How far will Marc Lore’s mobile ghost kitchen concept go?
Wonder, the latest venture from serial entrepreneur Marc Lore, supplies customers with chef-designed meals cooked from vans parked outside the their home. The founder of Jet.com and Walmart’s former e-commerce chief tells Yahoo Finance that Wonder balances the value propositions of price, quality and speed around meal delivery.
“The faster we deliver the food, the cheaper it is,” Mr. Lore said last week following an appearance at TechCrunch Disrupt. “That’s how the business model’s set up. When you think about Amazon, Walmart, and Instacart … the faster they deliver, the more expensive it is.”
Wonder’s business model, which borrows a page from Netflix, stands out for its focus on content, securing exclusive rights with esteemed chefs like Bobby Flay and top restaurants to recreate items from their menus.
“We want to lock up all the best proprietary content,” Mr. Lore told CNBC. “Every chef that is well known — every restaurant that’s great — we want to basically lock it up and have it exclusively on Wonder.”
The rest is food science and sophisticated logistics. The ingredients are prepared and packaged in a centralized kitchen to keep operating costs low compared to a restaurant, then transferred to smaller kitchen hubs where they are picked up by vans. To keep hot, the meal is finished curbside. Each van has one trained chef onboard and is dedicated to one restaurant.
“I’ve thought there’s a way to take a page out of McDonald’s book, and we’ve invested in culinary engineering and food science,” Mr. Lore told Yahoo Finance. “We’re not just cooking food fast, we’re cooking great food that’s also fast.”
Launched in December 2021, the startup is currently delivering meals in New Jersey with aggressive expansion plans across the Northeast before going nationwide. The company will target dense communities to enable one van to do multiple deliveries in one trip.
Wonder scored a $3.5 billion valuation in a June funding round. The Wonder: Food Delivery app has a 4.9 rating on Apple’s App Store and 4.8 on Google Play with reviews praising the food quality, service and value.
The service, however, does have its critics. A Wall Street Journal article from July detailed how fights have broken out on a Facebook group covering South Orange and Maplewood in New Jersey between fans of the service and critics complaining about the noise and pollution from the idling diesel-fueled trucks as well as the impact on local restaurants.
- Jet founder Marc Lore explains why now’s the time to disrupt the food industry – Yahoo Finance
- Marc Lore chews the fat about reinventing at-home dining at Disrupt – TechCrunch
- “All In” on Wonder – Marc Lore/LinkedIn
- Announcing Wonder’s $350M Series B – Marc Lore/LinkedIn
- Jet founder Marc Lore plots U.S. expansion of food delivery biz: A ‘one-stop shop’ for cooked meals – CNBC
- Jet founder’s latest venture? A ghost kitchen on wheels – Quartz
- People Using The Wonder Food Delivery Service Are Bonkers About It – The Spoon
- Announcing Wonder’s $350M Series B – TechCrunch
- Wonder Food Trucks Bring Meals And Debates To Maplewood, Nearby Towns – Patch
- Suburbanites Fight Over New Dinner Services in Mercedes Vans – The Wall Street Journal
- Wonder Truck Goes up in Flames in Westfield Monday – TapintoWestfield
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think of the potential for the Wonder food truck service? What do you see as the model’s biggest challenges in achieving scale?