active Diners with the Platforms;

 

the timing and market acceptance of products, including developments and enhancements to the Platforms or our competitors’ products;

 

customer service and support efforts;

 

acquisitions or consolidation within our industry, which may result in more formidable competitors; and

 

our ability to attract, retain, and motivate talented employees, particularly software engineers.

Developing the Platforms, which include the Apps, websites and other technologies, entails significant technical and business risks. We may use new technologies ineffectively, or we may fail to adapt to emerging industry standards. If we face material delays in introducing new or enhanced products or if our recently introduced products do not perform in accordance with our expectations, the restaurants and diners in our network may forego the use of our products in favor of those of our competitors.

Our exploration and pursuit of strategic alternatives has concluded, and there can be no assurance that an alternative transaction will be identified or consummated.

On August 8, 2019, we announced the commencement of a review to explore and evaluate potential strategic alternatives to enhance shareholder value. These alternatives could have included, among others, continuing to execute our business plan, including an increased focus on certain standalone strategic initiatives, the disposition of certain assets, a strategic business combination, a transaction that results in private ownership or a sale of the Company, or some combination of these. In early November 2019, our board of directors (the “Board”) completed the strategic alternative review process and concluded that we should continue to focus on executing our business plan as an independent public company while remaining open to the possibility of alternatives. However, there can be no assurance that the continued execution of our business plan will enhance shareholder value or that alternative transactions will be identified or consummated or that any such transaction or other outcome will result in enhanced shareholder value.

As part of our business strategy, we have made acquisitions to grow our business. Failure to pursue and successfully make additional acquisitions could negatively impact our future growth.

Throughout 2019, our revenue, order growth and cash flow were negatively impacted by changes in market conditions in the online food ordering and delivery industry resulting from increased competition from other national delivery service providers. As a result, and in light of the capital-intensive nature of new market launch activities, we intend to concentrate our near-term efforts on existing market penetration and adjacent market expansion, which may impact our growth. Additionally, the continuing trend toward consolidation in the online and mobile app ordering and delivery industry may result in larger companies with greater financial resources and other competitive advantages than Waitr’s and could affect our ability to successfully make additional acquisitions, which may impact our growth rates and ability to maintain profitability.

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The terms of the agreements governing our debt contain operating and financial covenants that may restrict our business and financing activities. Our failure to comply with these covenants could result in the acceleration of our outstanding indebtedness.

We are party to a Credit Agreement and Convertible Notes Agreement (see Part II, Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations of this Form 10-K). These agreements include a number of customary covenants that, among other things, limit or restrict the ability of the Company and its subsidiaries to incur additional debt, incur liens on assets, engage in mergers or consolidations, dispose of assets, pay dividends or repurchase capital stock and repay certain junior indebtedness. The aforementioned restrictions are subject to certain exceptions including the ability to incur additional indebtedness, liens, dividends, and prepayments of junior indebtedness subject, in each case, to compliance with certain financial metrics and/or certain other conditions and a number of other traditional exceptions that grant Waitr Inc. continued flexibility to operate and develop its business. In certain cases, these covenants may impose limitations or restrictions on the manner in which we conduct our business and could place us at a competitive disadvantage to competitors. Included in these covenants is an affirmative covenant relating to the deliverance of audited annual financial statements to the administrative agent and lenders, accompanied by a report from an independent public accounting firm, which report shall be unqualified as to going concern and scope of audit.

Our ability to comply with these covenants and other restrictions may be affected by events beyond our control, and we may not be able to meet these covenants. From time to time, we may be required to seek waivers or amendments to the Credit Agreement and Convertible Notes Agreement to maintain compliance with these covenants, and there can be no certainty that any such waiver or amendment will be available. Non-compliance with one or more of these covenants could result in any amounts outstanding under the Credit Agreement and Convertible Notes Agreement becoming immediately due and payable. Additionally, upon the occurrence and during the continuance of an event of default, both the Credit Agreement and Convertible Notes Agreement provide for default interest at a rate that is 2% and 5% higher, respectively, than the interest rates otherwise payable under the agreements. If we are unable to generate sufficient cash available to repay our debt obligations when they become due and payable, either when they mature or in the event of a default, we may need to engage in debt or equity financings to secure additional funds. However, additional funds may not be available when we need them, on terms that are acceptable to us, or at all.

Recent adverse changes in market conditions from increased competition have negatively affected the Company’s order and revenue growth, which in turn has had a negative impact on our liquidity level. We are actively implementing several initiatives to increase revenue, reduce costs and improve cash flow and liquidity. We currently expect that our cash on hand and estimated cash flows from operating activities will be sufficient to meet our working capital needs beyond twelve months, however, there can be no assurance that we will generate cash flow at the levels we anticipate.

Additional impairments of the carrying amounts of goodwill or other indefinite-lived assets could negatively affect our financial condition and results of operations.

We conduct our goodwill and intangible asset impairment test annually in October, or more frequently if indicators of impairment exist, and we review the recoverability of long-lived assets, including acquired technology, capitalized software costs, and property and equipment when events or changes in circumstances occur that indicate that the carrying value of the asset may not be recoverable. For purposes of testing for goodwill impairment, we have one reporting unit. As a result of recent, adverse changes in market conditions from increased competition having negatively affected our order and revenue growth, thereby contributing to a sustained decline in the Company’s market capitalization, we conducted the impairment test as of September 30, 2019. The impairment test was conducted in accordance with Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) 360, Impairment and Disposal of Long-Lived Assets for certain long-lived assets including capitalized contract costs, developed technology, customer relationships, and trade names, and in accordance with ASC 350, Intangibles – Goodwill and Other for the reporting unit’s goodwill. As a result of the ASC 360 and ASC 350 analyses, we recognized a total non-cash pre-tax impairment loss of $191.2 million during the year ended December 31, 2019 to write down the carrying values of goodwill and intangible assets, including capitalized contract costs, customer relationships and developed technology, to their implied fair values. See Part II, Item 8, Note 7 – Intangible Assets and Goodwill of this Form 10-K for additional details.

Determining the fair value of a reporting unit and intangible assets requires the use of estimates and significant judgments that are based on a number of factors including actual operating results. It is reasonably possible that the judgments and estimates used could change in future periods. There can be no assurance that additional goodwill or intangible assets will not be impaired and that the carrying value of other indefinite-lived assets will be recoverable in future periods, which could adversely affect our financial results and stockholders’ equity.

Our ability to utilize our net operating loss carryforwards may be delayed or limited.

As of December 31, 2019, we estimate that we had federal and state net operating loss, or NOL, carryforwards of approximately $138.0 million and $106.4 million, respectively. We may use these NOL carryforwards to offset against future taxable income for U.S. federal and state income tax purposes. However, Section 382 of the Code provides an annual limitation with respect to the ability of a corporation to utilize its NOL carryforwards against future U.S. taxable income in the event of an “ownership change,” as defined in Section 382 of the Code.

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The Landcadia Business Combination resulted in an ownership change, and we estimate that a majority of our existing NOL carryforwards are subject to the annual limitation under Section 382 of the Code. We have not assessed whether an ownership change has occurred since the Landcadia Business Combination. Issuances or sales of our common stock since the Landcadia Business Combination, including by our large stockholders or certain other transactions involving our stock that are outside of our control, could cause an additional ownership change under Section 382 of the Code, and impose additional limitations on our ability to utilize our NOL carryforwards. Any current or future limitation on the use of NOL carryforwards could, depending on the extent of such limitation, result in our retaining less cash after payment of U.S. federal and state income taxes during any year in which we have taxable income than we would be entitled to retain if such limitation did not apply, which could adversely impact our operating results or liquidity.

Unanticipated changes in effective tax rates or adverse outcomes resulting from examination of our income or other tax returns could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

We are subject to income taxes in the United States, and our domestic tax liabilities are subject to the allocation of expenses in differing jurisdictions. Our effective tax rates could be subject to volatility or adversely affected by a number of factors, including:

 

 

changes in the valuation of our deferred tax assets and liabilities;

 

expected timing and amount of the release of any tax valuation allowances;

 

tax effects of stock-based compensation;

 

costs related to intercompany restructurings;

 

changes in tax laws, regulations or interpretations thereof; and

 

lower than anticipated future earnings in jurisdictions where we have lower statutory tax rates and higher than anticipated future earnings in jurisdictions where we have higher statutory tax rates.

In addition, we may be subject to audits of our income, sales and other transaction taxes by U.S. federal and state authorities. Outcomes from these audits could have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

We depend on search engines, display advertising, social media, email, content-based online advertising and other online sources to attract diners to the Platforms, and if we are unable to attract diners and convert them into Active Diners making orders in a cost-effective manner, our business and financial results may be harmed.

Our success depends on our ability to attract online diners to the Platforms and convert them into orders in a cost-effective manner. We depend, in part, on search engines, display advertising, social media, email, content-based online advertising and other online sources to generate traffic to our websites and downloads of the Apps. We are included in search results as a result of both paid search listings, where we purchase specific search terms that result in the inclusion of our advertisement, and, separately, organic searches that depend upon the content on websites owned and maintained by us.

Search engines, social media platforms and other online sources often revise their algorithms and introduce new advertising products. If one or more of the search engines or other online sources on which we rely for website traffic were to modify its general methodology for how it displays our advertisements, resulting in fewer consumers clicking through to our websites, our business could suffer. In addition, if our online display advertisements are no longer effective or are not able to reach certain diners due to diners’ use of ad-blocking software, our business could suffer.

