Marc Lore’s Wonder Ghost Kitchen Concept One-Ups Aggregators With Doorside Food Prep

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To keep the mobile restaurant delivery sector healthy and growing requires a stream of fresh concepts, with the power of experience and personalization providing much of that push.

As chains that are quickly perfecting app-based ordering, loyalty and payments integration look to up their game, founder and former Walmart U.S. eCommerce President and CEO Marc Lore offers one path, joining with former Walmart Chief Revenue Officer Scott Hilton to serve up their vision of what’s next in connected dining experiences with Wonder Group.

It’s a new combination food truck and ghost kitchen operation that’s signed deals with top chefs like Bobby Flay, sushi master Daisuke Nakazawa and more to skip meals cooked offsite by bringing some of the nation’s hottest gourmet kitchens effectively to one’s door.

The partners even have coined a term for this new mobile offering: “on-demand home dining.”

Using the two-sided Wonder and Envoy app for ordering and delivery, CNBC reported, “someone living in upstate New York could order the famous cheesesteak sandwich from Atlanta-based Fred’s Meat and Bread. Or someone in New Jersey could order a wood-fired Margherita pizza from Nancy Silverton’s Pizzeria Mozza, which is based in Los Angeles. Wonder partners with select restaurant owners, including Bobby Flay and Jonathan Waxman, to gain exclusive rights to recreate items on their menus.”

In a Dec. 7 LinkedIn post Lore wrote, “Our innovative, vertically-integrated approach begins with exclusive menus from the country’s best chefs and restaurants. A central commissary sources high-quality, fresh ingredients and serves as the start of each meal’s journey. Orders are then fired, finished, and plated in our mobile kitchens just steps away from your door, and served as soon as they’re ready — allowing you to experience the food the way it’s meant to be enjoyed.”

CNBC reported that in 2022 Lore and Hilton “plan to bring Wonder and Envoy to Westchester County, New York, parts of Connecticut, northern and central New Jersey, as well as a portion of New York City. Their ultimate goal is to expand nationwide, by targeting communities with dense populations. Lore said the company plans to have 1,200 to 1,300 mobile kitchens roaming the Northeast [in 2022], and to triple that by 2023.” So far, they have about 60 mobile kitchens in operation.

Hilton told CNBC that “Wonder’s advantage compared with other food delivery platforms is that it only serves homes in a set area in order to do multiple deliveries in one trip so that a driver is not making ‘empty’ runs.” Prepping ingredients in a central kitchen holds down food costs, he said, noting that Wonder vans must do about $100 in sales per hour to break even.

Whether the cuisine is gourmet or fast-casual, consumers are showing a marked preference for well-integrated app-based ordering experiences. The 2021 edition of the Restaurant Readiness Index, a PYMNTS and Paytronix collaboration, found that “top performers are 4.5 percent more likely to offer digital ordering capabilities than they were in 2020, and they are 7.1 percent more likely to offer mobile app-enabled ordering options than they were last year.”

Since departing Walmart last January, serial entrepreneur Lore has also become the driving force behind the proposed smart city of Telosa, as PYMNTS recently reported.

See also: Jet Founder Marc Lore Planning ‘One-Stop Shop’ for Cooked Meals