Parliament: Target for half of all F&B outlets to use digital technology, payments by 2020

A customer paying with Android Pay, Google’s mobile payment and digital wallet service, at a ToastBox outlet.
A customer paying with Android Pay, Google’s mobile payment and digital wallet service, at a ToastBox outlet. ST PHOTO: TREVOR TAN

SINGAPORE - 0ne in five food and beverage outlets - or around 1,400 establishments - in Singapore have adopted digital solutions to improve their productivity, as of March 2017.

And the Government is setting a target for 50 per cent of all F&B outlets - including coffee shops and hawker stalls - to adopt digital solutions by 2020, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Sim Ann told Parliament on Monday (May 8).

She was replying to Nominated MP Randolph Tan, who asked about factors preventing a large-scale adoption of digital ordering and cashless payment systems for small food stalls, such as those in coffee shops and hawker centres.

Assoc Prof Tan also asked how the Food Services Industry Transformation Map will push for greater use of such labour-saving technologies by these small businesses.

Ms Sim noted that factors such as habit, cost of adoption and lack of inter-operability continue to affect the take up of digital technologies, but there have been initiatives to address these challenges.

"First, for greater convenience of use, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), along with other agencies, is working with payment service providers to make essential payment modes available in a single device," she said.

A stall offering cashless payment often has to operate several different payment devices due to a lack of integration between credit card and NETS payment, for instance, creating additional cost burden.

To offset the adoption costs, both the National Environment Agency and Spring Singapore provide grants for digital service solutions. The two agencies are also working with the MAS to explore using models which do not require separate equipment or those that use existing equipment.

"This could include the use of QR codes for payment," Ms Sim noted.

Meanwhile, the Government is directly promoting adoption of such technology, and last year launched two tenders for productive coffee shops in Tampines and Choa Chu Kang - where productivity requirements are a consideration.

"More productive coffee shops will be launched, and we have set a target to have 100 of these by 2020", she said, adding that half of all stalls are expected to have adopted digital services by then.