If one or more of the search engines or other online sources on which we rely for purchased listings modifies or terminates its relationship with us, our expenses could rise, we could lose consumers and traffic to our websites could decrease, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

The loss of senior management or key operating personnel could adversely affect our operations. We depend on skilled personnel to grow and operate our business, and our failure to hire, retain or attract key personnel could adversely affect our business.

We depend on our executive officers, senior management team and other key operating and technology personnel. We have experienced significant turnover in our senior management over the last year and may not be able to continue to recruit and/or retain the services of executive officers, senior management or other key personnel we need to maintain our competitive position. If for any reason the services of our key personnel were to become unavailable, there could be a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and prospects. We also anticipate growth in diners and restaurants due to having the benefit of a relationship with our directors Tilman J. Fertitta and Steven L. Scheinthal and Fertitta Entertainment, Inc., Landry’s and other entities or businesses associated with Messrs. Fertitta or Scheinthal. Although we anticipate a great deal of support and

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benefit from relationships with these individuals or entities, our results of operations could suffer if contractual relationships fail to materialize from these associations, such relationships are terminated or we lose either individual as a director.

We expect to face significant competition from other companies in hiring such personnel, particularly in larger markets to which we may expand. If we do not succeed in attracting, hiring, and integrating excellent personnel, or retaining and motivating existing personnel, we may be unable to grow effectively.

We plan to continue to base a substantial amount of our operations in Lafayette, Louisiana. It could become difficult to continue to attract or retain to this location key engineering, sales and other talent required to compete with larger competitors whose operations are based in larger cities, where such talent historically may be easier to find. In addition, demographic trends favoring population growth in larger cities and away from smaller cities may make this increasingly difficult. Retaining and attracting key talent is extremely competitive in the high technology industry, particularly in the areas of mobile applications and Internet technology. If we are unable to retain or attract key talent or personnel, our operations could suffer, thereby materially adversely affecting our business.

Major hurricanes, tropical cyclones, and other instances of severe weather and other natural phenomena would cause significant losses.

Our services and operations are subject to interruption, decreases in consumer entertainment spending and damage and destruction to company property as a result of severe local weather conditions or other natural phenomena. Our headquarters are located in areas that have historically been and could, in the future, be materially and adversely affected by damage resulting from a major tropical cyclone, significant rain event, a hurricane, or other severe weather phenomena. In addition, we rely on third parties for critical infrastructure and services. Any of these third parties could be subject to disruptions due to similar major weather events, which could adversely affect our business and financial results.

We may also suffer from weather-related or other events, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, ice storms, floods, fires, widespread computer viruses, terrorist attacks, acts of war and explosions, which may disrupt fuel supplies, increase fuel costs, disrupt freight shipments or routes, affect regional economies, destroy our assets or the assets of our customers or otherwise adversely affect the business or financial condition of our customers (both restaurant and diner), any of which could adversely affect our results or make our results more volatile. In addition, third parties that provide critical technology, services and infrastructure, such as data centers, telecommunications networks and the like remain vulnerable to these types of events, all of which could disrupt critical services for us, adversely affecting our financial results and operations.

Such adverse weather occurrences could materially impact orders on the Platforms and our delivery capabilities, thus severely decreasing our revenue and increasing costs. Further, in the event of any such weather occurrence, our insurance may not be sufficient to cover the costs of repairing or replacing damaged equipment and we may suffer a significant decline in revenues if any of the restaurants on the Platforms are closed for an extended period of time or these events result in significant disruption to telecommunications systems, including the Internet or mobile phone services. Any such events could materially and adversely affect our business and the results of our operations.

Increases in food, labor, fuel and other costs could adversely affect our business.

Changes in food and supply costs are a part of a restaurant’s business. The prices of food, labor, fuel or energy could continue to increase in the near future. Restaurants on our Platforms may be unable to absorb higher costs without raising prices or ceasing operations. Restaurant profitability is dependent on, among other things, a restaurant’s ability to anticipate and react to changes in the costs of key operating resources, including food and other raw materials, labor, energy and other supplies and services. Substantial increases in costs and expenses, including labor costs incurred as a result of increases in applicable minimum wage regulation, could impact operating results of restaurants on our Platforms to the extent that such increases cannot be passed along to diners using the Platforms (or otherwise). The impact of inflation on food, labor, and energy costs can significantly affect our profitability if such inflation results in fewer restaurants, diners or orders that occur on the Platforms.

Any significant increase in energy costs could adversely affect our business through higher rates and the imposition of fuel surcharges, which could affect our drivers’ costs and the amount that we must reimburse such drivers for services. Because most of the restaurants on the Platforms sell moderately priced food, we may choose not to, or be unable to, pass along commodity price increases to diners on the Platforms. Additionally, significant increases in gasoline prices could result in a decrease of deliveries or the available driver labor pool. If delivery time slows as a result, our reputation could be harmed, and the number of diners or orders could decline, harming our business.

The restaurant business is affected by changes in international, national, regional, and local economic conditions, consumer preferences and spending patterns, demographic trends, energy costs, consumer perceptions of food safety, weather, traffic patterns, global health crises (like coronavirus), the type, number and location of competing restaurants, and the effects of war or terrorist

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activities and any governmental responses thereto. Factors such as inflation, higher costs for each of food, labor, benefits and utilities, the availability and cost of suitable sites, fluctuating insurance rates, state and local regulations and licensing requirements, legal claims, and the availability of an adequate number of qualified management and hourly employees also affect restaurant operations and administrative expenses. If restaurants on our Platforms cannot adequately pass costs along to diners or otherwise finance or pay for these higher costs, they may cease operations, reduce offerings on the Platforms or otherwise demand lower commissions or diner fees from us, thereby reducing revenue and harming our business.

Acquisitions could disrupt our business, dilute our stockholders and harm our business and results of operations.

As part of our business strategy, we have made acquisitions to add specialized employees and complementary companies, products, and technologies. Although we do not currently have plans to make any material acquisitions, we may do so in the future. Our ability to acquire and successfully integrate larger or more complex companies, products, and technologies is unproven. In the future, we may not be able to find other suitable acquisition candidates, and we may not be able to complete acquisitions on favorable terms, if at all. Our competitors have large cash reserves and aggressive acquisition strategies, and we may not be able to successfully attract acquisition targets to the same degree as our competitors. Our previous and future acquisitions may not achieve our goals, and any future acquisitions we complete could be viewed negatively by diners, restaurants, drivers or investors. In addition, if we fail to successfully close transactions or integrate new teams, or integrate the products and technologies associated with these acquisitions into our company and culture, our business could be seriously harmed. Any integration process may require significant time and resources, and we may not be able to manage the process successfully. We may not successfully evaluate or use the acquired products, technology, and personnel, or accurately forecast the financial impact of an acquisition transaction, including accounting charges. We may also incur unanticipated liabilities that we assume as a result of acquiring companies. We may have to pay cash, incur debt, or issue equity securities to pay for any acquisition, any of which could seriously harm our business. Selling equity to finance any such acquisitions would also dilute our stockholders. Incurring debt would increase our fixed obligations and could also include covenants or other restrictions that would impede our operations.

Our storage, processing and use of data, some of which contains personal information, subjects us to complex and evolving federal and state laws and regulations regarding privacy, data protection, and other matters. Many of these laws and regulations are subject to change and uncertain interpretation, and could result in investigations, claims, changes to our business practices, increased cost of operations, and declines in user growth, retention, or engagement, any of which could seriously harm our business.

We are subject to a variety of laws and regulations in the United States that involve matters central to our business, including user privacy, sweepstakes, rewards or coupons, rights of publicity, data protection, content, intellectual property, distribution, electronic contracts and other communications, e-commerce, competition, protection of minors, consumer protection, taxation, libel, defamation, internet or data usage, and online-payment services. These laws and regulations constantly evolve and remain subject to significant change. In addition, the application and interpretation of these laws and regulations are often uncertain, particularly in the new and rapidly evolving industry in which we operate. Because we store, process, and use data, some of which contains personal information, we are subject to complex and evolving federal and state laws and regulations regarding privacy, data protection, and other matters. Many of these laws and regulations are subject to change and uncertain interpretation, and could result in investigations, claims, changes to our business practices, increased cost of operations, and declines in diner and restaurant growth, orders, retention, or engagement, any of which could adversely affect our business.

If we cannot protect our intellectual property, the value of our brands and other intangible assets may be diminished, and our business may be adversely affected.

We rely and expect to continue to rely on a combination of confidentiality and license agreements with our employees, consultants, and third parties with whom we have relationships, as well as trademark, copyright, patent, trade secret, and domain name protection laws, to protect our proprietary rights. In the United States and internationally, we have filed various applications for protection of certain aspects of our intellectual property. We do not currently hold any issued patents. In the future, we may acquire patents or patent portfolios, which could require significant cash expenditures. However, third parties may knowingly or unknowingly infringe our proprietary rights, third parties may challenge proprietary rights held by us, and pending and future trademark and patent applications may not be approved. In addition, effective intellectual property protection may not be available in every country in which we operate or intend to operate our business. In any or all of these cases, we may be required to expend significant time and expense in order to prevent infringement or to enforce our rights. Although we have taken measures to protect our proprietary rights, there can be no assurance that others will not offer products or concepts that are substantially similar to ours and compete with our business.

