Flash Coffee CEO On Running A Tech-Enabled Coffee Chain In S’pore
If you’ve walked down Robinson Road or One Raffles Place, a bright yellow storefront would likely have caught your eye. Coffee drinkers holding flashy yellow mugs were probably also seen in the vicinity.
Flash Coffee, the popular Indonesian coffee chain, made its debut in Singapore last October and now has five outlets here. It was first launched in January 2020 and now operates 50 locations in Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia.
The tech coffee chain has enjoyed strong traction in its markets despite the pandemic, with the majority of its stores already achieving profitability and demonstrating the success of its business model.
The fast-growing chain was founded by CEO David Brunier and COO Sebastian Hannecker. The duo launched Flash Coffee as a one-stop shop in Jakarta, with the ambition of becoming a fully tech-driven coffee chain.
A cafe that leverages technology
In an interview with Vulcan Post, David shared his observation on the coffee industry. Most of it was not digitized, and many brands served medium-quality coffee at high prices, making it largely unaffordable for mass markets.
He explained that the high prices are mainly due to spacious locations, unoptimized staff and underutilized baristas. It was then that the self-proclaimed gourmet and coffee enthusiast realized there was enormous potential to create a completely redesigned customer experience in the coffee industry.
Right after college, David spent more than four years at European food delivery giant Delivery Hero SE with the goal of starting his own startup.
In 2019, Rocket Internet founders Oliver Samwer and Alexander Kudlich contacted him and asked if he would be willing to start a new business with them. Rocket Internet is a Berlin-based tech incubator, and some of the companies it has helped start include Lazada and Zalora.
“It was also around this time that Luckin Coffee had its $ 4 billion IPO after 18 months of operation, which got me excited and prompted me to take a closer look at the coffee industry. coffee, ”David said.
David describes the day he met co-founder Sebastian as “possibly the most defining day for Flash Coffee,” as the two were successful the moment they met. They had a very similar idea of how they envisioned Flash Coffee.
A year after its launch, Flash Coffee has grown into a full-fledged technology-driven company, “ready to support the launch of hundreds of stores in the coming months and to supply thousands of orders from our customers daily.”
This is done through a myriad of technological processes that the brand has integrated into its operations.
First, its consumer app allows customers to order and pay online, pick up or have their drinks delivered, use Flash’s loyalty program, and participate in challenges.
The app also enables Flash to use e-commerce strategies to proactively acquire and retain customers, which reinvents the way coffee and restaurant businesses grow and grow their customer base.
It also allows Flash to attract customers who would never have gone independently through one of their outlets.
Flash also has a barista app, which bridges the gap between the consumer app and the respective outlets from which consumers order. According to David, it improves the operational efficiency of stores and enables performance-based incentives for its baristas, ensuring an unparalleled customer experience.
In addition to applications, Flash is also working on implementing fully automated inventory counts and purchase orders using sensor technology. In addition, it uses a centralized online configuration and monitoring system to prevent equipment failure and ensure product consistency across different outlets.
Real estate technology software is used to understand customer flow, identify areas of high demand, and determine offline traffic conversion rates.
Not an ordinary brand of coffee
In addition to its technological capabilities, Flash also stands out from other industry players through other metrics.
For example, the brand prides itself on its affordable price. A regular Americano at Flash Coffee costs S $ 2.80 a cup, giving competitors a run for their money.
David told Vulcan Post that many customers are switching from other commercial coffee brands to Flash Coffee because they are looking for better, but more affordable, coffee options to enjoy on a daily basis.
Despite its affordable price, it doesn’t compromise on quality.
The chain’s menu is curated by four champions of internationally renowned baristas, and the brand also aims to provide customers with a coffee experience they typically only get at a specialty cafe.
Additionally, the pandemic has dramatically changed the way consumers order and heavily consume coffee. Many now have their coffee delivered and the Flash Coffee concept is set to the new standard.
Cultivate a coffee empire
Most recently, Flash Coffee raised US $ 15 million in a Series A financing led by global technology investment firm White Star Capital.
Other investors in the round, who brought the company’s total capital to US $ 20 million, were DX Ventures, backed by Delivery Hero, Global Founders Capital and Swiss-based venture capital firm Conny & Co.
The team now plans to launch 300 more outlets by the end of 2021. It is already launching three new outlets per week, but plans to increase the number to 10 per week.
This is fueled by the significant growth in per capita coffee consumption in the region. According to David, Flash Coffee’s total addressable market is worth more than US $ 80 billion.
As coffee education advances in Asia, the demand for higher quality coffee and better options is also increasing rapidly. We will further enable this demand by making premium coffee more accessible to the growing middle class who are largely unable to afford great coffee because of its price.
David Brunier, co-founder and CEO, Flash Coffee
Flash Coffee’s vision is to democratize high-quality coffee and make it accessible to the rising middle class in Asia.
To achieve this goal, the founders plan to build a technology hub to create new brands in the region, best-in-class business processes and a fully integrated value chain including in-house production facilities to further foster upstream integrations.
It also plans to move its regional headquarters to Singapore, where they plan to hire more than 90 new staff by the end of 2021.
“We will further expand our core competencies in technology, operational excellence and branding to be well equipped to outperform the F&B industry in Asia,” said David.
Featured Image Credit: Flash Coffee
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