Discover how Khan Saab embraced technology while preserving Mamak culture
Words by Earnest Lim
A humble eatery tucked away at Chai Chee; Khan Saab Restaurant serves some of the neighbourhood’s best Indian Muslim cuisine. Its loyal customers know Khan Saab for its Thosai, Roti Prata, seafood items and special Dum Briyani that is only available on Fridays. Khan Saab is a favourite haunt for friends gathering for a hearty late-night supper or families tucking into an early-morning meal as they operate twenty-four hours a day. Khan Saab has grown to be an icon in the community and has preserved the kampong spirit and mamak culture with people from all walks of life gathering at its restaurant for a sumptuous serving of delicious Indian Muslim food.
While Khan Saab strives hard to keep its traditional flavours alive, the management knew that it had to adopt new technologies and operational processes to improve its productivity and to continue serving the community with its yummy fare. Hence, the restaurant decided to work with NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) to upgrade its technological capabilities and improve operational processes through the WorkPro Job Redesign initiative.
Before the WorkPro Job Redesign initiative, Khan Saab experienced several challenges in its day-to-day operations. Firstly, older workers took customer orders with pen and paper. These handwritten orders are then passed to kitchen staff for preparation. The usage of pen and paper resulted in illegible handwriting and miscommunication between wait staff and kitchen staff, increasing the number of wrong orders sent out from the kitchen. This process made it incredibly stressful for Khan Saab’s older workers during peak hours. Secondly, the restaurant used to take delivery orders via phone calls, which took up the capacity of one staff member who had to man the phone at all times. Furthermore, delivery riders collected cash upon delivery of the orders, which resulted in discrepancies and accountability issues. Thirdly, Khan Saab’s staff had to perform stock counts manually, which were often time-consuming and inaccurate, resulting in repeatedly performing the stock count.
Through the WorkPro Job Redesign initiative, Khan Saab implemented an online e-commerce system to take online orders directly from customers. This online ordering system reduced discrepancies of order errors significantly. A new mobile app is also available for customers to order and make payment from, reducing the need for staff members to handle cash. In addition, the e-commerce system includes a backend database that contains customer information that staff members can easily retrieve to serve patrons better instead of flipping through notes manually as previously done. The restaurant also adopted an inventory management system that provides real-time and accurate information to staff members. This system reduced the need for staff members to perform tedious stock counts and for management to keep more a more accurate count of goods.
These improvements allowed Khan Saab’s staff members to focus on higher value-added tasks such as interacting with its loyal customers and provide higher quality customer service. For example, the time required to take a customer’s order is now under one minute compared to an average of two to three minutes previously. Khan Saab has also reduced its heavy reliance on manpower during shifts, requiring only five staff members instead of ten. The management implemented wage increments for all workers impacted by the changes. The challenging COVID-19 phase has spurred the restaurant to join several delivery platforms and create its own delivery portal. Khan Saab plans to expand its business and bring its hearty cuisine to other neighbourhoods in Singapore.
Visit Khan Saab Restaurant any time of the day at 55 Chai Chee Drive, #01-186, Singapore 460055, for a selection of mouth-watering Indian Muslim dishes.