We have registered the trademark “Waitr,” along with its stylized logo, with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Waiter.com, Inc. sued Waitr Incorporated in 2016 in the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana alleging, among other things, trademark infringement based on the use of the name “Waitr.” Although we believe that Waiter.com, Inc.’s lawsuit is baseless, there is a risk that the court could find that our use of the name “Waitr” infringes the rights of Waiter.com, Inc. In such event, the court could award Waiter.com, Inc. significant damages and/or order that we discontinue our use of the name “Waitr.” Any such adverse

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ruling or finding could materially adversely affect our financial results and operations. Having to use a different name could confuse restaurants and/or diners, resulting in fewer orders.

We are currently, and expect to be in the future, party to patent lawsuits and other intellectual property rights claims that are expensive and time consuming, and, if resolved adversely, could have a significant impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Companies in the Internet, technology, and mobile application industries own large numbers of patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets, and frequently enter into litigation based on allegations of infringement, misappropriation, or other violations of intellectual property or other rights. In addition, various “non-practicing entities” that own patents and other intellectual property rights often attempt to aggressively assert their rights in order to extract value from technology companies. Furthermore, from time to time we may introduce new products, including in areas where we currently do not compete, which could increase our exposure to patent and other intellectual property claims from competitors and non-practicing entities.

As a public company, we may receive letters demanding that we cease and desist using certain intellectual property. Some of these may result in litigation against us. Defending patent and other intellectual property litigation costs large amounts of money and time and can impose a significant burden on management and employees. Favorable final outcomes do not occur in all cases. In addition, plaintiffs may seek, and we may become subject to, preliminary or provisional rulings in the course of any such litigation, including potential preliminary injunctions requiring us to cease some or all of our operations. For example, a ruling in the lawsuit filed by Waiter.com, Inc. could require that we stop using the name Waitr. We may decide to settle such lawsuits and disputes on terms that are unfavorable to us. Similarly, if any litigation to which we are a party is resolved adversely, we may be subject to an unfavorable judgment that may not be reversed upon appeal. The terms of such a settlement or judgment may require us to cease some or all of our operations or pay substantial amounts to the other party. In addition, we may have to seek a license to continue practices found to be in violation of a third party’s rights, which may not be available on reasonable terms, or at all, and may significantly increase our operating costs and expenses. As a result, we may also be required to develop alternative non-infringing technology, names or practices or discontinue the practices.

The development of alternative non-infringing technology, names or practices could require significant effort and expense or may not be feasible. Our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected as a result of an unfavorable resolution of the disputes and litigation referred to above.

Our use of open source software could expose us to “copyleft” claims or otherwise subject us to business or legal risk.

We use open source software in our products. Our use of open source software in our products may require us to license innovations that are material to our business and may also expose us to increased litigation risk. If the protection of our proprietary rights is inadequate to prevent unauthorized use or appropriation by third parties, the value of our brands and other intangible assets may be diminished and competitors may be able to more effectively mimic our service and methods of operations. Any of these events could have an adverse effect on our business and financial results.

We may require additional capital to pursue our business objectives and respond to business opportunities, challenges or unforeseen circumstances. Insufficient capital can harm our operating, business and financial results.

We intend to continue to make investments to support our growth and may require additional capital to pursue our business objectives and respond to business opportunities, challenges or unforeseen circumstances, including to increase our marketing expenditures to improve brand awareness, develop new product and service offerings or further improve the Platforms and existing product and service offerings, enhance our operating infrastructure and acquire complementary businesses and technologies. Accordingly, we may need to engage in equity or debt financings to secure additional funds. However, additional funds may not be available when we need them, on terms that are acceptable to us, or at all. Volatility in the credit markets also may have an adverse effect on our ability to obtain debt financing.

If we raise additional funds through further issuances of equity or convertible debt securities, our existing stockholders could suffer significant dilution, and any new equity securities we issue could have rights, preferences and privileges superior to those of holders of our common stock. If we are unable to obtain adequate financing or financing on terms satisfactory to us, when we require it, our ability to continue to pursue our business objectives and to respond to business opportunities, challenges or unforeseen circumstances could be significantly limited, and our business, operating results, financial condition and prospects could be materially adversely affected.

If our employees were to unionize, our operating costs could increase and our ability to compete could be impaired.

None of our employees are currently represented under a collective bargaining agreement; however, we always face the risk that our employees will try to unionize, and if our independent contractors were ever re-classified as employees, the magnitude of this

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risk would increase. Further, Congress or one or more states could approve legislation and/or the National Labor Relations Board could render decisions or implement rule changes that could significantly affect our business and our relationship with employees, including actions that could substantially liberalize the procedures for union organization. In addition, we can offer no assurance that the Department of Labor will not adopt new regulations or interpret existing regulations in a manner that would favor the agenda of unions.

Any attempt to organize by our employees could result in increased legal and other associated costs and divert management attention, and if we entered into a collective bargaining agreement, the terms could negatively affect our costs, efficiency and ability to generate acceptable returns on the affected operations. In particular, the unionization of our employees could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and prospects because:

 

 

Restrictive work rules could hamper our efforts to improve and sustain operating efficiency and could impair our service reputation and limit our ability to provide our services;

 

A strike or work stoppage could negatively impact our profitability and could damage customer and employee relationships; and

 

An election and bargaining process could divert management’s time and attention from our overall objectives and impose significant expenses.

If our independent contractors are deemed by regulators or judicial process to be our employees, then our business and results of operations could be adversely affected.

Tax and other regulatory authorities have in the past asserted that independent contractors in certain types of food delivery and/or driving positions are employees of the company for which they are delivering or driving, rather than independent contractors. Taxing and other regulatory authorities and courts apply a variety of standards in their determination of independent contractor status. If our independent contractor drivers are determined to be our employees, we would incur additional exposure under federal and state tax, workers’ compensation, unemployment benefits, labor, employment, and tort laws, including for prior periods, as well as potential liability for employee benefits and tax withholdings.

The requirements of being a public company, including compliance with the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act and the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, may strain our resources, increase our costs and distract management.

As a public company, we must comply with certain laws, regulations and requirements, certain corporate governance provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, related regulations of the SEC and the requirements of Nasdaq. For example, we have had to:

 

 

institute a more comprehensive compliance function;

 

 

comply with rules promulgated by Nasdaq;

 

 

prepare and distribute periodic public reports in compliance with obligations under the federal securities laws;

 

 

establish new internal policies, such as those relating to insider trading; and

 

 

involve and retain to a greater degree outside counsel and accountants in the above activities.

Complying with statutes, regulations and requirements relating to public companies can occupy a significant amount of time of management and significantly increase our costs and expenses, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. Furthermore, our management may not be able to implement programs and policies to comply with such statutes, regulations and requirements in an effective and timely manner.

 

While we are currently continuing to execute strategic initiatives to realize synergies from the Bite Squad Merger and reduce costs, these initiatives may never be successful, and any failure to achieve projected cost savings may adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

During the second half of 2019 and into 2020, we executed several initiatives to realize synergies from the Bite Squad Merger and reduce costs. These initiatives included various phases of staff reductions and organizational changes, which included consolidation of operations, support and sales and marketing functions and the discontinuance of the operation of certain under-performing and unprofitable assets. These initiatives are ongoing, and we cannot assure you that we will achieve some or all of the expected benefits of these initiatives. Any such failure may adversely affect our ability to fund our working capital requirements, maintain compliance with our debt covenants and achieve profitability. Furthermore, there can be no assurance that we will have access to financing on terms satisfactory to us, or at all, to alleviate any lack of success in achieving the total annual savings expected. 

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Risks Related to Ownership of Our Securities

The market price of our common stock may be volatile and could decline.

The market price of our common stock may fluctuate significantly in response to various factors, some of which are beyond our control. In addition to the factors discussed in this “Risk Factors” section and elsewhere in this Form 10-K, the factors that could affect our stock price are:

 

 

industry or general market conditions;

 

 

 

domestic and international political and economic factors unrelated to our performance;

 

 

actual or anticipated fluctuations in our quarterly operating results;

 

 

changes in or failure to meet publicly disclosed expectations as to our future financial performance;

 

 

changes in securities analysts’ estimates of our financial performance or lack of research and reports by industry analysts;

 

 

action by institutional stockholders or other large stockholders, including sales of large blocks of common stock;

 

 

speculation in the press or investment community;

 

 

changes in investor perception of us and our industry;

 

 

changes in market valuations or earnings of similar companies;

 

 

announcements by us or our competitors of significant products, contracts, acquisitions or strategic partnerships;

 

 

changes in our capital structure, such as future sales of our common stock or other securities;

 

 

changes in applicable laws, rules or regulations, regulatory actions affecting us and other dynamics; and

 

 

additions or departures of key personnel.

In addition, if the benefits of the Landcadia Business Combination and/or Bite Squad Merger do not meet the expectations of investors or securities analysts, the market price of our securities may decline. Prior to the Landcadia Business Combination, trading in our common stock was not active. Accordingly, the valuation ascribed to our common stock in the Landcadia Business Combination may not be indicative of the price that will prevail in the trading market following the business combination. If an active market for our securities develops and continues, the trading price of our securities following the business combination could be volatile and subject to wide fluctuations in response to the various factors, including those listed above.

The stock markets have experienced extreme volatility over time that has been unrelated to the operating performance of particular companies. These broad market fluctuations may adversely affect the trading price of our common stock. In the past, following periods of volatility in the market price of a company’s securities, class action litigation has sometimes been instituted against such company. Any litigation of this type brought against us could result in substantial costs and a diversion of our management’s attention and resources, which would harm our business, operating results and financial condition.

