These 3 Friends Created S’pore’s First Vending Machine For Wagyu Beef
Have you ever wanted Wagyu beef or shabu shabu in the wee hours of the night?
Singaporeans Mervin Tham, Johnson Ng, and Sean Goh once craved decadent meat in the middle of the night, but realized there was no way to buy it.
No restaurant was open at that time and any delivery would take at least a day to arrive.
Wagyu’s loving trio were convinced that they weren’t the only Singaporeans facing this problem.
They then thought about how they could provide good quality cuts of beef anytime Singaporeans looking for a quick beef fix.
This led to the birth of EasyMeat SG – a local startup that operates vending machines that distribute Australian Wagyu beef.
Singapore’s first Wagyu vending machine
There are already a variety of vending machines in Singapore that dispense products ranging from free samples to face masks.
However, Johnson told Vulcan Post that EasyMeat’s vending machines are the first in Singapore to distribute fresh meat.
A 200g steak costs S $ 25, while 250g of sliced meat shabu shabu will cost you S $ 19.
The co-founder said the meat is frozen once cut to ensure it is stored properly. All meat is also individually vacuum packed to minimize exposure to the elements.
The temperatures inside the machine are also very important, and the team make sure that the cold chain is maintained at all times so that frozen meat reaches the dining tables safely.
Despite their commitment to keeping meat fresh, Johnson said the team has seen many skeptics who tend to believe frozen meat is not fresh.
The biggest fear for us at the beginning was whether people would buy premium meat from a vending machine.
Johnson Ng, co-founder of EasyMeat SG
“The biggest fear for us early on was whether people would buy premium meat from a vending machine,” Johnson said.
When conducting market research through interviews, the team received mixed responses from respondents.
They still decided to take a leap of faith as they realized there was a market for their products when they noticed that customers were buying at 3 a.m., which validated the problem they had. decided to resolve initially.
That said, educating clients and correcting myths and misconceptions remains an important and difficult task for the three co-founders.
Up and running in just two months
Starting a business is never easy, and even more so for the co-founders of EasyMeat, who run the startup in addition to their full-time jobs.
“We do everything,” the co-founders candidly said when asked what each of their individual roles in the startup was.
They believe the quick launch of their first machine is a testament to their teamwork. The first vending machine was rolled out in November 2020, less than two months after the idea was originally conceived.
It was like putting a puzzle together in a short time. We have faced barriers, large and small, and it takes a lot of trust, collaboration and teamwork.
Johnson Ng, co-founder of EasyMeat SG
As of mid-December of last year, EasyMeat had launched two more machines and is set to launch five more before the upcoming Chinese New Year.
By the end of 2021, the team hopes to expand to at least 10 to 15 machines.
Their machines are currently located at Sembawang Mall, Simon Plaza, and Thomson Plaza.
This month, it will also unveil a new online store, which would integrate EasyMeat’s offline and online experience.
According to Mervin, the online store will complement the vending machines, providing the team with data on which products customers prefer.
The long-term goal of the co-founders is to make Wagyu beef and other high-quality types of meats available to everyone, as and when they need it.
Ideally, we would like our vending machines to cover the island just like the supermarkets have done so everyone has access to top quality meats.
Sean Goh, co-founder of EasyMeat SG
Featured Image Credit: EasyMeat SG
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