Exactly three years ago, TungLok unveiled a robot wok that would automatically fry rice for its fast-food style Chinese restaurant, Ruyi, providing greater output at lower cost.
Yesterday, it displayed its continuous dedication towards technologically-driven productivity by showcasing its new Artificial Intelligence Cooking Machines (AICs) in its central kitchen at Tai Seng Street.
These AICs are the first to be introduced in Singapore and TungLok hopes to see increased turnover of 15-20 per cent by the end of 2014.
"There are many benefits," CEO Andrew Tjioe said. "In a banquet, if you have ten items, basically one person can produce everything by himself."
Mr Tjioe was first introduced to the AIC last year when he was in Guangzhou for a productivity and food service conference. A friend of his knew of a technology company in Shenzhen that manufactured the machine. He was immediately drawn to the idea and when the conference ended an hour later, he drove to Shenzhen.
"I was totally impressed," he said. "That answered all my problems."
The AICs that TungLok employs are the first for Chinese food in the world, and are manufactured by the Shenzhen Pansum Technology. AICs automate and standardise the cooking process, provide voice instructions, and increase productivity.
One AIC can fry up to 100 kg of rice in half an hour, versus 30 kg if cooked manually. Additionally, it reduces up to 30 per cent of energy consumption, and 50 per cent of kitchen waste.
The cost of TungLok's three AICs ranges from $50,000 to $80,000. However, with Spring Singapore's Capability Development Grant and IRAS's Productivity and Innovation Credit, the total cost to the company was only 20-30 per cent of the retail cost.
Labour chief Lim Swee Say, who was at TungLok's new central kitchen yesterday, said he was encouraged by the progressive approach towards quality growth.
"Manpower growth will continue to slow down," said Mr Lim, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister's Office. "Used to be 3 per cent a year. I think as we move ahead, it will continue to slow down to maybe 1.5 per cent, and eventually even one per cent.
"Companies that are able to find ways to make the job easier, safer, smarter . . . are the businesses that will be able to cope better as we go to the transition."