Local food and beverage (F&B) entrepreneurs and micro-enterprises will soon get access to digital solutions, mentorship programmes and workshops to help them build productive and sustainable businesses.

These initiatives, to be launched in May, were unveiled on Thursday [Feb 16] at "Turning Passion into Pro­ts", an F&B community event co-organised by Spring Singapore and the Singapore Productivity Centre (SPC).

 Senior Minister of State in the Ministry of Trade and Industry Sim Ann told reporters on the sidelines of the event that these initiatives were timely, and in line with the recommendations of the Committee on the Future Economy and in the Industry Transformation Map for the food services industry.

Ms Sim, who is also Senior Minister of State in the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, said: "A lot of it has to do with 'the how' — being manpower lean, having digital solutions, and also helping those operators who want to be more productive and who wish to build a business, but who don't necessarily know the nuts and bolts.”

The minister added that she will encourage more public-sector agencies to get on board and do more to engage Singaporean youth who are keen to start businesses in the F&B sector.

Firstly, the Restaurant Association of Singapore (RAS) is partnering Singtel to provide F&B players with digital solutions to boost their front-end operations. Singtel will offer, from its Connected Restaurant platform, solutions ranging from online menus to reservation systems to takeaway services, The Business Times has learnt.  

Andrew Lim, managing director of business group (group enterprise) at Singtel, said the Connected Restaurant platform will create an efficient operations system "to maximise productivity while cutting down on administrative work and costs".

Secondly, the RAS will also introduce a free mentorship programme, under which F&B veterans will guide aspiring entrepreneurs for six months.

The stint will include at least six hours of face-to-face interaction with industry experts such as chief executive officer of 4Fingers Crispy Chicken Steen Puggaard, chief operating officer of JP Pepperdine Group Jerry Lim and chief operating officer of The Lo & Behold group Andrew Ing.

Thirdly, SPC and the SME Centre @ ASME will launch workshops to address the specific needs of F&B micro-enterprises.

SPC's curriculum will cover workflow redesign, menu engineering and fi­nancial management; that of SME Centre @ ASME will comprise branding, marketing and human-resource management. This is an excerpt of a story that was ­first published in The Business Times on Feb 17, 2017.