Words by Candy Tee and Danial Cheah
Fruce, is the latest novelty beverage outlet chain that has taken Singapore by storm—with its fusion dessert beverages with specialty fruits as their key ingredient. Their menu is divided into four main categories: Avocado, Coconut, Fusion, and Refresh—and range from interesting concoctions for the health-conscious like Avocado Coconut, to barista-style Coffee Grande Avocado, and Peach Melon Nakiato for a Japanese twist.
Their much raved-about Avocado Coconut, balances the creamy avocado fruit with light nutty coconut undertones. Drinks also come with customisable sweetness levels and a variety of toppings. With brand new drinks like the Mochi Kurano and the rarely-spotted Coconut Capellini, there is a favourite cup for everyone in their extensive menu.
Challenges of the New Fruce Outlet at NEX
Tedious Workflow Process
In the initial opening stages of the new outlet in 2020, staff at the NEX outlet had to undergo a rigorous work process every day. Behind the colourful and chirpy reception counter of the outlet, staff had to diligently scribble down patrons’ orders on paper order chits, then tag cups with the respective order numbers and patrons’ names. They also had to ensure the orders were produced and delivered in sequence.
Sales & Inventory Tracking
Daily sales order chits were consolidated and manually keyed into Microsoft Excel forming sales records. The process was also similarly replicated for hardcopy inventory purchases. Softcopy of the inventory purchase summary records had to then be manually referenced with physical stock-taking and hardcopy invoices received from vendors, to tally the records at the end of each month.
Impact of the Laborious Workflow and Manual Book-Keeping
The daily operations involving taking written orders was subjected to human error and negligence. Food and resources wastage was a common occurrence, which ultimately had a negative business and consumer impact
The manual book-keeping process was extremely time-consuming as it required a large amount of information to be transcribed onto Microsoft Excel. In addition, it was not possible to provide any insight or analytics of the outlet’s performance to the management on a timely basis.
Soliciting Support and Solution
Seeking a way to enhance their daily operations and book-keeping process, Aspen & Co obtained funding assistance from NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) under the WorkPro Job Redesign Initiative. The initiative seeks to help local companies in creating physically easier, safer and smarter jobs for local workers aged 50 years and above. With the support, Fruce was able to implement an operations system bundle in their NEX outlet shortly after their opening.
Incorporating a point-of-sales (POS) system, self-ordering kiosks, inventory, and kitchen management software together, orders made through the reception POS and the self-ordering kiosks are sent directly to the kitchen for processing. The order slips are generated in sequence to assist the production staff in generating the products. This enables counter staff to hand out products to the correct customers, in the right sequence. Compared to the hand-written order chits used previously, the printed slips minimise wrong interpretation from illegible handwriting. Such enhanced workflow efficiency and accuracy ensures that Fruce provides a positive ‘drinking’ experience to their patrons, hence establishing brand affinity.
Book-keeping information like inventory details are also updated automatically through the system, which reduces the need for physical stock-taking and invoices to track inventory. Reports on the outlet’s sales and revenue can also be generated in the desired formats within minutes for analysis.
With the new system, staff presently manage the various working processes in a whole new easier and smarter way. The streamlined work processes reflected a reduction in man-hours by at least 30%: The workflow from ordering to product hand out decreased from five workers previously, to three workers. The notable increase in productivity also brought about a wage increment to at least two of the older workers aged 50 and above in the company.
Carrying the Positive Experience Forward
With the success of their specialty products so far, Aspen is looking forward to scaling the Fruce customer experience to the next level through training of their existing staff, as well as to hire and train new workers to join them for future outlets.
Fruce is located at: