The food industry has welcomed a government plan to help the sector become more productive and less reliant on manpower.
Ready-to-eat meals and cashless payments were some of the innovations recommended under the Food Services Industry Transformation Map launched on Thursday by Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
Mr Hong Poh Hin, chairman of the Foochow Coffee Restaurant and Bar Merchants Association, which has more than 400 members, said such technology solutions are a step in the right direction.
Other countries, such as Malaysia, where some workers in Singapore's food industry are from, also suffer from manpower problems, he noted.
But Mr Hong, who owns a coffee shop in Serangoon Avenue 4, warned that a high-tech environment may mean the need to employ more educated workers who command better salaries.
He said higher salaries could lead coffee shops to raise prices, which will not sit well with consumers. Many workers already earn more than $1,000, he said.
Spring Singapore, which helps enterprises here grow, said on Thursday that the food services industry contributes 0.8 per cent of gross domestic product but employs about 160,000 workers, or 4.5 per cent of Singapore's workforce. The road map aims to make possible a productivity growth of 2 per cent a year on average in the food services industry from now to 2020.