In a strategic move to enhance its food delivery services, renowned startup Wonder has introduced Wonder+, an exclusive membership program, as revealed by The Spoon. The newly unveiled program, available at a monthly fee of $7.99, provides members with the privilege of free delivery without any minimum order requirements. Notably, Wonder+ also offers prioritized delivery or pickup options through the utilization of a dedicated Wonder “Fast Pass” for each member’s order.
The introduction of Wonder+ comes after the company’s decision to discontinue its original model of cooking food orders curbside in customized delivery vans. While this concept garnered a loyal customer base of frequent diners in the suburban regions of New Jersey, it proved to be excessively capital-intensive, even for a CEO renowned for securing impressive funding rounds. Reflecting on this strategic shift, Wonder’s chief, Marc Lore, emphasized the potential for increased profitability, greater capital efficiency, and a modest improvement in the overall customer experience through the adoption of physical kitchens instead of the food truck system.
The launch of the membership program coincides with Wonder’s recent establishment of a second brick-and-mortar location in Westfield, New Jersey. Spanning an expansive 4,300 square feet, this storefront caters to customers with offerings from 13 esteemed restaurant brands, including Bobby Flay Steak, Tejas Barbecue, and Di Fara Pizza. According to Wonder, the Westfield location will serve residents who were previously serviced by the company’s delivery vans in Westfield, as well as the neighboring towns of Garwood, Fanwood, Winfield, Scotch Plains, Cranford, and Clark. The newly added locations will support delivery, pickup, and limited dine-in services.
Although Wonder has phased out its delivery fleet, the company remains committed to ensuring that all food prepared in Wonder kitchens is delivered by its own employees. Distinguishing itself from ghost kitchens and other delivery services, Wonder maintains complete vertical integration, controlling every aspect of the process, from the front-end app and food preparation to cooking, delivery, and all intermediate steps. A spokesperson from the company emphasized this unique approach, stating, “Wonder is completely vertically-integrated, meaning it owns and operates every single aspect of the process.”
Wonder’s recent debut of the Westfield location follows the successful opening of its Manhattan branch in February. The company has ambitious plans to establish ten additional Wonder locations by the end of this year, including a highly anticipated Chelsea location next month and a Brooklyn location in the fall.
This multi-brand culinary concept, akin to a food hall, aligns with the strategic direction pursued by some ghost kitchen operators, such as Kitchen United with its Mix concept, as well as emerging players like Hungry House, albeit without the delivery component. Wonder’s new direction bears a resemblance to the endeavors of European delivery behemoth Deliveroo, which has pursued vertical integration through its portfolio of virtual brands via Deliveroo Experiences and physical food halls.