Takeout dining took on newfound importance in the past year, but that doesn’t mean its pitfalls disappeared. Soup is served lukewarm. Salads are soggy. Cold desserts are an impossibility.
Marc Lore, the former e-commerce chief of Walmart, might just have the solution to food’s to-go woes.
Enter Wonder, a new startup that’s equal parts food truck, ghost kitchen, and delivery service— and just scored major backing from Lore.
How it Works
The company is currently rolling out (literally) its pilot program in the affluent suburb of Westfield, New Jersey— prime market demo for its high-end menu.
It works like this: mobile kitchens in trucks and vans start the day doing meal prep in an empty parking lot; customers then order, via an app, meal delivery service directly to their homes; the vans then transport trained chefs to complete the meal while parked outside, allowing the “takeout” food to be delivered as hot and fresh as possible.
Wonder has teamed up with celebrity chefs to fill out its menu options, with offerings available from household name restaurants and restauranteurs such as Bobby Flay, JBird, Teja’s Barbecue, and Marc Murphy’s The Mainstay.
Indeed, Wonder intends to combine Michelin-quality food with Michelin tires.
State of the Restaurant World: Perhaps no industry saw itself as disrupted in the past year than restaurants. The danger of eating in public spaces has turned the entire industry on its head, leading to several remarkable shifts in consumer habits:
- Uber reported its Uber Eats food delivery service saw Q1 revenue of $12.5 billion, an 166% increase from a year ago, and nearly double the revenue of its staple ride-sharing service.
- Ousted Uber cofounder Travis Kalanick invested $130 million last year in the ghost kitchen startup CloudKitchens, which has 40 locations optimized for online-only delivery and takeout service.
- Last summer, meal-kit delivery service Blue Apron posted its first profitable quarter in nearly three years.
Its pilot program remains extremely limited, for now. But one must wonder if Wonder can change the meals-on-wheels game for good.