Future sales of a substantial number of shares by existing stockholders could cause our share price to decline.

Sales of substantial amounts of our common stock in the public market, or the perception that these sales could occur, could cause the market price of our common stock to decline. As of March 6, 2020, we had 76,598,143 shares of common stock outstanding. The registration statement registering our securities issued in connection with the Landcadia Business Combination and Bite Squad Merger became effective on February 14, 2019, and all such securities registered thereby, except for shares of common stock subject to transfer restrictions, are eligible to be sold into the public market, subject to compliance with the Company’s insider trading policy for such parties that are covered thereby. Significant sales of our common stock could cause our share price to decline.

In the future, we may issue additional shares of common stock or other equity or fixed maturity securities convertible into common stock in connection with a financing, acquisition, and litigation settlement or employee arrangement or otherwise. Any of these issuances could result in substantial dilution to our existing stockholders and could cause the trading price of our common stock to decline.

If we are unable to maintain compliance with the listing requirements of Nasdaq, our common stock may be delisted from Nasdaq, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and could make it more difficult for you to sell your shares.

Our common stock is listed on Nasdaq, and we are therefore subject to its continued listing requirements, including requirements with respect to, among other things, certain major corporate transactions, the composition of our Board and committees thereof, the minimum bid price of our common stock and minimum stockholders’ equity.

On October 11, 2019, Susan Collyns and Scott Fletcher resigned as directors of the Board. On October 14, 2019, we notified Nasdaq that, as a result of the resignations of Susan Collyns and Scott Fletcher from our Board, we are no longer in compliance with the requirements of Nasdaq Listing Rule 5605 to have (i) a Board comprised of a majority of independent directors, (ii) an Audit Committee

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comprised of at least three members who satisfy certain criteria and (iii) a Compensation Committee comprised of at least two members who satisfy certain criteria. On October 28, 2019, we received two letters from Nasdaq confirming the above non-compliance. We submitted a plan to Nasdaq on December 11, 2019 regarding our steps to regain compliance. The plan was accepted, granting the Company an extension of up to 180 days from October 28, 2019 to regain compliance. We must satisfy the Audit Committee and Compensation Committee requirements by the earlier of (i) our next annual shareholders’ meeting or October 11, 2020 or (ii) if our next annual shareholders’ meeting is held before April 8, 2020, no later than April 8, 2020. While we are working to satisfy the Nasdaq Listing Rules relating to the composition of our Board, Audit Committee and Compensation Committee, including actively searching for qualified candidates to join the Board, such efforts may not be successful.

Additionally, Nasdaq listing requirements include the maintenance of a minimum average closing price of at least $1.00 per share during a consecutive 30 trading-day period. On December 2, 2019, we received written notice from Nasdaq indicating that the minimum bid price of our common stock had closed at less than $1.00 per share over the previous 30 consecutive business days, and as a result, did not comply with Listing Rule 5550(a)(2) (the “Bid Price Rule”). In accordance with Listing Rule 5810(c)(3)(A), we are being provided 180 calendar days, or until June 1, 2020, to regain compliance with the Bid Price Rule. If at any time before June 1, 2020, the bid price of our common stock closes at $1.00 per share or more for a minimum of 10 consecutive business days, Nasdaq will provide us with written confirmation of compliance with the Bid Price Rule and the matter will be closed.

If a suspension or delisting of our common stock were to occur, for any of the reasons above or for any other reason, there would be significantly less liquidity in the suspended or delisted securities. In addition, our ability to raise additional necessary capital through equity or debt financing and attract and retain personnel by means of equity compensation, would be greatly impaired. Furthermore, we would expect decreases in institutional and other investor demand, analyst coverage, market making activity and information available concerning trading prices and volume, and fewer broker-dealers would be willing to execute trades of our common stock. A suspension or delisting would likely decrease the attractiveness of our common stock to investors and cause the trading volume of our common stock to decline, which could result in a further decline in the market price of our common stock.

If securities or industry analysts do not publish research or publish misleading or unfavorable research about our business, our stock price and trading volume could decline.

The trading market for our common stock depends in part on the research and reports that securities or industry analysts publish about us or our business. We are currently covered by one or more securities analysts, but there is no guarantee such coverage will continue. If one or more of the analysts covering our common stock downgrades our common stock or publishes misleading or unfavorable research about our business, our stock price would likely decline. If one or more of these analysts ceases coverage of our company or fails to publish reports on us regularly, demand for our common stock could decrease, which could cause our stock price or trading volume to decline.

Future offerings of debt or equity securities that rank senior to our common stock may adversely affect the market price of our common stock.

If, in the future, we decide to issue debt or equity securities that rank senior to our common stock, it is likely that such securities will be governed by an indenture or other instrument containing covenants restricting our operating flexibility. Additionally, any convertible or exchangeable securities that we issue in the future may have rights, preferences and privileges more favorable than those of our common stock and may result in dilution of the percentage ownership of the holders of our common stock. We and, indirectly, our stockholders, will bear the cost of issuing and servicing such securities. Because our decision to issue debt or equity securities in any future offering will depend on market conditions and other factors beyond our control, we cannot predict or estimate the amount, timing or nature of our future offerings. Thus, holders of our common stock will bear the risk of our future offerings reducing the market price of our common stock and diluting the value of their shareholdings in us.

Fulfilling our obligations incident to being a public company, including with respect to the requirements of and related rules under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, is expensive and time-consuming, and any delays or difficulties in satisfying these obligations could have a material adverse effect on our future results of operations and our stock price.

We are required to file annual, quarterly and other reports with the SEC. We are required to prepare and timely file financial statements that comply with SEC reporting requirements. We are also subject to other reporting and corporate governance requirements under the listing standards of Nasdaq and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which impose significant compliance costs and obligations upon us. Being a public company requires a significant commitment of resources and management oversight which increases our operating costs. These requirements also continue to place significant demands on our finance and accounting staff, which may not have prior public company experience or experience working for a newly public company, and on our financial accounting and information systems. We have hired, and in the future may hire, additional accounting and financial staff with public company reporting experience and technical accounting knowledge. Other expenses associated with being a public company include increases in auditing, accounting and legal fees and expenses, investor relations expenses, increased directors’ fees and director and

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officer liability insurance costs, registrar and transfer agent fees and listing fees, as well as other expenses. As a public company, we are required, among other things, to:

 

prepare and file periodic reports, and distribute other stockholder communications, in compliance with the federal securities laws and Nasdaq listing standards;

 

define and expand the roles and the duties of our Board and its committees;

 

institute more comprehensive compliance, investor relations and internal audit functions; and

 

evaluate and maintain our system of internal control over financial reporting, and report on management’s assessment thereof, in compliance with rules and regulations of the SEC and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.

In particular, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 requires us to document and test the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting in accordance with an established internal control framework, and to report on our conclusions as to the effectiveness of our internal controls. In addition, we are required under the Exchange Act to maintain disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting. Any failure to implement required new or improved controls, or difficulties encountered in their implementation, could harm our operating results or cause us to fail to meet our reporting obligations. If we are unable to conclude that we have effective internal control over financial reporting, investors could lose confidence in the reliability of our financial statements. This could result in a decrease in the value of our common stock. Failure to comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 could potentially subject us to sanctions or investigations by the SEC, Nasdaq, or other regulatory authorities.

Anti-takeover provisions in our third amended and restated certificate of incorporation as currently in effect (the “Charter”) discourage, delay or prevent a change in control of our company and may affect the trading price of our common stock.

Our Charter includes a number of provisions that may discourage, delay or prevent a change in our management or control over us. For example, our Charter includes the following provisions:

 

 

a staggered board providing for three classes of directors, which limits the ability of a stockholder or group to gain control of our Board;

 

the ability of our Board to issue preferred stock, which could contain features that delay or prevent a change of control;

 

no cumulative voting in the election of directors, which limits the ability of minority stockholders to elect director candidates;

 

the right of our Board to elect a director to fill a vacancy created by the expansion of our Board or the resignation, death or removal of a director in certain circumstances, which prevents stockholders from being able to fill vacancies on our Board;

 

a prohibition on stockholder action by written consent, which forces stockholder action to be taken at an annual or special meeting of our stockholders;

 

a prohibition on stockholders calling a special meeting and the requirement that a meeting of stockholders may only be called by members of our Board, which may delay the ability of our stockholders to force consideration of a proposal or to take action, including the removal of directors;

 

the requirement that the removal of directors by the stockholders be approved by the affirmative vote of holders of at least seventy-five percent (75%) of the voting power of all then outstanding shares of capital stock entitled to vote generally in the election of directors, which limits the ability of stockholders to remove directors;

 

the requirement that the adoption, amendment, alteration or repeal of the bylaws by stockholders be approved by the affirmative vote of at least seventy-five percent (75%) of the voting power of all then outstanding shares of capital stock entitled to vote generally in the election of directors and the requirement that the amendment or repeal of certain provisions of our certificate of incorporation be approved by the affirmative vote of at least seventy-five percent (75%) of the outstanding shares entitled to vote thereon, which limit the ability of stockholders to effect corporate governance changes; and

 

advance notice procedures that stockholders must comply with in order to nominate candidates to our Board or to propose matters to be acted upon at a meeting of stockholders, which may discourage or deter a potential acquirer from conducting a solicitation of proxies to elect the acquirer’s own slate of directors or otherwise attempting to obtain control of the Company.

