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Mom´s Cooking [Update 15/08/15]

A platform where mothers can sell typical food and above all healthy to people who work and have no time to prepare your meal.

Photo of Edgar De la Cruz

Written by

Who is the target audience for your idea and how does it inspire the end user to lead a healthier life?

The target is young and adults working and unemployed mothers of different races. With this idea on the one hand you could create a community that helps people to have good health through good nutrition and on the other hand would help mothers by giving them a job and pay for what they know and do cooking.

Most middle-aged people have an accelerated way of life: living alone, working most part of the day and when having free time trying to make the most out doing recreational activities or just hanging out. Most of us do not have time to cook so we eat badly, usually, fast food. We cook some healthy food, just after have eaten so bad for a long time that we begin to miss homemade food, healthy and cooked with love by our mothers.

It is well known that in almost every culture in the world, the richest and healthy food is what mothers cooked for us at home. On the other hand there are a large number of mothers who for various reasons are unemployed and are looking for paid work to help their families. They are mothers with enough time to cook tasty and healthy food for people like us who have an accelerated life style.

What if we put together these two problems and provide a solution to improve healthy food intake in people?

The idea

My idea is a platform called Mom's Cooking in which mothers of different races can sell ethnic homemade and healthy food for people who work and have no time to prepare our food or for people who miss home cooking. This idea solves the two problems raised above, on one hand the problem of eating healthy is solved and on the other hand we generate a source of income for mothers who require money taking advantage of something that already do, cooking.

The emotional added is the value we place on healthy food homemade and made with love.

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How does it work? Description and Implementation [Update 15/08/15]

Mom's Cooking works through a website and an app (you can choose which you want).

If you're a user all you have to do is: 

1. Enter the platform and register with your name, phone number and email or connect with Facebook.

2. Enter a payment way.

3. Look on the map the nearest mothers to your location (you can see her name and what's she make for eating by clicking her photo on the map) you can also find the kind of food you could possibly want (e.g: Mexican, Colombian, etc. ).

4. Finally with one click notify the mother you selected to go on his way home for her to have your food ready as soon as you arrive.

Once you registered on the platform you can get benefits such as discounts on your first 2 meals, tips for choosing your next meal and if you invite friends to join can get free meals.

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If you're a mother all you have to do is:

1. Enter the platform and register with your name, phone number and email or connect with Facebook.

2. Enter an account to receive your payments.

3. Enter your address to be located on the map.

4. Finally upload your healthy food made with love. Easy, no?.

Once registered on the platform, mothers can be qualified by its seasoning, cleaning and treat, this will help users know how are qualified. As a multicultural platform mothers also receive advice and tips for Cooking Mom's team on how to deal with different cultures, how to saving, topics to talk, etcetera. This will help make your service more effective and create a better environment.

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Why go to dinner at the home of a mother and not have a delivery service? In my culture like that of many others the food time is a meeting point where you share a little chat and a family time, part of the intent of this idea it is to give the emotional value to eat at home to the people and not only provide service preparation of healthy food. Go to the house of a mother to eat creates an environment that allows you to: talk, work cleared and have a moment of relaxation where you can meet other people who are also using the platform another benefit is that the move you perform a minimum physical activity and you get distracted.

You do not have to worry about the mothers certifications or if the products that are cooking are of good quality , the mother will be certified by an ally, Whole Foods Market that already serves food and has a structure to facilitate certification of mothers. What they get in return? exposure and more income, all the ingredients to cooking, the raw material such as meat, vegetables, fruits and everything needed for cooking will be bought by mothers there. Why Whole Foods? because they share the vision of healthy and wholesome food, they have excellent quality standards and also have a great infrastructure that can be used to scale this idea throughout the country.

How to boost the different cuisines of different nationalities?

It is well known that every culture has special dishes on certain dates and celebrations so I take the opportunity to boost the moms food, for example in Mexico during the festivities of September 15th (Independence Day) the pozole and other dishes are prepared so during previous days we will communicate this celebration and will promote the food of this country (and so on with other cultures). On the one hand users who have not tried this food have the opportunity to do so and on the other hand is an emotional hook for users who live away from home because they can eat this special food from their country made at home by one mother and accompanied by more people.

How do you communicate? [Update 15/08/15]

Create two types of content, the first serve to talk about how the platform and its benefits as well as the user experience with this, the second will serve to share the stories of mothers work, share recipes and tips while retaining the emotional value the homemade food. This content will be served in a Facebook fanpage shaped posts and in a Youtube channel shaped in a video content, both channels with the name of Mom's Cooking. Twitter works as a service channel, here we will answer questions and possible problems of people who use the platform.

