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Lore Back In Walmart with Wonder Restaurant

“Fast Fine” Dining Latest Venture from Former eComm Leader

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The newest restaurant experience inside a Walmart comes from a familiar name.

Wonder, a ‘Fast Fine” outlet offering meals from eight different restaurant brands, opened a location recently inside a Walmart store in Quakertown, Pennsylvania. It’s the 11th location for Wonder, a former food-truck fleet transitioning into new business models. It’s owned by Marc Lore, the former head of e-commerce at Walmart.

The Wonder store within Walmart features a compact footprint but promises a diverse and high-quality dining experience, with a delivery radius covering several ZIP codes. Wonder's business model, distinct from ghost kitchens, emphasizes vertical integration, where food preparation, delivery, and customer service are all managed in-house. This approach allows for a unique dining experience where customers can "shop across brands," enjoying a variety of cuisines under one roof.

Wonder's evolution from a fleet of food delivery trucks to a model focusing on fixed locations and delivery from central commissaries reflects Lore's adaptive approach to business. Despite the initial success of the food trucks, Lore made a decisive pivot to brick-and-mortar outlets to enhance the quality of the dining experience, reduce capital expenditure, and increase profitability. This shift was motivated by the recognition of fixed locations offering a superior customer experience, faster service, and greater financial viability.

The Walmart location in Quakertown is also a geographical expansion for Wonder, whose 10 previous locations are in New York and New Jersey. Lore hopes to grow the brand nationally.

As president and CEO of Walmart U.S. e-commerce from 2016 to January 2021, Lore oversaw a period of rapid growth and innovation. Under his leadership, Walmart made significant strides in expanding its online product assortment, enhancing its delivery capabilities, and introducing new technologies to improve the shopping experience. Lore's initiatives included the development of Walmart's grocery pickup and delivery services, which became particularly crucial as consumer behavior shifted towards online shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic.

His journey with Walmart began when the retail giant acquired, a startup Lore co-founded, in 2016 for $3.3 billion. This acquisition was a strategic move by Walmart to bolster its online presence and compete more effectively with e-commerce leaders like Amazon.

After leaving Walmart in early 2021, Lore committed himself full-time to Wonder, a venture that initially started with a fleet of food delivery trucks before pivoting to a combination of fixed-location dining and delivery.

The establishment of Wonder inside Walmart is part of a broader trend where grocery retailers are increasingly integrating restaurant experiences into their spaces to capture more consumer mealtime spending. This strategy aligns with consumer preferences for ready-to-eat meals, as evidenced by PYMNTS Intelligence's findings that a significant portion of consumers have purchased ready-to-eat meals from grocery stores. Grocery chains like Kroger have successfully tapped into this demand, becoming major sellers of ready-to-eat products like sushi.

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