These provisions may prevent our stockholders from receiving the benefit from any premium to the market price of our common stock offered by a bidder in a takeover context. Even in the absence of a takeover attempt, the existence of these provisions may adversely affect the prevailing market price of our common stock if the provisions are viewed as discouraging takeover attempts in the future.

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Our Charter may also make it difficult for stockholders to replace or remove our management. These provisions may facilitate management entrenchment that may delay, deter, render more difficult or prevent a change in our control, which may not be in the best interests of our stockholders.

The Charter designates the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware and federal court within the State of Delaware as the exclusive forum for certain types of actions and proceedings that the Company’s stockholders may initiate, which could limit a stockholder’s ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with the Company or its directors, officers or employees.

Our Charter provides that, subject to limited exceptions, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware and federal court within the State of Delaware will be exclusive forums for any:

 

 

derivative action or proceeding brought on the Company’s behalf;

 

action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any of the Company’s directors, officers or other employees to the Company or its stockholders;

 

action asserting a claim against the Company arising pursuant to any provision of the DGCL, our Charter or our Bylaws; or

 

other action asserting a claim against the Company that is governed by the internal affairs doctrine.

Any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring any interest in shares of the Company’s capital stock shall be deemed to have notice of and to have consented to the provisions of the Company’s Charter described above. These choice of forum provisions may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that it finds favorable for disputes with the Company or its directors, officers or other employees, which may discourage such lawsuits against the Company and its directors, officers and employees. Alternatively, if a court were to find these provisions of the Charter inapplicable to, or unenforceable in respect of, one or more of the specified types of actions or proceedings, the Company may incur additional costs associated with resolving such matters in other jurisdictions, which could adversely affect the Company’s business and financial condition.

The Debt Warrants are exercisable for shares of our common stock and the Notes are convertible into shares of our common stock, which would increase the number of shares eligible for future resale in the public market and result in dilution to our stockholders.

We issued Debt Warrants to Luxor Capital in connection with the Debt Facility. The Debt Warrants are currently exercisable for 399,726 shares of our common stock with an exercise price of $12.51 per share. In addition, the Notes are convertible into up to 4,886,625 shares of common stock. The shares of common stock issued upon exercise of the Debt Warrants and conversion of the Notes will result in dilution to the then existing holders of common stock of the Company and increase the number of shares eligible for resale in the public market. Sales of substantial numbers of such shares in the public market could adversely affect the market price of our common stock. See Part II, Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, for the definitions of Debt Facility, Notes and Luxor Capital and Part II, Item 8, Note 16 – Stockholders’ Equity, for the definition of Debt Warrants.

We are an emerging growth company within the meaning of the Securities Act, and if we take advantage of certain exemptions from disclosure requirements available to emerging growth companies, this could make our securities less attractive to investors and may make it more difficult to compare our performance with other public companies.

We are an “emerging growth company” within the meaning of the Securities Act, as modified by the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012 (the “JOBS Act”), and we may take advantage of certain exemptions from various reporting requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not emerging growth companies including, but not limited to, not being required to comply with the auditor internal controls attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements, and exemptions from the requirements of holding a non-binding advisory vote on executive compensation and stockholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved. As a result, our stockholders may not have access to certain information they may deem important. We could be an emerging growth company for up to five years, although circumstances could cause us to lose that status earlier, including but not limited to, if the market value of our common stock held by non-affiliates exceeds $700 million as of any June 30 before that time, in which case we would no longer be an emerging growth company as of the following December 31. We cannot predict whether investors will find our securities less attractive because we will rely on these exemptions. If some investors find our securities less attractive as a result of our reliance on these exemptions, the trading prices of our securities may be lower than they otherwise would be, there may be a less active trading market for our securities and the trading prices of our securities may be more volatile.

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We may issue shares of preferred stock in the future, which could make it difficult for another company to acquire us or could otherwise adversely affect holders of our common stock, which could depress the price of our common stock.

Our Charter authorizes us to issue one or more series of preferred stock. Our Board has the authority to determine the preferences, limitations and relative rights of the shares of preferred stock and to fix the number of shares constituting any series and the designation of such series, without any further vote or action by our shareholders. Our preferred stock could be issued with voting, liquidation, dividend and other rights superior to the rights of our common stock. The potential issuance of preferred stock may delay or prevent a change in control of us, discourage bids for our common stock at a premium to the market price, and materially and adversely affect the market price and the voting and other rights of the holders of our common stock.

Item 1B.  Unresolved Staff Comments

None.

Item 2.  Properties

Our properties consist of leased facilities for key administrative, operational and technology functions. Our corporate headquarters are located in Lafayette, Louisiana. We consider our current facilities suitable for their purpose and adequate to support our business. Additional information relative to lease obligations is included in Item 7 of Part II of this Form 10-K.

Item 3.  Legal Proceedings

On July 14, 2016, Waiter.com, Inc. filed a lawsuit against Waitr Incorporated, the Company’s wholly-owned subsidiary, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, alleging trademark infringement based on Waitr’s use of the “Waitr” trademark and logo, Civil Action No.: 2:16-CV-01041. Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief and damages relating to Waitr’s use of the “Waitr” name and logo. A trial date has been set for June 22, 2020. Waitr believes that this case lacks merit and that it has strong defenses to all of the infringement claims alleged. Waitr intends to vigorously defend the suit.

In February 2019, the Company was named a defendant in a lawsuit titled Halley, et al vs. Waitr Holdings Inc. filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana on behalf of plaintiff and similarly situated drivers alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), and in March 2019, the Company was named a defendant in a lawsuit titled Montgomery v. Waitr Holdings Inc. filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana on behalf of plaintiff and similarly situated drivers, alleging violations of FLSA and Louisiana Wage Payment Act. Waitr believes that this case lacks merit and that it has strong defenses to the claims and is vigorously defending the suit.

On September 26, 2019, Christopher Meaux, David Pringle, Jeff Yurecko, Tilman J. Fertitta, Richard Handler, Waitr Holdings Inc. f/k/a Landcadia Holdings Inc., Jefferies Financial Group, Inc. and Jefferies, LLC were named as defendants in a lawsuit titled Walter Welch, Individually and on Behalf of all Others Similarly Situated vs. Christopher Meaux, David Pringle, Jeff Yurecko, Tilman J. Fertitta, Richard Handler, Waitr Holdings Inc. f/k/a Landcadia Holdings Inc., Jefferies Financial Group, Inc. and Jefferies, LLC, filed in the Western District of Louisiana, Lake Charles Division, on behalf of plaintiff and all others similarly situated alleging, inter alia, that various defendants made false and misleading statements in securities filings, engaged in fraud, and violated accounting and securities rules. Waitr believes that this case lacks merit and that it has strong defenses to all of the infringement claims alleged. Waitr intends to vigorously defend the suit.

In addition to the lawsuits described above, Waitr is involved in other litigation arising from the normal course of business activities. Waitr is involved in various lawsuits involving claims for personal injuries, physical damage and workers’ compensation benefits suffered as a result of alleged Waitr drivers, independent contractors, and third-party negligence. Although Waitr believes that it maintains insurance that generally covers its liability for damages, if any, insurance coverage is not guaranteed, and Waitr could suffer material losses as a result of these claims or the denial of coverage for such claims.

Item 4.  Mine Safety Disclosures

Not applicable.

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PART II

 

Item 5.  Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

The Company’s common stock began trading on Nasdaq under the symbol “WTRH” on November 16, 2018. As of the close of business on March 6, 2020, there were approximately 451 stockholders of record of the Company’s common stock. The number of holders of record is based upon the actual number of holders registered at such date and does not include holders of shares in “street name” or persons, partnerships, associates, corporations or other entities in security position listings maintained by depositories.

Prior to the Landcadia Business Combination, Landcadia Holdings, Inc. had 25,000,000 public warrants (the “Public Warrants”) which traded on the over-the-counter markets operated by OTC Markets Group. In the first quarter of 2019, the Company commenced an exchange offer and consent solicitation relating to the Public Warrants. A total of 4,494,889 shares, after adjustments for fractional shares (which were settled in cash in the second quarter of 2019), of the Company’s common stock were issued in exchange for such Public Warrants.

Dividends

The Company has not paid any cash dividends on its common stock to date. The payment of cash dividends in the future will be dependent upon the Company’s revenues and earnings, if any, capital requirements and general financial condition. The payment of any cash dividends will be within the discretion of the Board at such time. The Board is not currently contemplating and does not anticipate declaring any stock dividends in the foreseeable future. Further, if the Company incurs any indebtedness, its ability to declare dividends may be limited by restrictive covenants that may be agreed to in connection therewith.

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

Unregistered Sales of Equity Securities

There were no sales of unregistered equity securities during the three months and year ended December 31, 2019.

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

During the three months and year ended December 31, 2019, the Company did not repurchase any of its common stock.

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Item 6.  Selected Financial Data

 

The following table sets forth, as of the dates and for the periods indicated, selected financial data which is derived from the Company’s audited consolidated financial statements for the respective periods (in thousands, except per share amounts). Reported amounts from operations included herein prior to the Landcadia Business Combination are those of Waitr Incorporated. The following table includes the results of operations of Bite Squad from the acquisition date, January 17, 2019, through December 31, 2019.

