A manpower crunch and rising labour costs have spurred Old Chang Kee in Singapore to open a self-service eatery called Curry Times Tingkat.
The casual-dining restaurant at Alexandra Retail Centre lets customers place their orders and pay – using Nets ATM or FlashPay cards – at two self-service kiosks. Customers then pick up their food at the counter.
The food served here includes curry-chicken rice, nasi lemak and fish-cutlet rice.
With the $27,000 self-service system, only five staff members are needed to run the restaurant, compared with 15 staff members at the Curry Times outlet in Velocity.
Old Chang Kee’s director, Ms Chow Hui Shien, revealed that it arrived at this concept after facing difficulties in hiring staff while planning the expansion of Curry Times eateries.
There are other benefits when using a self-service system too. “There’s no service charge, so you can keep those savings. There’s also reduced chances of incorrect orders, as customers get to view and pick their orders,” Ms Chow said.
Each interactive touchscreen kiosk has a bright and colourful interface, as well as pictures of dishes for customers to browse through.
Meal and drink options are stated clearly to avoid confusion or mistaken orders.
Payment with Nets ATM or FlashPay cards takes seconds.
Those who prefer to pay in cash can do so at the cashier.
A number is given after payment and customers collect their meals – packed in convenient paper boxes – at the self-service collection point.
The time from ordering to collection is just 10 minutes.
The self-service concept doesn’t mean that customers are on their own. Staff members are present to help customers get used to the system.
Dine-in customers are encouraged to clear their own trays. Staff members help ensure that the place is kept clean.
The menu comprises the top 10 signature dishes from Curry Times, and the food – prepared by two or three staff members in the kitchen – comes hot and hearty.