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Users can share your content on social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) with the hashtags #MomsCooking and #LoveHomemadeFood, this content will be reflected in a special section on Mom's Cooking platform.

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The sponsors of the challenge (Telemundo and NBC) [Update 15/08/15] can help make this idea came to more people, how? Can be from the simplest way, give diffusion for Mom´s Cooking in their digital channels (facebook, twitter, websites) or a more complex, providing spaces in news to talk about this new initiative, interviewing mothers in the familiar programs, mentioned in the telenovelas and designating spoke persons of different nationalities (Telemundo has many Latin artists) to be the standard bearers and talk about the platform.

To end the solidary part, Mom's cooking will donate a percentage of monthly income to foundations and organizations to feed people without a home.

Some possible answers:

1. Do I have to move much to eat in the house of a mother?

The idea is that you can easily walk to the house of the mother to choose in a approximate time of 10 minutes, maximum 15.

2. What is the cost of food?

Depends on the dish, not all meals are the same and require different ingredients that make food costs a little more or a little less, the intention is to keep costs affordable for any young person can access healthy food made with mother love.

3. Does the platform requires a monthly payment as Spotify or Netflix?

No, none. The platform only performs the collection (depending on the payment method you choose) when you place an order and this is confirmed by the mother.

I'm sure with this idea can make a real change in the consumption of health food and in the life of the people using the service, the mothers and users.

What skills, input or guidance are you keen to connect with from the OpenIDEO community to help you build out or refine your idea?

Helping with planning, strategy and creativity, helping to define a consumer journey from start to the end of the execution of the idea. Help make this idea workable, feasible and desirable I think it's an idea that could be a business model for people and really help to solve a problem.

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual

Evaluation results

12 evaluations so far

1. Can you see this idea fitting into your daily life?

Yes, I think so - 58.3%

I'm not sure - 16.7%

No, I don't think so - 25%

2. Do you think this idea will help people lead healthier lives?

Yes, I think so - 41.7%

I'm not sure - 50%

No, I don't think so - 8.3%


Join the conversation:

Photo of Kate Rushton

I really see the potential in this one. I would use it for sure!

Photo of Edgar De la Cruz

Thank you for your words, I'm glad to know that you like this solution :)

Photo of Paricha Duangtaweesub

Edgar - I really love the visuals and user map that you updated. You've definitely answered some of the community questions, with the Whole Foods partnership and highlighting the cultural and emotional value of your platform. You've also touched on storytelling and sustaining long-term healthy habits for the busy user - I look forward to hearing more (and using this platform!). Best wishes over the next few days :)

Photo of Edgar De la Cruz


Thank you very much for your help, your feedback helped me think a solution to the problem that previously had the idea. I'm definitely very happy with the result.

Greetings and thanks for the wishes!

Photo of Karen Sorensen

Hi Edgar-- So is this "Uber for Meals"? I like the shared economy aspect to this idea. Heck, I would for sure use it for myself. I can actually say this type of activity is already taking place. I live next door to a house that is rented by a corporation for its construction workers. Every weekday at 6 pm, a car drives up, and unloads food and brings it into the house for the workers. It is cheaper for the corporation, since at $50 a day for 10 people (Yes they have 10 people living in a 2 bedroom house, they have bunk bed's in the garage) it is cheaper for them to do it this way. The women has her kids with her and the family unloads the car and picks up the containers from the day before. I am sure this is not a restaurant that delivering but a "mom" trying to make an extra buck. Good luck with your idea! Karen

Photo of Paricha Duangtaweesub

Hi Edgar! As someone who lives away from home, I love Mom's Cooking and I really miss mom's cooking. Congrats on making it to the next stage! I recently went through Refinement myself as part of the Renewable Energy Challenge, and the OpenIDEO team recommended that I reach out to you to share my experience and provide guidance on the process. Feel free to reach out to me anytime! Now on to my comments...

Mom's cooking is a lovely idea and you did a fantastic job summarizing the pain points on your users' part - the busy lifestyle and mom's unused free time. In fact, Mom's Cooking parallel the Munchery's line of reasoning pretty well if you substitute the Chefs for Moms (whom we both know are basically Chefs with capital C!). What is unique about this, I think, is the emotional and cultural ties that you are eliciting in your users – you mentioned that briefly when you say that the richest and healthiest food comes from home-cooked meals. I believe this is something you can play up even more.

