F&B players gather at boot camp for businessmen

Danny Meyer, founder and chief executive officer of Union Square Hospitality Group, at the event.
Danny Meyer, founder and chief executive officer of Union Square Hospitality Group, at the event.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID
Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth & Ministry of Trade and Industry, at the event.
Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth & Ministry of Trade and Industry, at the event.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID
 Danny Meyer, founder and chief executive officer of Union Square Hospitality Group, at the event.
Danny Meyer, founder and chief executive officer of Union Square Hospitality Group, at the event.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

SINGAPORE - Finding ways to crack the ferociously competitive food and beverage (F&B) scene here has attracted more than 150 company bosses and representatives to a business boot camp on Tuesday (March 27).

The event, which was organised by the Restaurant Association of Singapore, involved breakout workshops and advice from industry leaders about establishing a successful operation.

Ms Sim Ann, the Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, told the gathering at the Star Performing Arts Centre: "As Singapore's F&B sector evolves, every serious business owner needs to keep abreast of the latest industry trends and strategies to remain competitive."

Ms Sim praised companies such as Udders Ice Cream, Song Fa Bak Kut Teh and Polar Puffs & Cakes as examples of businesses with innovative formats and strategies to go international.

"The Government will continue to offer strong support for F&B companies to step up and embrace industry transformation," she added.

"Next month, Enterprise Singapore (ESG) will be officially formed from the merger of Spring Singapore and IE Singapore. For businesses in the food services sector, this means that ESG will offer a single point of contact for advice and support."

Mr Danny Meyer, founder and chief executive of Union Square Hospitality Group, noted that passion and hospitality form the keystones of a successful restaurant.

"What you have here in Singapore is as rich of a multicultural hospitality treasure chest as anywhere in the world," he added.

"You care about using food as tradition to express who you are."

Ms Joyce Lao, 34, head of business development at Paradise Group, which owns restaurants such as Paradise Dynasty, said lessons can be learnt from the growth and global reach of Mr Meyer's restaurant group and applied locally.

"Outward growth is very important because Singapore is a very small country... it's overly saturated (within Singapore) and if we do not look at how we can bring the brands overseas there will always be a limit to whatever we can do," she added.

Other speakers included an engagement manager from the Disney Institute and the director of Google People Services.

The event was supported by Workforce Singapore and Spring Singapore.