Staff get a pay raise and safer jobs too!
Words by Julia Chan
Nestled inside the SIA Group Sports Club (726 Upper Changi Road East, Singapore 486046), D’Cuisines Pte Ltd is a Halal-certified restaurant which specialises in providing North and South Indian, Chinese, Western, and Malay Cuisines. Besides its restaurant business, the restaurant also serves as an attractive venue for clients who wish to hold weddings or corporate events away from the hustle and bustle of city life or conventional ballrooms.
Boasting a wide array of palatable cuisines, some of their signature dishes include curry fish head, salted baked chicken, mutton dum briyani, butter chicken, and black pepper crab. Even though running a successful restaurant is rewarding, there were productivity challenges the company had to address.
Challenges of operating an F&B business
These challenges were especially evident during the peak hours where the wait staff had to shuttle continuously between the kitchen and the tables, while attending to any ad-hoc requests at the same time. With limited manpower, the staff found it extremely challenging to constantly look out for any walk-in customers who were waiting outside the restaurant. Engaging these waiting customers was crucial as customers who were kept waiting for a long period of time would just walk away, thereby losing business opportunities for the restaurant.
When the wait staff could do so, the staff would make efforts to share on-going promotions and address any queries that were asked by the customers in order to provide good customer service. Despite their best efforts, the drawback was that there were delays in serving the prepared food from the kitchen to dine-in customers due to a lack of manpower.
Processes were paper-based, such as physical menus, order-taking, and customer data collection for marketing and customer service purposes. This meant that more time was required and sometimes inaccuracies would arise.
Making jobs easier, safer and smarter
With 31 employees, of which more than half are Singaporean, and more than a third are aged 55 and above, D’Cuisines looked into ways to make their employees’ jobs easier, safer and smarter.
Mr Clifford Tan, Director of D’Cuisines, said, “In the F&B industry, staff turnover is very high. We decided to invest in people to retain them with us, so we can save more time, more money, and it will create ease for the restaurant’s daily operations.”
Fortunately, the company found a productivity solution with support from NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) via its WorkPro Job Redesign initiative.
D’Cuisines explored using a smart restaurant robot to enhance productivity and relieve some of the manual labour that was unproductive for employees. Besides helping to carry heavy and piping hot dishes from the kitchen to the customers’ tables, the robot is also able to assist in customer service like displays promotions and hot selling items.
“Most of our employees are mature workers and they are unable to carry dishes from the kitchen to customer’s tables due to long distances they need to walk, and dishes are sizzling hot too. We deployed this robot to smoothly bring out dishes from the kitchen to the customer’s table, and either the service staff or customer could just take the food out from the robot to place on the table,” Tan explained.
Ms Sim Kim Soon, a waitress, was pleased with the robot. She said, “I feel it is very easy to do my job now, no need to carry heavy plates.”
Using technology to fill in the manpower gap
The smart robot is also able to attend to waiting customers at the entrance by displaying the list of current promotions and allowing them to print out the relevant vouchers they wish to use. Subsequently, if any of the customers wishes to enter the restaurant for a meal, they will be welcomed and brought to an available table by the robot.
The robot will display the e-menu for customers to place their orders. All that the customers need to do is to scan the codes on the robot to place orders. Once the orders are placed, they will be sent to the kitchen for processing instantly. The robot is also capable of collecting customers’ data in the event they are interested in receiving any marketing or promotional materials from the restaurant in the future.
With the robot, only three instead of five wait staff are needed, and the extra manpower could be redeployed to other roles.
“The robot helps to save time, and wait staff won’t get tired easily, as they are not required to walk far distances. Staff just need to focus on customer service as it is more value-added compared to the delivery of food. So, with e2i’s partnership, we are able to give non-value-added tasks to the robot, and value-added tasks to staff, with an increase of staff’s salary too,” shared Tan.
To learn more about e2i’s business solutions, visit https://e2i.com.sg/businesses/
To learn more about D’Cuisine, visit:
Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/DCuisinesPteLtd
Photos courtesy of D’Cuisine.