Mr Andrew Chan

The Soup Spoon

HOME-GROWN food chain The Soup Spoon has taken steps to boost productivity but still faces an uphill battle in managing with the labour crunch.

The company's managing director, Mr Andrew Chan, said he has redesigned job scopes to raise productivity across its 20 outlets in Singapore. It has also invested in new computer systems and plans to set up kiosks that allow customers to place their own orders. This has enabled the company to raise its productivity by 10 to 15 per cent, Mr Chan said. The amount of potential sales has grown by 20 per cent and waiting time has been cut by about a third.

But even then, the moves are barely enough for it to cope with the labour crunch, and the chain needs about 20 per cent more workers, said Mr Chan yesterday.

Half of The Soup Spoon's 300 employees are part-timers, all Singaporeans or permanent residents.

Of its 150 full-time workers, around 80 are foreigners from countries such as Malaysia, China, the Philippines and Myanmar. They are predominantly S Pass and Work Permit holders.

Mr Chan said that the next step was to rely more on automation after it relocates from its current central kitchen in Aljunied to a new and larger facility in Tai Seng next week.

"We need about 60 more workers to help out with operations and provide a buffer for our expansion plans.

"We've had to put expansion on hold because we don't have enough manpower."

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