Sometimes, the darkest days provide glittering opportunities.

As the live entertainment and hospitality industries awaken from an enforced slumber, one Australian startup moved into a sweet, strategic position.

Mr Yum, a Melbourne-based tech business that specialises in QR Code food ordering at pubs and restaurants, is applying the same technology for live concerts and music festivals.

If the proof is in the pudding, then a handful of artists and music industry players have had a taste.

ARIA Award-winning electronic music trio Rüfüs Du Sol, along with Untitled Group, UNIFIED Music Group, San Antonio Spurs and Boomers star guard Patty Mills, and others, have joined other investors to the tune of $11 million in post seed funding for Mr Yum, a vote of confidence that deepens the connection between concerts and hospitality and provides a potential solution for festivals and concerts as they stride into a paperless future.

The investment round was led by Brisbane venture firm TEN13, with AirTree. As part of the financing, lead investor TEN13’s Stew Glynn recently joined Mr Yum’s board.

Rüfüs Du Sol

Apart from facilitating food and drink orders, Mr Yum’s codes can help sell merch and other event related products.

For maximum bang for buck, the same QR code can be physically posted around the venue, and on tickets.

Also, event organisers can presell merch with the code so it’s available for collection at showtime, or have it delivered after the concert.

Since the health crisis was called back in March 2020, Mr Yum has seen a 27-times increase in its business, a spokesman tells TIO.

Today, the business employs 65 full-time staff and processes hundreds of millions in food and beverage transactions, with over 10 million global users.

And the 1,100 venues that use its tech have reported a 20 – 40% increase in customer spending.

Mr Yum boasts contracts with such brands as Sydney Airport, Forum Theatre, Yours and Owls Festival and Magic Mike Live (Australia and United States), and international venues such as Sahara Casino in Las Vegas and Clapham Leisure Group in the U.K.

TIO caught up with Kim Teo, CEO and co-founder at Mr Yum, for a glimpse into the future.

Mr Yum’s Kim Teo

TIO: Congrats on your growing business. How did you get these investors over the line? Was there a magic ingredient in your product?

Kim Teo: Thank you. As a team, we’re hugely passionate about the entertainment industry and have been supporting this category since well before Covid.

For example, we started working with Live Nation in Australia and New Zealand months before Covid started. Most products in our space exclusively cater for hospitality venues — bars, cafes, restaurants — which we do as well, but it was our track record in entertainment that attracted entertainment investors to join the journey.

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Mr Yum

Several key players from the music industry are on board. What applications do you see for the music industry.

We’re working with many theatres, music festivals and arenas now.

There are two main applications in these contexts. Firstly, an exclusive-type experience with VIPs can order their food and drinks to their seat, booth or table.

The other model is punters being able to pre-order for click and collect.

They order and pay and receive an SMS when it’s ready to pickup. This increases average spend for event organisers and reduces lines, congestion and friction for the consumers.

One day — touch wood — this pandemic will be behind us. Will the product still matter to consumers and the industry in a post-COVID world?

Over the past months, we’ve seen Australia normalise, far ahead of many other countries around the world. We’ve been excited to see how much mobile ordering behaviour stayed strong; it’s here to stay.

Venues have a more efficient and sustainable model, and the friction has been removed for consumers.

When you order a beer on your phone and it’s delivered to your seat or table a couple minutes later, it’s very hard to go back to lining up at a bar.