Words by Janelle Ting
Cabin fever begone! We will all be transported to Germany the minute we sink our teeth into Der Biergarten’s delicious food.
Halted travel plans do not necessarily imply missing out on enjoying authentic international cuisines. Despite the pandemic, Der Biergarten continues to bring the well-loved German cuisine to travel-starved food enthusiasts in Singapore. With food being the only gateway to travel, Der Biergarten endeavours to create memorable dining experiences that remind its customers of Germany.
Serving Authentic German Cuisine
Located along the row of quaint conservation shophouses at 48 Princep Street, Der Biergarten specialises in traditional German dishes. Since its opening in 2014, the restaurant has won the hearts of many tourists and expatriates. In addition to the delightful German specialties and premium handcrafted beers, the charming al fresco dining area at Der Biergarten is also a point of attraction. Helmed by an experienced chef who specialises in German cuisine, it is no wonder that the well-curated dishes keep customers coming back for more. Some of the signature items include German Crispy Pork Knuckle, German Sausage and Braised Beef Cheek.
Building a Community
For several years before the pandemic hit, Der Biergarten held the hallmark festival of the German food culture: Oktoberfest – and to great success. Der Biergarten is not just an ordinary restaurant. It is a community, a cosy place for customers to bond, relax and unwind. Previously, Der Biergarten also engaged a live band to play jazz and popular tunes for its customers, livening up the atmosphere.
Responding to the Pandemic
However, the COVID-19 travel restriction saw a dwindling number of tourists and expatriates who frequented the restaurant. The restriction in operating hours and safe distancing measures have also affected the business. Despite the bleak outlook, Der Biergarten remains hopeful. The restaurant adjusted its operations to open for lunch, targeting the locals who work in the commercial district. Unfortunately, the business is slow to pick up as many continue working from home.
The pandemic has brought about unprecedented challenges and calls for a new way of doing business. Being open to new technologies such as e-commerce marketing and online food delivery services is critical. While there is still much to be done, Der Biergarten has already taken a big step forward.
Redesigning Work Processes
Before the pandemic, Der Biergarten purchased a combi oven with funding support from NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) under the WorkPro Job Redesign initiative. This initiative helps companies create physically easier, safer and smarter jobs for local workers aged 50 years and above.
The new combi oven makes work easier for the kitchen staff as they no longer need to memorise the different recipes and their respective roasting temperatures and durations. The preset function eliminates human errors since the oven can register many recipes and cooking conditions accurately. Compared to conventional ovens, the combi oven also has better temperature control, which ensures even roasting. Without the need for close monitoring of the roasting process, the staff could proceed with other tasks while the machine is doing its job, hence improving the overall productivity. The combi oven is user-friendly and easy to master. The machine supplier also provides training and other after-sale support to help the older workers adapt.
Contrary to common misconception, automation does not compromise food quality. Instead, it brings about higher consistency, better quality control and a significant reduction in food wastage due to human errors. It might come as a surprise that the combi oven has generated approximately 20 per cent in time savings and 30 per cent reduction in manpower required for Der Biergarten’s daily operations.
Der Biergarten has come a long way. Instead of being complacent, they actively look for ways to improve their operations and work processes. Putting aside future plans to explore sous vide cooking, Der Biergarten is finetuning its existing operations and redesigning work processes in preparation when the crowd returns. During uncertain times like this, every customer is a big morale booster for Der Biergarten.
For more information on Der Biergarten, visit www.biergarten.com.sg