Key F&B Pundits Claim That Singapore “Restaurant Industry Has Yet to Tap Full Potential of Technology"

Key F&B Pundits Claim That Singapore “Restaurant Industry Has Yet to Tap Full Potential of Technology"

Singapore as a Food Tech Hub 

Singapore’s restaurant industry has begun to adopt digital technologies at a much faster rate as a result of the Coronavirus, but it still has a long way to go before it can truly maximize its efficiency. This is especially frustrating for industry leaders as Singapore is Asia’s premiere hub for new and innovative food tech solutions and technologies thanks to government support. 

Industry Leaders Meet to Discuss Tech Future of Singapore’s F&B Industry

Key regional players met virtually for a discussion on how Singapore’s F&B industry can best utilize technology to see greater gains and benefits to business. 

The key players in the discussion included: 

1. Chope chief executive Arrif Ziaudeen, who moderated the discussion

2. Ian Wilson, restaurant tech startup consultant and advisor to the Singapore Tourism Board;

3. Julien Perol, director of hospitality solutions in the Asia-Pacific at Tripadvisor;

4. Inesh Putri Chandra and Adrian Khoo, directors of Eat Company in Bali, Indonesia; and

5. Loh Lik Peng, chief executive of hotel and restaurant group, Unlisted Collection.

Why Are Singapore Restaurants Slow to Adopt Tech?

Multiple experts claimed that one of the key deterrents to adopting restaurant technologies was the mindset of many chefs. The claim is that chefs are far more focused on the creative process rather than using technology to give the kitchen a boost. 

Unfortunately, getting chefs to adopt such kitchen technology is difficult, because they are often more interested in creating more complex dishes than in improving productivity,” said Mr Loh of Unlisted Collection. "Chefs trying to make a name for themselves in the industry and get a Michelin star are often not interested in (technology)," he added.

Eat Company's Mr Khoo mirrored Mr Loh's sentiments, saying: "Chefs are notoriously stubborn as well. It takes a lot of work to convince them that an inventory system is going to save them time, because at the end of the day, they are really just focused on their passion to create better, outstanding food."

3 Pieces of Expert Advice For Singapore Restauranteurs Looking to Adopt New Tech

1. CRM

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) should be utilized to learn more about customers and offer them a better experience. Experts in the meeting suggested that “For example, [restaurants] can adopt customer relationship management (CRM) systems to capture and mine a wealth of customer data for insights and marketing opportunities.”

CRM can also be used for better marketing as is outlined by Mr Perol of Tripadvisor. He said that “the Tripadvisor platform helps drive traffic to restaurants by tracking customer intent through user searches and reaching out to them through e-mail and advertisements for the restaurants they viewed.

2. Big Data

Having the technology to collect data and analytics is one thing, but utilizing it effectively is perhaps even more important. Mr. Perol of Tripadvisor said restauranteurs should, “invest in technology so they can collect, protect and integrate data points from all their systems to derive long-term value for the company.

Mr Wilson, advisor to the Singapore Tourism Board, further revealed, “restaurant groups could also use aggregated data to draw customers to their different brands.” Having important data on hand at anytime is extremely important as difficult-to-access data can be a hinderance when making important decisions. 

3. Standardize Technologies – One System for Everything

Using multiple technological systems across restaurants or brands can lead to poor management and an inability to ensure consistency of performance across the board. 

Mr Perol advised, “when selecting a technology solution, restaurant owners need to be clear about their goals and what they want to achieve with the technology.” He also mentioned that, “hidden value that could be unlocked by integrating it with existing systems” and that “If done well, technology can be very powerful, especially on the customer experience front and marketing front, and can really drive more guests and diners to your restaurant."

Meanwhile, Mr Wilson claimed that “restaurant groups should ideally standardise their technology across all the brands to derive maximum value from aggregated data.” 

What Solution can Meet the Needs of Singapore Restaurants? 

Using a POS solution which has cloud capabilities, inbuilt CRM and customer data collection capabilities, ensures that all restaurant modules work under the same system while meeting the guidelines suggested by the above experts. Be it in a single restaurant, or across a franchise, adopting a uniform restaurant technology solution can lead to many benefits, as has been made clear by these high-profile Singapore restaurant industry experts.

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