The following selected financial data is not necessarily indicative of the results of future operations and should be read in conjunction with Part II, Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, and the consolidated financial statements and the related notes thereto included in Part II, Item 8, Financial Statements and Supplementary Data of this Form 10-K to fully understand factors that may affect the comparability of the information presented below. Certain 2017 expenses have been reclassified to conform to current period presentation. See Part II, Item 8, Note 2 – Basis of Presentation and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies, for further details.

 

 

 

Years Ended December 31,

 

$ in thousands, except per share data

 

2019

 

 

2018

 

 

2017

 

 

2016

 

 

2015

 

REVENUE

 

$

191,675

 

 

$

69,273

 

 

$

22,911

 

 

$

5,650

 

 

$

340

 

COSTS AND EXPENSES:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Operations and support

 

 

147,759

 

 

 

51,428

 

 

 

20,970

 

 

 

4,785

 

 

 

186

 

Sales and marketing

 

 

52,370

 

 

 

15,695

 

 

 

5,661

 

 

 

1,359

 

 

 

137

 

Research and development

 

 

7,718

 

 

 

3,913

 

 

 

1,586

 

 

 

395

 

 

 

180

 

General and administrative

 

 

56,862

 

 

 

31,148

 

 

 

9,437

 

 

 

4,161

 

 

 

674

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

 

15,774

 

 

 

1,223

 

 

 

723

 

 

 

267

 

 

 

26

 

Goodwill impairment

 

 

119,212

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intangible and other asset impairments

 

 

73,251

 

 

 

 

 

 

584

 

 

 

5

 

 

 

 

Loss on disposal of assets

 

 

36

 

 

 

9

 

 

 

33

 

 

 

3

 

 

 

 

TOTAL COSTS AND EXPENSES

 

 

472,982

 

 

 

103,416

 

 

 

38,994

 

 

 

10,975

 

 

 

1,203

 

LOSS FROM OPERATIONS

 

 

(281,307

)

 

 

(34,143

)

 

 

(16,083

)

 

 

(5,325

)

 

 

(863

)

OTHER EXPENSES (INCOME) AND LOSSES (GAINS), NET

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interest expense

 

 

9,408

 

 

 

1,822

 

 

 

283

 

 

 

4,468

 

 

 

91

 

Interest income

 

 

(1,037

)

 

 

(406

)

 

 

(2

)

 

 

(1

)

 

 

 

(Gain) loss on derivatives

 

 

 

 

 

(337

)

 

 

52

 

 

 

(484

)

 

 

(144

)

(Gain) loss on debt extinguishment

 

 

 

 

 

(486

)

 

 

10,537

 

 

 

(599

)

 

 

 

Other expenses (income)

 

 

1,547

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

(52

)

 

 

8

 

 

 

5

 

NET LOSS BEFORE INCOME TAXES

 

 

(291,225

)

 

 

(34,738

)

 

 

(26,901

)

 

 

(8,717

)

 

 

(815

)

Income tax expense (benefit)

 

 

81

 

 

 

(427

)

 

 

6

 

 

 

5

 

 

 

 

NET LOSS

 

$

(291,306

)

 

$

(34,311

)

 

$

(26,907

)

 

$

(8,722

)

 

$

(815

)

LOSS PER SHARE:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic and diluted

 

$

(4.00

)

 

$

(2.18

)

 

$

(2.69

)

 

$

(1.02

)

 

$

(0.10

)

CASH FLOW DATA:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net cash used in operating activities

 

$

(73,477

)

 

$

(15,842

)

 

$

(12,411

)

 

$

(4,497

)

 

$

(663

)

Net cash used in investing activities

 

 

(196,576

)

 

 

(3,761

)

 

 

(1,874

)

 

 

(826

)

 

 

(203

)

Net cash provided by financing activities

 

 

90,030

 

 

 

224,996

 

 

 

14,947

 

 

 

8,334

 

 

 

1,115

 

BALANCE SHEET DATA (at end of period):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total cash

 

$

29,317

 

 

$

209,340

 

 

$

3,947

 

 

$

3,285

 

 

N/A

 

Total assets

 

 

178,973

 

 

 

226,552

 

 

 

11,407

 

 

 

7,815

 

 

N/A

 

Total liabilities

 

 

156,065

 

 

 

97,061

 

 

 

12,917

 

 

 

1,432

 

 

N/A

 

Total stockholders' equity (deficit)

 

 

22,908

 

 

 

129,491

 

 

 

(1,510

)

 

 

6,383

 

 

N/A

 

 

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Item 7.  Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

 

The following Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and related notes thereto included elsewhere in this Form 10-K. Dollar amounts in this discussion are expressed in thousands, except as otherwise noted. The following discussion contains forward-looking statements that reflect future plans, estimates, beliefs and expected performance. The forward-looking statements are dependent upon events, risks and uncertainties that may be outside of our control. Our actual results could differ materially from those discussed in these forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, those identified below and those discussed elsewhere in this Form 10-K, particularly in Part I, Item 1A, Risk Factors. Waitr does not undertake any obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements except as otherwise required by applicable law.

Overview

Waitr operates an online food ordering and delivery platform, connecting local restaurants and diners in cities across the United States. Our strategy is to bring delivery and carryout infrastructure to underserved populations of restaurants and diners and establish market leadership positions in the markets in which we operate. On January 17, 2019, we completed the acquisition of Bite Squad, an online food ordering and delivery platform with operations similar to those of Waitr. The consideration for the Bite Squad Merger consisted of $197,255 payable in cash (subject to adjustments), the pay down of $11,880 of indebtedness of Bite Squad and an aggregate of 10,591,968 shares of the Company’s common stock (par value $0.0001), valued at $11.95 per share. Our business has been built with a restaurant-first philosophy by providing differentiated and brand additive services to the restaurants on the Platforms. Our Platforms allow consumers to browse local restaurants and menus, track order and delivery status, and securely store previous orders for ease of use and convenience. Restaurants benefit from the online Platforms through increased exposure to consumers for expanded business in the delivery market and carryout sales.

The acquisition of Bite Squad expanded our scale and footprint across the United States and resulted in significant increases in Average Daily Orders (as defined below) and revenue for the year ended December 31, 2019 as compared to the same period of 2018 and 2017. Average Daily Orders for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017 were approximately 51,156, 21,860 and 9,315, respectively. Our revenues grew to $191,675 in the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to $69,273 in the year ended December 31, 2018 and $22,911 in the year ended December 31, 2017. As of December 31, 2019, we had approximately 18,000 restaurants on the Platforms across approximately 640 cities.

We started 2019 with a focus on strengthening the business through realization of synergies from the Bite Squad Merger and aligning the teams and cost structure of the combined organization into one set of guiding principles. During the second half of 2019 and into 2020, we executed several initiatives to realize these synergies, implementing various phases of staff reductions and organizational changes, which included consolidation of operations, support and sales and marketing functions and successfully integrating five markets in which Waitr and Bite Squad operations overlapped. We initiated modifications to our fee structure in July 2019 with a majority of restaurants on the Waitr Platform, which became effective in August 2019, and in January 2020, with the majority of our remaining restaurants, which became effective throughout February 2020. Further, in December 2019 and January 2020, we closed approximately 60 unprofitable, non-core markets, which accounted for 7% of our 2019 revenue. The combination of these initiatives has reduced the Company’s overall cost structure and resulted in improved revenue per order and cash flow and as of March 13, 2020, our cash on hand was approximately $30,500, essentially flat relative to December 2019.  

Furthermore, we are in the process of implementing additional strategic initiatives, with a focus on improving revenue per order, costs per order, cash flow, profitability and liquidity. These initiatives include, among other things, new and enhanced service offerings to our restaurant partners (such as priority placement, payment processing and consumer marketing), a continued focus on increasing restaurant supply on the Platforms, as well as an initiative to change to a contract labor model for delivery drivers. The implementation of the contract labor driver model is expected to be complete early in the second quarter of 2020. These initiatives are ongoing and we intend to continue to make changes to drive efficiencies and improve revenue and profitability. We continue to evaluate additional opportunities to strengthen our liquidity position, fund growth initiatives and/or combine with other businesses to complement our operating cash flows as we pursue our long-term growth plans.

During the third quarter of 2019, we recognized non-cash impairment charges totaling $191,194 to write down the carrying values of goodwill and intangible assets to their implied fair values. See Part II, Item 8, Note 7Intangible Assets and Goodwill for additional details. The write-downs of goodwill and intangible assets were determined using estimates of fair value, which utilize significant inputs and assumptions such as forecasts (e.g., revenue, operating costs, capital expenditures, etc.), discount rate, long-term growth rate, tax rates, and market-based enterprise value to revenue multiples, among others. Should our estimates or assumptions worsen, or should negative events or circumstances occur, additional impairments may be needed.

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Management Changes

On August 8, 2019, Christopher Meaux resigned as Chief Executive Officer of the Company, on September 11, 2019, Joseph Stough resigned as President of the Company and on November 1, 2019, Jeff Yurecko resigned as Chief Financial Officer of the Company. Mr. Meaux continued to serve as Chairman of the Board until March 3, 2020, at which time he was appointed as Vice-Chairman of the Board.

On August 8, 2019, the Board appointed Adam Price to the position of Chief Executive Officer, increased the size of the Board to nine members and appointed Mr. Price as a Class II director. Mr. Price previously had been serving as Chief Operating Officer of the Company. Following Mr. Yurecko’s departure on November 1, 2019, Karl Meche, the Company’s Chief Accounting Officer, assumed the role of principal financial officer. On December 27, 2019, Mr. Price resigned as Chief Executive Officer of the Company and as a member of the Board.

