The growth of Singapore's food services sector has long been reliant on manpower, which has resulted in its labour pool expanding at double the growth rate of the rest of the country's workforce.
Yu Kee Duck and Noodle House, famous for its braised duck rice, wants to lead the flock by growing its business through going digital.
The company, which owns 45 outlets, has set up an online platform for customers to order and pick up the ducks at its branches. It has also installed Global Positioning System tracking systems to improve the efficiency of its delivery systems by planning better routes and reducing the idle time of its drivers.
While Mr Chris Ng, general manager of Yu Kee, said the company has yet to recoup the $60,000 cost of the technological platform, it has saved 5 per cent to 10 per cent on fuel costs and generated significant time savings by improving its delivery processes.
He added that the company will continue to persevere in implementing digital solutions, as it has seen how these have helped to increase sales in other industries such as retail. "The food and beverage industry is a bit resistant to digitisation, but we want to be different, we want to be the pioneer to try out these new technologies."
Mr Ng acknowledged that his industry faces challenges. Yu Kee encountered resistance from older staff when it tried to digitise some operations, such as ordering by using tablets. However, the company overcame this by ensuring that there were Chinese instructions and educating the staff thoroughly on how to use the tablets.
He is pleased to hear of the Government's efforts to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) digitise, and said he will be encouraged to explore more tech solutions, such as keeping track of inventory. He is also keen to work with other SMEs.
"Perhaps SMEs can come together to use and provide services online. With the population becoming more tech-savvy, implementing more technology will only help to boost sales," he said.
Lee Xin En