From reading your post and all the comments, I feel that you have a lot of questions to answer already and there is great potential in the idea to scale. Echoing the other comments and adding my own thoughts, here’s a few things that you could think about as you prepare for the next stage:

1. Food safety: Clearly, food safety is the number one concern for the idea. Seeing the number of startups in this area though, I think you can definitely think laterally – safety certifications as OpenIDEO team mentioned, partnerships with existing distributors, or having moms cook at your user’s home. Even better, it could be worth thinking about building communities around your product to help sidestep this regulation, which brings me to…

2. Emotional and cultural values: What you can leverage here is the not just two groups of users with complimentary needs but the added emotional value from involving busy, young professionals (who probably live away from home) and older, wiser – perhaps nostalgic? – mothers. I don’t know about other people but eating home-cooked meals means family time when I get to see and talk to my family after a busy day. Food in my culture (I’m Thai) is a huge part of our day and essentially creates camaraderie and familial ties. With that in mind, is there a way to leverage that beyond a transaction of food and money? This might be where OpenIDEO’s suggestion of WiseGranny comes in – perhaps you can, starting with home-cooked meals, create a community for young and older adults to come together over meals. Additionally, imagine how this might also solve your problem of safety certification – I know that you can rent out kitchen space for cooking for commercial purposes and if you find close-knit ethnic/cultural communities, perhaps your solution is a centralized location for cooking? Farm Hill, a startup that offers organic, healthy food delivery service started off this way as well ( - I might be able to put you in touch with the founders if you are interested.

3. User Map: I like how you lay out the discrete steps in the users’ interaction with your product and I think one potentially helpful addition to it would be to associate emotions, triggers, or failure modes during the process. For example, during lunch, your user might get hungry and have to sign in so your notification can come in around lunch breaks. Or that people might not complete a transaction because they don’t know new ‘mothers’ on the platform – what do you do then? It would help everyone else not familiar with your idea – myself including – really understand and LIVE your idea.

4. Last but not least, it’s great that you’ve considered the role that NBC and Telemundo would play – you really exhausted your resources on this one! One exercise I would do myself is ask: what do these two companies offer that no other company or institution can and what are the very limits of their capability to help you? You are not asking for millions of dollars, but you are figuring out what is unique about them that can help you on your way.

I hope this has been helpful! When you look forward, do you see a food delivery business or a community-building platform through home-cooked meals? I would just leave you with this – thanks for reading and again feel free to reach out anytime.


Photo of Shane Zhao

Thanks for the thoughtful feedback Paricha! Edgar, Paricha is a great OpenIDEO collaborator and one of our top idea winners from a past challenge. We'd love it if you might reach out to him for feedback as you continue to iterate on your idea!

Photo of H Mack

I was reading the comments about the food safety issue- what about mobile food vans? Like the ones at festivals or soccer matches. I am sure they need to be regulated a ton too- but they are mobile and they can be shared by people (i.e the cooks) once they are trained. Maybe the issue of delivery is a problem (I am guessing you can't just rock up anywhere and park your van), and same problem for location..
What about getting users to sign away different rights about food safety or suing? Or if it is registered as a community interest group or something funny like that maybe there is a way round it. Both of these suggestions aren't feasible in terms of scaling.
I really appreciate that my perspective is skewed from living in Indonesia where there aren't really any laws about food or food safety..and actually this idea is how people eat all the time..just little restaurants out the front of people's homes. It's a really nice vibe and it seems sad that the idea might be crippled by regulations, albeit important ones.

Photo of OpenIDEO

Congratulations on making it to the Refinement Phase of the Healthy Lives Challenge Edgar!
In addition to the strong community building aspect of this idea, we loved how Mom’s Cooking has the potential to help local businesses and entrepreneurial households.

In Refinement Phase, we’re looking forward to how you might incorporate some of the feedback from the OpenIDEO community to develop the food share component of your idea. In particular, we’d love for you to think about how the issue of food safety can be addressed. For example, can there be a safety certification program for moms who are interested in serving home cooking to strangers? Also, we’d love for you to continue exploring how users can share their personal stories and recipes with each other. In going forward, we’d love for you to develop some user journeys and scenarios to help us understand how this idea can play out in real life. Perhaps you might consider creating an Experience Map to describe some of the proposed activities you've outlined. A template of the Experience Map can be downloaded here:

We also think your idea could work well in tandem with these two ideas: Meal for 5: and WiseGranny -
Given collaboration is the name of the game here at OpenIDEO, we hope you might reach out and collaborate to grow each other's concepts!