On January 3, 2020, the Board appointed Carl A. Grimstad to the position of Chief Executive Officer of the Company, and a member of the Board. Mr. Grimstad, age 52, is currently the chief manager of C. Grimstad Associates, LLC, a family private investment entity formed in 2006, and the managing partner of GS Capital, LLC, a family private investment company formed in 1995. In 1999, Mr. Grimstad co-founded iPayment Inc. (“iPayment”) and acted as the President of iPayment until 2011, when he became the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the company until 2016. On March 3, 2020, the Board appointed Mr. Grimstad as Chairman of the Board.  

Nasdaq Compliance

On October 14, 2019, the Company notified Nasdaq that, as a result of the resignations of Susan Collyns and Scott Fletcher from its Board on October 11, 2019, the Company was no longer in compliance with the requirements of Nasdaq Listing Rule 5605 to have (i) a Board comprised of a majority of independent directors, (ii) an Audit Committee comprised of at least three members who satisfy certain criteria and (iii) a Compensation Committee comprised of at least two members who satisfy certain criteria. We submitted a plan to Nasdaq on December 11, 2019 regarding our steps to regain compliance. The plan was accepted, granting the Company an extension of up to 180 days from October 28, 2019 to regain compliance.

We must satisfy the Audit Committee and Compensation Committee requirements by the earlier of (i) our next annual shareholders’ meeting or October 11, 2020 or (ii) if our next annual shareholders’ meeting is held before April 8, 2020, no later than April 8, 2020. We are committed to satisfying the Nasdaq Listing Rules relating to the composition of our Board, Audit Committee and Compensation Committee and are actively searching for qualified candidates to join our Board.

Additionally, on December 2, 2019, we received written notice from Nasdaq indicating that the minimum bid price of our common stock had closed at less than $1.00 per share over the previous 30 consecutive business days and, as a result, did not comply with Listing Rule 5550(a)(2) (the “Bid Price Rule”). In accordance with Listing Rule 5810(c)(3)(A), we are being provided 180 calendar days, or until June 1, 2020, to regain compliance with the Bid Price Rule. If at any time before June 1, 2020, the bid price of our common stock closes at $1.00 per share or more for a minimum of 10 consecutive business days, Nasdaq will provide us with written confirmation of compliance with the Bid Price Rule and the matter will be closed.

Significant Accounting Policies and Critical Estimates

The preparation of financial statements in accordance with GAAP requires us to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period, along with related disclosures. We regularly assess these estimates and record changes to estimates in the period in which they become known. We base our estimates on historical experience and various other assumptions believed to be reasonable under the circumstances. Changes in the economic environment, financial markets, and any other parameters used in determining these estimates could cause actual results to differ from estimates. Significant estimates and judgements relied upon in preparing these consolidated financial statements affect the following items:

 

determination of the nature and timing of satisfaction of revenue-generating performance obligations and the standalone selling price of performance obligations;

 

variable consideration;

 

other obligations such as product returns and refunds;

 

allowance for doubtful accounts and chargebacks;

 

incurred loss estimates under our insurance policies with large deductibles or retention levels;

 

income taxes;

 

useful lives of tangible and intangible assets;

 

depreciation and amortization;

 

equity compensation;

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contingencies;

 

goodwill and other intangible assets, including the recoverability of intangible assets with finite lives and other long-lived assets;

 

impairments; and

 

fair value of assets acquired and liabilities assumed as part of a business combination.

For a description of our significant accounting policies, see Part II, Item 8, Note 2 – Basis of Presentation and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies, to our consolidated financial statements in this Form 10-K.  

For a description of accounting standards adopted during the year ended December 31, 2019, see Part II, Item 8, Note 2 – Basis of Presentation and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies, to our consolidated financial statements in this Form 10-K. Also described in Note 2 are pending standards and their estimated effect on our consolidated financial statements.

We qualify as an “emerging growth company” pursuant to the provisions of the JOBS Act. For as long as we are an “emerging growth company,” we may take advantage of certain exemptions from various reporting requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not “emerging growth companies,” including not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements, reduced disclosure obligations relating to the presentation of financial statements in Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, exemptions from the requirements of holding advisory “say-on-pay” votes on executive compensation and stockholder advisory votes on golden parachute compensation. We have availed ourselves of the reduced reporting obligations and executive compensation disclosures in this Form 10-K. In addition, an emerging growth company can delay its adoption of certain accounting standards until those standards would otherwise apply to private companies. Although we have the ability to “opt out” of this extended transition period, we are choosing not to do so. Section 107 of the JOBS Act provides that a decision to opt out of the extended transition period for complying with new or revised accounting standards is irrevocable.

Factors Affecting the Comparability of Our Results of Operations

The Landcadia Business Combination and Public Company Costs.  The Landcadia Business Combination was accounted for as a reverse recapitalization, with no goodwill or other intangible assets recorded, in accordance with GAAP. Under this method of accounting, Landcadia Holdings, Inc. was treated as the “acquired” company for financial reporting purposes. Accordingly, for accounting purposes, the Landcadia Business Combination was treated as the equivalent of Waitr Incorporated issuing stock for the net assets of Landcadia Holdings, Inc., accompanied by a recapitalization. The net assets of Landcadia Holdings, Inc. were stated at historical cost, with no goodwill or other intangible assets recorded. Reported amounts from operations included herein prior to the Landcadia Business Combination are those of Waitr Incorporated. Waitr Incorporated is Landcadia Holdings, Inc.’s accounting predecessor and the Landcadia Business Combination required us to hire additional staff and implement procedures and processes to address regulatory and customary requirements applicable to public companies.

In connection with the closing of the Landcadia Business Combination in 2018, Waitr Incorporated’s convertible promissory notes (the “Waitr Convertible Notes”) were either ultimately converted into shares of our post-combination common stock or redeemed for cash. The redemption of the Waitr Convertible Notes for cash resulted in a gain on debt extinguishment of $952, representing the carrying value of the redeemed Waitr Convertible Notes as of the redemption date. In addition, immediately after the consummation of the Landcadia Business Combination, we repaid a line of credit, plus origination fees and accrued interest, resulting in a loss on debt extinguishment of $466, representing the balance of the unamortized debt issuance costs on the date of repayment.

In 2017, we recorded a non-cash loss on debt extinguishment of $10,537 as a result of a Waitr Convertible Notes amendment that modified the conversion ratio, resulting in the application of extinguishment accounting and representing the difference between the fair value of the amended Waitr Convertible Notes and their carrying amount. The conversion and cash redemption of the Waitr Convertible Notes and the exercise of warrants by the lenders under the aforementioned line of credit impacted our statements of operations and stockholders’ equity (deficit) in reporting periods that include the Landcadia Business Combination.

Bite Squad Merger.  The Bite Squad Merger was considered a business combination in accordance with ASC 805, and has been accounted for using the acquisition method. Under the acquisition method of accounting, total merger consideration, acquired assets and assumed liabilities are recorded based on their estimated fair values on the acquisition date. The excess of the fair value of merger consideration over the fair value of the assets less liabilities acquired has been recorded as goodwill. The results of operations of Bite Squad are included in our consolidated financial statements beginning on the acquisition date, January 17, 2019.

In connection with the Bite Squad Merger, we incurred direct and incremental costs through December 31, 2019, of approximately $6,956, consisting of legal and professional fees, which are included in general and administrative expenses in the consolidated statement of operations in 2019. Although we expect the elimination of duplicative costs and other cost synergies over time, we may not achieve this result as quickly as anticipated, resulting in materially higher general and administrative expenses in future periods.

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Changes in Fee Structure.  We have made several modifications to our fee structure during the fiscal periods presented in this Form 10-K. Since 2017, our fee structure evolved gradually from a per transaction fee plus a percentage of the food sale amount to one based exclusively on a percentage of the food sale amount. In early 2018, we also established a multi-tier fee structure, allowing restaurants to elect to pay a higher fee rate in lieu of paying a one-time set-up and integration fee. We initiated modifications to our fee structure in July 2019 with a majority of restaurants on the Waitr Platform, which became effective in August 2019, and in January 2020, with the majority of our remaining restaurants, which became effective throughout February 2020. We continue to review and update our rate structure, as we look to offer new and enhanced value-adding services to our restaurant partners.

The July 2019 modified fee structure was performance-based and tiered such that restaurants with higher sales through the Waitr Platform were subject to a rate at the lower end of the range, whereas restaurants with lower sales through the Waitr Platform were subject to a rate at the upper end of the range. With the introduction of the July 2019 modifications, we discontinued offering fee arrangements with the upfront, one-time setup and integration fee. Upon acceptance of the performance-based fee agreement, in certain cases, the Company waived uncollected portions of the setup and integration fee and refunded portions of previously paid setup and integration fees (see Part II, Item 8, Note 2 – Basis of Presentation and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies) . The changes from the July 2019 modifications resulted in modestly higher revenue per transaction, but also resulted in the loss of approximately 22% of the restaurants on the Waitr Platform. Additionally, the contract modifications and the effect of such modifications on our measure of progress towards the performance obligations, resulted in a cumulative adjustment in the third quarter of 2019 to setup and integration fee revenue of $3,005, which was previously included in deferred revenue as of August 1, 2019. Further, we recognized an $852 impairment loss during the third quarter of 2019 for capitalized contract costs pertaining to or allocable to terminated restaurant contracts.

