Wonder, the food delivery startup made famous by its original model that used customized delivery vans, has launched a membership program called Wonder+ the Spoon has learned.
The new program, which costs $7.99 monthly, entitles members to free delivery with no minimum order value. Wonder+ also entitles members to prioritized delivery or pickup via a Wonder “Fast Pass” with each member’s order.
The launch of Wonder+ comes months after the company disclosed it was giving up on cooking food orders curbside in delivery vans. While the original concept developed the company a loyal following of high-frequency customers in the New Jersey suburb in which it launched, it proved incredibly capital-intensive, even for a CEO who had shown a knack for raising eye-popping funding rounds.
“I see a much bigger opportunity to be more profitable, more capital efficient and slightly improve” the customer experience with physical kitchens compared with the food truck system, said Wonder chief Marc Lore.
The membership program launches just weeks after the company opened its second brick-and-mortar location in Westfield, New Jersey. This 4,300-square-foot storefront serves food from 13 restaurant brands, including Bobby Flay Steak, Tejas Barbecue, and Di Fara Pizza. According to the company, the Westfield location will reach customers previously serviced by its delivery vans in Westfield and the adjoining towns of Garwood, Fanwood, Winfield, Scotch Plains, Cranford, and Clark. According to the company, the new locations will support delivery, pickup, and limited dine-in.
While the company has left behind its delivery fleet, it still plans to deliver all food made in Wonder kitchens with its own employees.
“Unlike a ghost kitchen or other delivery services, Wonder is completely vertically-integrated, meaning it owns and operates every single aspect of the process – from the front-end app and prepping of food to the cooking, delivery, and every step in between,” a company spokesperson told The Spoon via email. Wonder couriers will not only handle deliveries made to customers who order via the Wonder app but also deliveries to customers who order through third-party apps such as Doordash or Uber Eats.
Wonder’s Westfield location debut follows the opening of its Manhattan location in February, and the company plans to open ten Wonder locations by the end of the year, including in Chelsea location next month and a Brooklyn location in the fall.
Food hall-ish multi-brand offerings are the same general direction some ghost kitchen operators – like Kitchen United with its Mix concept and newer operators like Hungry House – have been moving in recent years, only without the delivery piece. Wonder new direction is reminiscent of European delivery giant Deliveroo’s efforts towards vertical integration with its lineup of virtual brands via Deliveroo Experiences and in-person food halls.