TRENTON, N.J. – An innovative new business model that offers restaurant-quality food at your doorstep is growing in New Jersey and gaining legislative support thanks to a bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Michele Matsikoudis and passed by the Assembly Health Committee on Monday.
The bill (A4339) creates a licensing program in the Department of Health for food delivery networks with mobile kitchens – streamlining a process that currently involves other agencies at different levels of government. Companies licensed through the state will be exempt from the food delivery licensing requirements of any municipal, regional, or county government agency.
“Mobile top-chef food delivery services is a novel concept that has really taken off in North Jersey. These companies are meeting a demand from residents who want to eat out, but not go out, all while supporting good-paying jobs. This is a pro-business measure that makes it easier for them to expand their services to other areas and create more employment opportunities in the state,” Matsikoudis (R-Union) explained.
One company launched in Westfield, Wonder, allows customers to order a meal inspired by top restaurants through an app and have the meal delivered and cooked at the consumer’s curb. The company says it has about 1,300 New Jersey employees, but is estimating it will need to add another 500 this year.
“For restaurants that were not permitted to operate normally during the pandemic, takeout and delivery were lifesavers. It is important that we look at the needs of businesses and meet them where they are and get them to where they want to be. This is a great business model that is poised for growth in New Jersey with the right support,” Matsikoudis said.
Food delivery apps had roughly 816 million users in 2017 and approximately 1.96 billion by 2021. Currently valued at $140 billion, the food delivery industry is expected to grow to $320 billion by 2029.