Among the many things to figure out in Wonder is how to describe what it is to customers. The business doesn’t fit neatly into an existing foodservice category. “Delivery company” implies just an app and a messaging network, like Uber Eats or Grubhub, but Wonder also makes all of its food in its own kitchens. “Ghost kitchen” and “virtual restaurant” describe brands that exist solely as a menu in an app, with no street-level commercial presence; Wonder has cleverly designed locations where customers can order, pick up and, at least in theory, dine at a handful of tables. Lately, the company’s seven-person in-house creative team has coalesced around the motto “A New Kind of Food Hall.”

“I think that gets to the variety aspect,” said Daniel Shlossman, who left his position as chief marketing officer at Sweetgreen to join Wonder’s senior leadership team in 2023. But also, he said, “we talk about it as the ‘ super-mealtime app,’” a description that sums up Mr. Lore’s ambition for the Wonder app to sell and deliver not only food from its own kitchens, but also food from other restaurants, as well as meal kits , even groceries. (Wonder’s offerings are not available through other delivery apps, which means customers will have to want their food enough to seek it out.)

Today, however, Wonder’s main goal is to operate his own restaurants. Their kitchens do not require gas stoves or exhaust systems to vent kitchen fumes, making builds cheaper and faster. The entire Wonder Menu is designed to be cooked using three pieces of electrical equipment: a hot water bath, a quick cook oven, and a deep fryer.

During a visit to Parsippany in January, Mr. Shlossman took me to see Wonder’s research and development center, a series of gleaming test kitchens with dozens of professional cooks dressed in Wonder-brand chef’s whites.

Wonder prepares, and in many cases partially cooks, all of its menu items in large commissary facilities, then distributes the individually portioned dishes to its restaurants, where employees can finish preparation in a matter of minutes, with little culinary skill. required. This allows restaurants to rely on what Lore calls “low-skilled labor.”