Fees for trays not the solution

Charging a rental fee for trays at hawker centres could cause havoc in terms of administering the system (Charge nominal fee for trays at hawker centres, by Mr Damian Ng Swee Beng; Sept 19).

Using money to solve the problem is akin to charging for plastic bags or implementing a sugar tax, when the root cause lies somewhere else.

Cleanliness and sanitation must be the top priority for hawker centre and foodcourt operators.

Retrieving trays with soiled crockery is the primary responsibility of operators in self-service canteens.

It is ineffective to employ fancy robots in places with high traffic and narrow aisles.

The industry should not look at profit alone and refrain from outsourcing simple cleaning functions to contractors.

It should use the opportunity to offer jobs to the unemployed. Some training and a monthly pay of $2,000 could attract younger workers and allow for the deployment of more part-timers at peak periods.

Rubbish collection, toilet cleaning and house cleaning are noble and respectable vocations. Workers can earn more than $4,500 per month in the United States and Australia.

Hawker centre and foodcourt operators here have to comply with the Code of Practice on Environmental Health on cleanliness and ratio of space to seating capacity.

Making paying customers return trays seems to contravene the Code of Practice as well as business ethics.

A good layout will help operators attain a high standard of food hygiene and cleanliness on the premises. The industry should employ technology and innovation to manage problems.

Choping seats becomes unnecessary if sufficient seating is provided for customer turnover.

If enough trained manpower can provide quality service, is there a need for tray return?

The industry should employ prudent management skills to solve operational problems.

Let us make dining at hawker centres and foodcourts a pleasant experience with reasonable service quality so customers can enjoy authentic local food.

Paul Chan Poh Hoi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 23, 2017, with the headline 'Fees for trays not the solution'. Print Edition | Subscribe