You might not think much of the truck at the end of the street that offers carne asada and al pastor tacos for $1.50 a person. But for Marc Lore, it’s a multi-billion dollar business.
Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that the former Walmart CEO secured a $350 million funding round — at a mouth-watering $3.5 billion valuation — for Wonder, his latest startup which calls itself a “cloud kitchen on wheels”. Yeah, we’ll call it a food truck.
More than miracle bread
Wonder does not offer meals at a brick-and-mortar restaurant, or at a street-side food truck. It doesn’t offer delivery from a ghost kitchen through Postmates or Uber Eats, or ship meal ingredients like Blue Apron. Instead, Wonder allows users to order a food truck right in their driveway or on the sidewalk. The chefs then prepare the meals to be as hot and fresh as possible. Sounds appetizing, sure, but not exactly groundbreaking.
Yet Lore has been able to grow the business since its first French fries and seared steaks in 2018:
- Wonder is currently available to some 130,000 households in suburban New Jersey just west of New York City, with plans to expand statewide later this year. Its latest funding round brings Wonder’s total amount raised (including debt and equity) to $900 million.
- A regular investor described the bullish case at Axios: Lore’s scaling experience, perpetual menu licensing with celebrity chefs like The Food Channel’s Bobby Flay, and technological innovation in trucks. The startup also offers a DoorDash-like service called Envoy in its app across its business areas, which generates around a quarter of its overall revenue.
Name-Brand Value: The funding cycle already looks lagged, more suited to last year’s era of tech optimism and low interest rates. “Six months ago we would have risen to a higher valuation,” Lore told the WSJ. We’ll just assume that Wonder offers particularly tasty reheated enchiladas.