Inside Mr. Yum’s $100 million global expansion plans
Teo and his co-founders Adrian Osman (COO), Kerry Osborn (CXO) and Andrei Miulescu (CTO) intend to market their product globally. International expansion plans are a key part of its strategy: the startup raised $100 million last year, with Skip Capital founder Kim Jackson and her husband, Atlassian co-founder Scott Farquhar, among his backers, who saw hotel adoption of technology as a lucrative opportunity. .
But Mr Yum is one of two leaders in Australia’s small digital, order and payment market, the other being Sydney-headquartered me&u, run by Dimmi founder Stevan Premutico. Customers would be forgiven for not knowing the difference between the two; their table tags are nearly identical. Both were launched at very similar times, although one is headquartered in Sydney and the other in Melbourne.
Both are in a race to break into the US and UK markets; me&u recently appointed a new CEO (along with a new CFO and two business development managers) allowing Premutico to focus solely on that.
The three respective markets – US, UK and Australia – are “super different”, says Teo: The UK market is “very competitive” and “very mature in its thinking”, with sites taking their time to carefully consider their options in a crowded market. Meanwhile, the US market presents its particular challenges, with its unique customer service and tipping culture, meaning adoption of QR code ordering and payment is “close to zero”.
“They are almost like salespeople in a store. They are personally responsible for upselling customers, getting as much advice as possible. Their work is rewarded in a way that is really different from Australia,” says Teo. But the US labor market is even tighter than ours, she points out. “We will get there.”
International growth isn’t the only way the Teo team plans to spend the recent capital injection: Mr. Yum recently acquired customer relationship management platform MyGuestList. Staff will also be added to the Australian team (Mr. Yum has 260 full-time employees worldwide).
And then there is the simple principle of being careful. “We don’t have to burn it all down…it’s comforting to know that [we’ve] got more capital in the bank than we anticipated and needed.
“We are a really different DNA”
When asked how Teo aimed to gain an edge over me&u, Teo replied that the rivalry had been a net positive.
“Me&u and Mr Yum worked together to change the industry. Not on purpose,” she says. “We help each other educate a market, instead of just trying to take each other away. a zero-sum game.”
But ultimately, Teo distinguishes the two not on product features, but on culture.
“I would say, behind the scenes, we are really different DNA for them. The things they prioritize in the business are different from the things we prioritize. It’s just a way of running companies that are truly worlds apart.
Teo also notes that his counterpart, Premutico, had the advantage of being an established figure in the hospitality industry when he launched me&u.
“We were totally the underdogs, and I think a bit underrated,” Teo said of Mr. Yum’s launch. “We didn’t know anyone in the industry – barely, maybe a few people here and there, but no super meaningful experience or black book to draw on.”
For someone who claims not to cook well, Teo cooks up some pretty ambitious plans.
“Our number one priority is to be the best product in the world and to continue to be at the forefront of innovation.”
The Business Briefing newsletter features top stories, exclusive coverage and expert opinion. Sign up to get it every weekday morning.