Dale M. Maas, Attorney at Law
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Waitr changes business terms, Baton Rouge restaurants balk

Every business owner has a different personality. Some are hard-edged and are willing to do just about anything to protect their interests, even at others' expense, while other business owners want to interact with others in a way that is fair for all parties involved. There are others still who fall somewhere between the two.

The point is that no two people will engage in business dealings the same way, which can sometimes lead to contract disputes. One of the best ways to avoid these disputes is to carefully consider the terms of a contract before agreeing to it.

Case in point is the recent butting of heads between food delivery service Waitr and many local Baton Rouge restaurants. According to reports, Waitr is implementing a new fee structure that many restaurants find too demanding. Under the new terms, Waitr will receive a 15% commission on every purchase if a business conducts more than $20,000 in business through the Waitr program. Under this new structure, the lesser the sales through Waitr, the higher the commission, reaching as high as 25% per transaction.

Yet, these aren't the only changes to Waitr's contractual arrangements. Reports also indicate that moving forward Waitr will prohibit restaurants from pass the cost of those commissions on to customers. This means that the price of food delivered through Wait must be the same or less than that same food that is ordered in the restaurant. Although Waitr claims that these terms will make it competitive in its market, others view them as raising their prices to be more in line with their competitors.

A number of local businesses have already decided not to renew their agreements with Waitr, citing that they can't afford to eat the costs of paying commissions. Others feel cheated by being forced to pay more in commissions for doing lesser sales.

Many others are likely to carefully consider their Waitr contracts and whether or not to proceed with them, but this case highlights the challenges that are faced when parties struggle to see eye-to-eye in business dealings. Those who find themselves amidst an escalated conflict involving contractual agreements should consider consulting with an attorney who may be able to help them protect their best interests.

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Dale M. Maas, Attorney at Law
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