Flashfood.Shop: Self-Service Retailing of Fresh Meals in China
On April 1, 2017, Flashfood.Shop, a new brand in self-service retailing of fresh meals, was founded in Dalian, Liaoning province, China. The self-service retail platform provided office workers with affordable and convenient fresh meals 24 hours per day. Flashfood.Shop used intelligent self-catering machines as its physical sales terminals and it used an intelligent self-catering system as its online service interface. By the end of June 2018, Flashfood.Shop had launched 51 catering machines, where customers could buy fresh meals. The company had 14 catering suppliers, 135 different types of catering products, and over 500,000 customers. However, along with its success, Flashfood.Shop incurred a loss in five consecutive quarters. After its establishment, the only source of income for the company was the sale of its catered products. However, operating costs were high due to the instability of the hardware and software systems, as well as low operating efficiency and other factors. Faced with these issues, the start-up's founder and general manager was wondering how to resolve his company's ongoing losses. Yibo Lyu is affiliated with Dalian University of Technology. Shaojie Han is affiliated with Dalian University of Technology.