Goodwill and Intangible Asset Impairments.  During the year ended December 31, 2019, we recognized non-cash impairment charges totaling $191,194 to write down the carrying values of goodwill and intangible assets to their implied fair values, as a result of our annual goodwill impairment analysis, which concluded that the fair value of the reporting unit (the Company) was less than its carrying amount. The primary factor contributing to the decline in fair value of the reporting unit was the negative impacts on the Company’s estimated order volumes and revenue resulting from adverse changes in market conditions from increased competition. Determining the fair value of a reporting unit and intangible assets requires the use of estimates and significant judgments that are based on a number of factors including actual operating results. It is reasonably possible that the judgments and estimates used could change in future periods. There can be no assurance that additional goodwill or intangible assets will not be impaired in future periods. Significant goodwill and intangible asset impairments may impact the comparability of our results from period to period.

Seasonality and Holidays.  Our business tends to follow restaurant closure and diner behavior patterns. In many of our markets, we generally experience a relative increase in order frequency from September to March and a relative decrease in diner activity from April to August primarily as a result of weather patterns, summer breaks and other vacation periods. In addition, restaurants tend to close on certain holidays, including Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve-Day, in our key markets. Further, diner activity may be impacted by unusually cold, rainy, or warm weather. Cold weather and rain typically drive increases in order volume, while unusually warm or sunny weather typically drives decreases in orders. Consequently, our results between quarters, or between periods may vary as a result of prolonged periods of unusually cold, warm, inclement, or otherwise unexpected weather and the timing of certain holidays.

Acquisition Pipeline.   We actively maintain and evaluate a pipeline of potential acquisitions and may be acquisitive in the future. Potentially significant future business acquisitions may impact the comparability of our results in future periods with those for prior periods.

Key Factors Affecting Our Performance

Efficient Market Expansion and Penetration.   Our continued revenue growth and path to improved cash flow and profitability is dependent on successful penetration of our markets and achieving our targeted scale in current and future markets. Delay or failure in achieving positive market-level operating margins (exclusive of indirect and corporate overhead costs) could adversely affect our working capital, which in turn, could slow our growth plans.

We typically target markets that we estimate could achieve sustainable, positive market-level operating margins that support market operating cash flows and profits, improve efficiency, and appropriately leverage the scale of our advertising, marketing, research and development, and other corporate resources. Our financial condition, cash flows, and results of operations depend, in significant part, on our ability to achieve and sustain our target profitability thresholds in our markets.

Waitr’s Restaurant and Diner Network.   Our continued growth is driven in significant part by our ability to successfully expand our network of restaurants and diners using the Platforms. If we fail to retain existing restaurants and diners using the Platforms, or to add new restaurants and diners to the Platforms, our revenue, financial results and business may be adversely affected.  

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Key Business Metrics

Defined below are the key business metrics that we use to analyze our business performance, determine financial forecasts, and help develop long-term strategic plans:

Active Diners. The number of diner accounts from which an order has been placed through the Platforms during the past twelve months (as of the end of the relevant period).

Average Daily Orders. The number of orders during the period divided by the number of days in that period.

Gross Food Sales.  The total food and beverage sales, sales taxes, prepaid gratuities, and diner fees processed through the Platforms during a given period. Gross Food Sales are different than the order value upon which we charge our fee to restaurants, which excludes gratuities and diner fees. Prepaid gratuities, which are not included in our revenue, are determined by diners and may differ from order to order. Gratuities other than prepaid gratuities, such as cash tips, are not included in Gross Food Sales.

Average Order Size. Gross Food Sales for a given period divided by the number of orders during the same period.

 

 

 

Years Ended December 31,

 

Key Business Metrics (1)

 

2019

 

 

2018

 

 

2017

 

Active Diners (as of period end)

 

 

2,352,007

 

 

 

989,000

 

 

 

419,430

 

Average Daily Orders

 

 

51,156

 

 

 

21,860

 

 

 

9,315

 

Gross Food Sales (dollars in thousands)

 

$

663,919

 

 

$

278,833

 

 

$

121,081

 

Average Order Size (in dollars)

 

$

36.15

 

 

$

34.95

 

 

$

35.61

 

 

(1)

The key business metrics include the operations of Bite Squad beginning on the acquisition date, January 17, 2019.

Basis of Presentation

Revenue

We generate revenue primarily when diners place an order on one of the Platforms. We recognize revenue from diner orders when orders are delivered. Our revenue consists primarily of transaction fees, comprised of fees received from restaurants (determined as a percentage of the total food sales, net of any diner promotions or refunds to diners) and diner fees. During a portion of the periods presented in this Form 10-K, we also generated revenue from setup and integration fees collected from certain restaurants to onboard them onto the Platforms (these are recognized on a straight-line basis over the anticipated period of benefit) and subscription fees from restaurants that opt to pay a monthly fee in lieu of a lump sum setup and integration fee. Additionally, we sell gift cards and recognize revenue upon gift card redemption. Revenue also includes fees for restaurant marketing and data services.

Cost and Expenses:

Operations and Support.  Operations and support expense consists primarily of salaries, benefits, stock-based compensation, and bonuses for employees and contractors engaged in operations and customer service, including drivers, who are mainly full-time and part-time employees and comprised a substantial majority of our employee base at December 31, 2019, as well as city/market managers, restaurant onboarding, photography, and driver logistics personnel, and payment processing costs for customer orders.

Sales and Marketing.  Sales and marketing expense consists primarily of salaries, commissions, benefits, stock-based compensation and bonuses for sales and sales support personnel, including restaurant business development managers, marketing employees and contractors, and third-party marketing expenses such as social media and search engine marketing, online display, team sponsorships (the costs of which are recognized on a straight line basis over the useful period of the contract) and print marketing.

Research and Development.  Research and development expense consists primarily of salaries, benefits, stock-based compensation and bonuses for employees and contractors engaged in the design, development, maintenance and testing of the Platforms.

General and Administrative.  General and administrative expense consists primarily of salaries, benefits, stock-based compensation and bonuses for executive, finance and accounting, human resources and administrative employees, third-party legal, accounting, and other professional services, insurance (including workers’ compensation, auto liability and general liability), travel, facilities rent, and other corporate overhead costs.

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Depreciation and Amortization.  Depreciation and amortization expense consists primarily of amortization of capitalized costs for software development, trademarks and customer relationships and depreciation of leasehold improvements, furniture, and equipment, primarily tablets deployed in restaurants. We do not allocate depreciation and amortization expense to other line items.

Intangible and Other Asset Impairments.  Intangible and other asset impairments include write-downs of intangible assets and minor impairments related to the replacement of internally developed software code as well as the impairment of capitalized contract costs of obtaining and fulfilling contracts.

Other Expenses (Income) and Losses (Gains), Net.  Other expenses (income) and losses (gains), net, primarily includes interest expense on outstanding debt and interest income on cash and money market deposits, as well as (gains)/losses on debt extinguishment and derivatives.

Results of Operations

The following table sets forth our results of operations for the periods indicated, with line items presented in thousands of dollars and as a percentage of our revenue:

 

 

 

Years Ended December 31,

 

(in thousands, except percentages (1))

 

2019

 

 

% of

Revenue

 

 

2018

 

 

% of

Revenue

 

 

2017

 

 

% of

Revenue

 

Revenue

 

$

191,675

 

 

 

100

%

 

$

69,273

 

 

 

100

%

 

$

22,911

 

 

 

100

%

Costs and expenses:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Operations and support (2)

 

 

147,759

 

 

 

77

%

 

 

51,428

 

 

 

74

%

 

 

20,970

 

 

 

92

%

Sales and marketing (2)

 

 

52,370

 

 

 

27

%

 

 

15,695

 

 

 

23

%

 

 

5,661

 

 

 

25

%

Research and development

 

 

7,718

 

 

 

4

%

 

 

3,913

 

 

 

6

%

 

 

1,586

 

 

 

7

%

General and administrative (2)

 

 

56,862

 

 

 

30

%

 

 

31,148

 

 

 

45

%

 

 

9,437

 

 

 

41

%

Depreciation and amortization

 

 

15,774

 

 

 

8

%

 

 

1,223

 

 

 

2

%

 

 

723

 

 

 

3

%

Goodwill impairment

 

 

119,212

 

 

 

62

%

 

 

 

 

 

0

%

 

 

 

 

 

0

%

Intangible and other asset impairments

 

 

73,251

 

 

 

38

%

 

 

 

 

 

0

%

 

 

584

 

 

 

3

%

Loss on disposal of assets

 

 

36

 

 

 

0

%

 

 

9

 

 

 

0

%

 

 

33

 

 

 

0

%

Total costs and expenses

 

 

472,982

 

 

 

247

%

 

 

103,416

 

 

 

149

%

 

 

38,994

 

 

 

170

%

Loss from operations

 

 

(281,307

)

 

 

(147

%)

 

 

(34,143

)

 

 

(49

%)

 

 

(16,083

)

 

 

(70

%)

Other expenses (income) and losses (gains), net:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interest expense

 

 

9,408

 

 

 

5

%

 

 

1,822

 

 

 

3

%

 

 

283

 

 

 

1

%

Interest income

 

 

(1,037

)

 

 

(1

%)

 

 

(406

)

 

 

(1

%)

 

 

(2

)

 

 

0

%

(Gain) loss on derivatives

 

 

 

 

 

0

%

 

 

(337

)

 

 

0

%

 

 

52

 

 

 

0

%

(Gain) loss on debt extinguishment