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Food retailers increase productivity from centralised dishwashing

Singapore’s first centralised dishwashing facility has the capacity to serve up to 100 cafes and restaurants.

Besides the potential health benefits from an automated dishwashing service – the main aim is to help f&b operators around the city save on staff as the nation’s labour force shortage worsens.

The National Productivity Council (NPC) chairman, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam, has visited the facility located in the IMM Building.

Occupying 650 sqm, the facility has seven automated dishwashing lines, including a dedicated line to serve Halal eateries. Currently, six F&B tenants at IMM and 13 F&B operators in surrounding malls, including Westgate, JCube and The Star Vista, are tapping into the service.

Should they use the service, food and beverage retailers can save between 50 and 80 per cent in staff hours and potentially eliminate the need to hire any dishwashing staff.

Outlets with existing dishwashing staff can redeploy them to other higher-value roles. At Lian Peng Bak Kut Teh at IMM, for example, staff can focus on providing customer service and food preparation. The restaurant also increased its seating capacity by 10 per cent, using the space previously allocated for dishwashing.

The manual dishwashing process has also been transformed with the use of industrial-grade, high capacity automated equipment at centralised dishwashing facilities. F&B outlets enjoy economies of scale by sharing the use of these dishwashing machines. Workers are upskilled too, as they move from doing repetitive and mundane dishwashing tasks to operating automated equipment and taking on quality control duties.

Until now, centralised dishwashing facilities in Singapore were typically located in areas like Senoko, Tai Seng and Kaki Bukit, away from most F&B outlets. In March, dishwashing services provider,GreatSolutions, in collaboration with CapitaLand Mall Asia and supported by Spring Singapore, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i), set up the first onsite facility at IMM.

Compared to offsite dishwashing facilities, the IMM facility has enabled participating F&B outlets to halve their logistics costs and crockery breakage with the shorter transportation distances, while ensuring a more frequent supply of clean crockery. GreatSolutions is able to seamlessly complete four collections and returns a day to IMM tenants and three daily trips to F&B customers in surrounding areas, an increase from the two daily trips made from its offsite dishwashing plant at Senoko to its F&B customers located islandwide.

Moving forward, Spring says it will continue to work closely with service providers and F&B and mall operators to set up more onsite centralised dishwashing models in malls, as well as build up the capabilities of service providers and support F&B outlets to adopt centralised dishwashing.

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