A few weeks ago, the WSJ had an interesting article about Wonder, a meal-delivery service whose most recent funding round valued it at $3.5 billion and is expanding rapidly. I have mentioned Wonder in one of my previous posts. The firm’s main innovation is that the meals are partially cooked in a commissary, a central kitchen, and then delivered in “mobile restaurants” by a “chef-on-the-road” who finishes off the order curbside. The company has bought the off-premises rights to some of several “celebrity chef” restaurants, such as Bobby Flay.
Interesting article, Professor. My prediction: Wonder's fleet will NOT "number in the thousands in two to three years". This is an expensive, niche service that won't scale well.
Working against them are:
(1) annoyed neighbors
(2) folks with environmental concerns
(3) "foodies" who will point out the quality gap between the "authentic" restaurant version of dishes vs. the one made by "some guys in the back of van" (although your analysis largely focuses on purely-cloud restaurants, Wonder's webpage suggests many partners are IRL restaurants, such as Maydan in DC and Fred's in Atlanta, so the ability to compare exists)
(4) the obstacle that matters most, customer acquisition cost from trying to stand out in an extremely saturated marketplace
How many more VC-money-burning meal prep or meal delivery services do we need?