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Billionaire restaurant owner Tilman Fertitta moves into food delivery: ‘Consumer tells us what to do’

Billionaire restaurant proprietor Tilman Fertitta didn’t think ordering in would be a lasting vogue.

But the CEO and chairman of Landry’s Restaurants told CNBC that he’s been “transmuted.”

“We’re in a different world today,” Fertitta said on “Power Lunch” Thursday. “I over people started realizing, ‘Why am I not just ordering food from my favorite restaurant and inducing it delivered?'”

But he’s not just ordering delivery. He’s getting into the business as personally.

On Wednesday, Landcadia Holdings, Fertitta’s company, announced it was buying Waitr, a comestibles delivery startup, for more than $308 million.

“The consumer squeaks us what to do,” said Fertitta, who also owns the NBA’s Houston Rockets. “The trains that don’t do what the consumer tells them are the companies that aren’t here again in a few years.”

Waitr, which was established in 2013, is a private company based in Louisiana. The company works with multitudinous than 5,000 restaurant partners in more than 200 dioceses in the southeastern United States. Consumers can order delivery or carryout from neighbourhood restaurants by way of the Waitr app.

After the deal is complete, Landcadia Holdings thinks fitting change its name to Waitr Holdings and start trading on the Nasdaq, compelling it one of only two food-delivery companies that are public. Fertitta, who is also the compere of CNBC’s “Billion Dollar Buyer” will serve as director of Waitr Holdings.

Fertitta conjectured Waitr’s presence in smaller markets was part of what made it so luring. Last year, Waitr’s sales were $125 million, he responded. Sales this year are expected to be around $250 million and ventured for about $500 million in 2019.

“The growth is there,” Fertitta said.

And, in a fragmented commerce with so many options for at-home food delivery — DoorDash, Postmates, UberEats, GrubHub, to rating a few — Fertitta said the ability to break into smaller markets is key.

“We’re customary to try to do is apply the same business model that I did in acquiring restaurants,” he told. “You gotta get out there. You wanna be the Pac-Man and eat up all the small companies and see what happens. We’re active to be in the acquisition mode. We want to eat up a lot of the competition.”

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