Automation needed to ensure cleanliness in food centres

Dirty plates and cutlery left at tables are a common sight at many food centres here. The writer says automation could help to improve cleanliness.
Dirty plates and cutlery left at tables are a common sight at many food centres here. The writer says automation could help to improve cleanliness.ST FILE PHOTO

I was shocked by the state of a very popular food centre in the Rochor area recently.

A rough count found that at least one-third of the tables were full of used tableware and cutlery.

Many food centres in other parts of the island also have the same cleanliness problem.

Stallholders, management committees and the authorities should ramp up efforts to make our food centres cleaner.

Perhaps the cleaning of bowls and cutlery should be automated.

The initial investment may be big, but the returns would be worth it, especially if we take into account the additional business that would be generated with the improvement in cleanliness.

Let the stakeholders decide what sort of automation they want and how to share the cost.

The Government could pave the way by initiating a feasibility study and subsidising part of the investment. It could also make automation a requirement in future renovation plans for food centres that have a serious cleanliness problem.

Albert Ng Ya Ken

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 28, 2017, with the headline 'Automation needed to ensure cleanliness in food centres'. Print Edition | Subscribe