El Paso Mexican Grill served some of its most popular entrees — burritos, enchiladas, tacos, etc. — in a different way Monday night on a historic day for the eatery and other restaurants in New Iberia.
Angela Aguilar, El Paso’s manager since she moved here four months ago from Baton Rouge, and the restaurant’s waiters never saw 11 of the parties who ordered from the menu Monday. Waitr did, however, as the established food delivery service went live ahead of today’s official launch with expectations matching the success experienced in nine states, including Louisiana.
Aguilar described Waitr as a convenience for people who want restaurant food but for one reason or another prefer to dine in the comfort of their home or office.
“We’re actually very excited because it’s going to bring business for New Iberia,” Aguilar said Tuesday afternoon, “and at the same time help families with little ones. You know, big families that don’t have to go out and eat.
“Sometimes to get a whole family out to eat, it’s hard, like when dad gets home late or there’s soccer practices. When you want to eat it’s ready.”
Likewise, she said, office workers and others who have an hour or so for lunch can time the food delivery to maximize the full hour.
El Paso Mexican Grill, site of “launch party” featuring free food and “swag” items from 5-8 p.m. today, is one of a growing number of local restaurants that have hooked up with Waitr, which got its modest start in Lake Charles and Lafayette. The food delivery service company is bringing freshly cooked meals to hungry diners in more than 200 cities in Mississippi, Florida, Arkansas, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia.
Waitr boasts more than 5,000 restaurant partners and more than 1 million users, according to Dean Turcol, public relations director for the company. The food delivery service is available on the web, iPhone and Android devices.
The Waitr app allows customers to order from their favorite restaurant, then sends a Waitr driver to deliver the food for a flat fee of $5. There is no minimum required — you can get a cup of coffee,
“We’ve been in Lafayette a while now. People love us in Lafayette. Everyone out in New Iberia has been asking us, ‘When are you coming to New Iberia, when are you going to start delivering there,’ ” Micah Breaux of Lafayette, Waitr regional marketing manager who has been with the company a little more than a year, said Tuesday night.
“We started delivering in New Iberia Monday morning. We basically flipped on the switch. Fourteen restaurants went live and, since yesterday, we’ve added on a few more. The restaurant count is going to continue growing,” Breaux said.
“We’re here now and we’re excited about expanding to New Iberia. I’m thrilled. We’re all thrilled. It’s a great service,” he said.
“I know Day 1 was a great Day 1. We had a fantastic Day and up to this point, Day 2 is even better,” he said about Monday’s kickoff.
Aguilar said the evening hours Tuesday probably would be busy for the Waitr staff taking orders from El Paso Mexican Grill. Up to that time between 4-5 p.m., there were half-a-dozen or so orders,” she said.
“There will be more orders at night,” she said.
Breaux and the restaurant manager said they were pleasantly surprised by the number of food delivery orders there on Monday. The official launch was scheduled to start today officially and there was little notice it was going live.
Other local restaurants participating in the new food deliver service include Seafood Mart, the recently opened Clementine on Main, LA Pizza Mia, Olympus Greek & Lebanese and Kobe Japan. Seafood Mart was handing out colorful Waitr cards to customers on Friday night.
Waitr market development director Whitney Savoie said in a prepared statement, “The New Iberia community and restaurant owners saw the excitement and success of our food deliver in Louisiana and wanted to be a part of it. We’re thrilled we can now meet that demand here.”
Savoie said customers rave about how convenient the food delivery service is to use and appreciate the favorable pricing. Also, she said, menu prices are the same on the app as they are at the restaurants.
Other unique features include live monitoring of deliveries and full-color photography of every menu item, she said.
“Our restaurant partners love it, especially in New Iberia. They have been excited to have us on board,” Breaux said, noting the company is hiring drivers for local food delivery (go to www.waitrapp.com/become-a-driver).
He was excited about making his first-ever visit to El Paso Mexican Grill today for the launch party — akin to a grand opening — for New Iberia. So was Aguilar.
Waitr’s motto is Discover (view menus and photos from local restaurants), Order (customize your meal on your phone or online) and Eat (enjoy your favorite food anywhere). New Iberia has the opportunity to do just that now.