For hungry L.A. diners unable to decide between the Caliente Burger from Tommy’s in Van Nuys and Yukdaehang from a Korean restaurant in Los Angeles, Mustard may be the perfect video condiment. The Mustard app allows users to browse, compare, select, order, and have their food delivered from a vast cornucopia of eat-it-now options. And one cannot deny the mukbang element of watching others salivate over their spicy ramen bowls.
“People are discouraged by the food ordering process,” Mustard CEO Diana Might said in an interview with The Spoon. “The format of menu ordering is outdated.”
Inspired by an uptick in food delivery during the pandemic, Might and her co-founder Chief Product Officer David Currant recognized an opportunity to give social media users an easy soup-to-nuts process to order food. It starts with a video showcasing a given menu item and ends with the ability to select a delivery service to bring it to their home in short order. The videos are uploaded by what Might call “influencers” to the Mustard platform where the content is “Mustardized” and then, for now, returned to the author for uploading to social media. The result is a clip that allows the customer to see the duck meat, Wagyu beef, or bagel up close and personal with a narration from the video creator. An icon allows the viewer to click and order what they see on the screen.
Currant explains that Mustard’s technology uses several distinct data feeds that show the restaurant’s location, menu item, price, and delivery providers. Not willing to divulge the company’s secret sauce, which combines these varied data points, Currant acknowledges the use of computer vision and that the company’s platform is extensible to other areas such as travel.
Mustard is off to a good start, recently securing a $1 million investment from Operate Studio, Newfund, Great North Ventures, and Fund LA. “Mustard is disrupting the food industry by connecting food content consumption and IRL experiences together,” says Newfund’s Christy Wang, who believes Mustard has the potential to dominate the food vertical in the social video app space. “Food videos are mostly viewed and loved on social media, yet they are not actional and informative. Mustard closes the loop by integrating the ordering and booking process right at the moment of food content consumption, providing actionable menus and interactive food experiences within one video.”
Currently, the revenue model rewards content creators with a small affiliate fee, with Mustard getting paid based on the delivery service and their special promotions and offers. At this point, Might explains, the restaurants become the beneficiaries of the app but do not pay anything for the customer acquisition. Soon, the CEO says, that could change.
The company hopes to make its service even more user-friendly by eliminating the friction in the delivery process. Now, an influencer uploads its video to Mustard to be mustardized (tagged with price, restaurant location, delivery service, etc..). The same influencer uploads it to social media—most often Tik-Tok or Instagram. Might says it won’t be long before videos can be sent directly to Tik-Tok from the Mustard platform.
In theory, Mustard is available worldwide but is focused on the 8,000 restaurants in the Los Angeles area with more than 1,000 active users. The initial goal is to expand into other parts of southern California and grow organically throughout the United States.