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Why Waitr Holdings Stock Briefly Popped Today

What happened

Shares of Waitr Holdings (NASDAQ: WTRH) briefly popped this morning, up as much as 14% in early trading before giving up those gains. The stock is down 2% as of 1:15 p.m. EDT, after the company announced it has expanded its service team.

So what

The regional food delivery tech company said it has hired 225 customer service and dispatch workers since January of this year. Those employees will be based in Louisiana, where Waitr is headquartered, instead of a previous plan to locate those positions, in addition to other jobs, in Mexico.

Image source: Getty Images.

"We believe it's important to support our communities during these times and are pleased to have been able to bring so many jobs back to the U.S," CEO Carl Grimstad said in a statement. "We are very proud of our team members in Louisiana, who have been providing the highest levels of service for our customers, drivers and restaurant partners."

Now what

Waitr did not detail the cost implications of keeping those jobs within the U.S., but the company noted that Grimstad has implemented various other strategic initiatives to improve profitability since becoming CEO in January. That included transitioning drivers into independent contractors, which drivers criticized since many lost benefits that hourly employees are entitled to. Most food delivery platforms use a similar independent contractor model for drivers.

Waitr added that February was the first profitable month in the company's history, due in part to these initiatives. Food delivery has been one industry that has remained resilient during the COVID-19 pandemic as people order food from the safety of their homes.

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