Photo of Chris Lee

Hi Edgar,

As I read this, I got concerned about food safety and how fast a program would, pardon the pun, go down the toilet if food poisoning showed up.

How about modifying the program to involve providing facilities, training and basic supervision to allow several moms to work together to prepare food? That could be more efficient through pooling of costs and it could be safer though having more eyes and regular inspections. It could allow moms to service more customers, increasing their income potential. It could also provide a social aspect for the moms to make this about fun as well as about work.

Photo of Shane Zhao

Great feedback and suggestions Chris. The issue of food safety is definitely something to consider. Edgar, I was particularly intrigued with how you might leverage the use of media channels. There seems to be a lot of potential in sharing the stories of mothers on the Mom's Kitchen platform. e.g. creating Youtube-like channels for mothers who can host their own cooking shows, food vlogs, healthy tips, etc. Perhaps this can also generate income for mothers if real food preparation is an issue. Here's a like-minded idea that you'll be interested in checking out:

Photo of Edgar De la Cruz

Hi Chris,

I read your feedback and answer your food safety concern maybe that we could add a partner to this idea as a supermarket that can provide quality raw material (fruits, vegetables, meat, etcetera.) for mothers.

In response to your other comment, remember that most mothers cook at home for their families, it is an activity already undertaken and invest in infrastructure to make a great comunal kitchen maybe shorten the route of the idea. I think an interesting point of this idea (from my point of view) is that you can solve a problem of two types of people, on the one hand people do not eat healthy and on the other hand people who need extra money without investing in infrastructure, examples of this can be Airbnb and Uber.

For now Im thinking in possible rewards to make this more interesting, thank you very much for your contribution, Chris.

Photo of Edgar De la Cruz


Thanks for sharing the link. With respect to your comment you are right, use youtube or other means to share can have more people join the project and can be alternative income, now that you put on the table the content can living in other points of contact and not just on the Internet, mothers may be invited to the tv kitchen shows to give advices, occurred to me that with all the knowledge of mothers on recipes, seasonings and other kitchen subjects could publish a book (physical and digital) learning to cook with their advice and give them their share of sales.

Photo of Miriam Gubovicova

Hi Edgar,

this is a great idea, but as Chris said, the food safety might really become an issue. I am speaking from my own experience. I had a little start-up catering company in San Francisco that provided healthy home cooked meals. The problem I encountered was that the food cannot really be "home-cooked". You are not allowed to cook at home and distribute it to other homes even with paperwork in place. It needs to be a professional kitchen.

That being said however, I have a suggestion to twist your idea a little. People could actually hire mothers or women with no work to come to their homes and cook for their family while they are busy at work. It could be a platform or an app that would allow you to book your own personal chef in a way. Mothers would be able to create their own profiles and showcase their cooking skills, cuisine, etc. They could communicate with the client and send them shopping list, or even offer to go shopping for them?

Good luck with your project!


Photo of Allen A

I agree there are food safety concerns ... to me this is the AirBnB for meals. I forget his name, the guy from lowercase capital that turned down a chance to invest in AirBnB because he had concerns that "someone would get murdered." Anyway, "food safety" can be addressed ... figuring out how to "buy healthy homecooked meals" and deliver them is an interesting concept. Actually, I think there are already businesses that do that. Let me do some research.

Yes there are a lot of businesses in this space already, (here are a few):

I don't know if any of them are making any money. Competition is indicative of demand ... so I like the idea :)

Photo of Allen A

"Airbnb for meals" has some legal issues to overcome. You'll need a lawyer (and a lot time to research) rules/regulations/licensing requirements for each state/county/city. The food services is regulated in the United States. If you're a personal or private chef, the food must be prepared in the clients home. If you deliver the food, then you're considered a caterer, and depending on the location are subject to health inspections (kitchens must be approved), catering license, etc.

We need lateral thinkers, to redefine the problem/solution in such a way to workaround the legal regulations, etc

Have the clients pick up the food? Or prepare "ready made meals", but the clients cook them... We just need lateral thinking to figure out the puzzle of rules/regulations around food services.

Photo of Emily Lozano

I love this idea! It seems to fall in line with websites like TaskRabbit and HelloFresh. And it gives older citizens who may have trouble finding work or just need something to fill their days (retired people) some way to add meaning to their days and bring in some money. It may also help people form relationships in their neighborhoods. Also, eating healthy is easier if someone else is making the choices and the food.

Photo of Edgar De la Cruz

Emily, thanks for your feedback I think this idea can be adopted easily for the people because can start earning money doing something you already do and most importantly resolve a real problem of people.