Book dishes out tips on running F&B businesses

Speaking at the book launch yesterday were (from left) CEO of Singapore Productivity Centre Michael Tan, Ras' Mr Khoo, Timbre Group's Mr Chia, and McKinsey's Mr Potia.
Speaking at the book launch yesterday were (from left) CEO of Singapore Productivity Centre Michael Tan, Ras' Mr Khoo, Timbre Group's Mr Chia, and McKinsey's Mr Potia.PHOTO: RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION OF SINGAPORE

A new guidebook offering entrepreneurs tips and guidelines on how to set up and run food and beverage (F&B) businesses was launched yesterday.

The book, entitled Turning Passion Into Profits, provides statistics on the industry, such as operating expenses, and suggests business formats, such as grab-and-go kiosks and vending machine businesses, that entrepreneurs can employ.

The book, which is published by the Restaurant Association of Singapore (RAS), also includes tips for conducting market studies to assess demand and the degree of competition to identify consumer segments, and to work out the required capital, projected profit margins and breakeven points.

RAS honorary secretary Andrew Khoo said at the launch yesterday: "This book offers alternative solutions and methods to making inroads into our market."

Head of McKinsey's Asia Consumer Insights Centre Ali Potia said the food services sector has been "extremely competitive and fairly saturated in recent years".

A study by Spring Singapore found that only 60 per cent of food service establishments survive their first five years of operation.

About three in 10 F&B businesses closed down each year from 2010 to 2014.

Dr Koh Poh Koon, Minister of State for Trade and Industry, said: "(The guidebook) provides a systematic approach to help entrepreneurs assess the business viability of their ideas.

"This will shorten the learning curve for newcomers and improve the chances of success in the business."

The book launch was followed by presentations by Mr Potia and Mr Edward Chia, managing director of food company Timbre Group. Mr Potia said at the launch held at Timbre+, a gastro park managed by Timbre Group near Queenstown, that it was important for entrepreneurs to compete innovatively.

"It is important to think of ways to break orthodoxy. For instance, on Jurong Island where there may not be that many cafeterias, consider using a food truck that takes supply to where there is demand."

The book is available at the RAS and National Environmental Agency headquarters and five SME centres. An online copy is on the RAS website: http://www.rasmentorshipforum.com

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 15, 2016, with the headline 'Book dishes out tips on running F&B businesses'. Print Edition | Subscribe