Speech by MOS Low Yen Ling at the RAS Excellent Service Award Ceremony 2022

Speech by MOS Low Yen Ling at the RAS Excellent Service Award Ceremony 2022

Mr Andrew Kwan, President, RAS

Mr Vincent Tan, President Advisor, RAS

Mr Benjamin Boh, Vice President, RAS


Ladies and Gentlemen,


1.A very good afternoon to everyone. I am delighted to join you today at the Excellent Service Award (EXSA) Ceremony to celebrate companies and individuals in the Food Services sector who have delivered exceptional and quality service.


2.Congratulations to all the EXSA winners today! Job well done! 


3.I also want to say congratulations to the Restaurant Association of Singapore (RAS) on hosting the EXSA ceremony again after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. I want to say a big thank you to RAS for its efforts in working closely with us to bridge the communications with our F&B establishments and steering the Food Services sector through a very challenging 2.5 years. I also want to extend our heartiest gratitude to our F&B service crew, because during the pandemic, you were the ones working with us to implement the Safe Management Measures (SMMs), and putting out broad smiles to assure the customers. Each and everyone of you are truly our unsung heroes and heroines, and for that, we want to say thank you. 


Service excellence is an important aspect of business 


4.Service excellence is a crucial ingredient in helping F&B businesses distinguish themselves. Regardless of whether we are F&B business owners or workers, we are, in our daily lives, also customers on the other side of the counter. And as customers, we understand what a difference good service makes to our dining experience – be it the service staff going the extra mile, or being greeted with a warm smile. Each and everyone of you can make someone’s day. 


5.Service excellence is one of the critical factors which contribute to business growth and brand loyalty. Customers who experience good service are more likely to consume more, return and become regulars, and spread the positive word-of-mouth. Positive online reviews also increase the reach of businesses to a wider potential customer base, so it has a multiplying effect.


People are at the heart of growth and success


6.At the heart of excellent service is putting people first. And this starts with valuing and prioritising employees who form the heartbeat of any company. Starbucks is an example of a company which recognises this important factor. At Starbucks, all employees are referred to as “partners”. The company believes that every employee, regardless of his or her role and position, contributes to its shared success. This global F&B coffee chain values and focuses on building connections with and between its employees. It believes that if it can strengthen the culture within the team, the whole of the team is more than the sum of its various partsStarbucks aspires to grow together as “partners” with its staff and believes that a highly engaged and motivated pool of employees will drive the company’s progress, innovation and growth. 


7.Starbucks’ Johari bin Mohamad Asral was awarded the EXSA Superstar Award last year. He works as a Supervisor in the Starbucks Flagship Store at Jewel Changi Airport, and was handpicked to be a part of the opening team. Johari is a service champion who is passionate about ensuring that his team delivers exceptional service in the store every day. He will always makes the effort to greet and recognise his customers, remembering their names and favourite drinks. Johari’sattention to detail and each customer have gained him many accolades. Johari’s dedication to exemplary service inspires his team to continually uplift their customers’ experiences.


Leveraging technology for business transformation and improving service excellence


8.Besides having the heart to serve, excellent service can also be achieved with the help of technology. F&B businesses can enhance customer service by leveraging IT to improve business processes or productivity so that workers can focus on higher-value jobs and give more time and attention to service excellence.


9.As our Food Services sector rebounds from the pandemic and adapts to the new normal, F&B businesses must reposition themselves to seize new opportunities as well asadopt new solutions to future-proof their operations. The refreshed Food Services Industry Transformation Map (ITM) 2025 launched earlier this year sets out strategies to strengthen the competencies of F&B companies and improve their productivity through digitalisation and automation. In the last three years, from 2019 to 2021, my colleagues and Enterprise Singapore had approved more than 110,000 Productivity Solutions Grant (applications) for various SMEs, including F&B companies. 


10.To complement the Food Services ITM, Enterprise Singapore and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) recently launched a refreshed Food Service Industry Digital Plan (IDP). F&B companies can use the IDP as a guide to incorporate newer and more advanced solutions in their business processes to better support their needs and deepen their digital capabilities.


11.I am very heartened to see that many companies have continued to press on with the transformation of their operations. For example, dim sum restaurant Swee Choon has leveraged technology to streamline its front-of-house operations. By adopting service robots to dispatch food orders, the restaurant saw a 200 per cent increase in food serving capacity and a 25 per cent reduction in its manpower requirements. I want to assure you that it does not mean that we are cutting headcount. We need to help F&B companies do this, as the constraint now for all of us is manpower resourcing. Hence, we need to work with every company to redesign and optimise the work of every staff in the F&B companies. This has lightened the load for Swee Choon’s staff, giving them more time for higher-value jobs such as monitoring the quality of food and its presentation and focusing on creating a pleasant dining experience for customers.


Companies must continue to invest in human capital capabilities and upskill their workers


12.F&B companies that want to stay in the race and be future-ready would do well to continue investing in business transformation, talent development and capability-building. 


13.The Government is committed to supporting the Food Services sector in its growth and development. The refreshed Food Services ITM sets out strategies for job transformation and creating quality roles to beef up the local talent pool. The Government will support companies to nurture local talents in emerging job areas like digital marketing and data analysis.


14.For example, through Workforce Singapore (WSG)’s Career Conversion Programme for the Food Services Industry, the Select Group has equipped close to 120 employees with new skills, such as data analytics. They learnt how to use the customer insights they had gained, to launch proactive marketing activities and improve customer satisfaction.


15.F&B companies can also tap into the Service Industry Transformation Programme (SITP) by the Singapore Productivity Centre and WSG. The SITP equips our F&B companies with problem-solving tools and techniques to mitigate their reliance on manpower. They are led to innovate and improve productivity through service design and digitalisation. In addition, Enterprise Singapore helps companies redesign their workflow to reduce man-hours and improve workers’ morale.




16.In closing, I would like to thank RAS for playing a pivotal role in driving sectoral transformation, and for organising this excellent EXSA ceremony to recognise our service champions in the industry.


17.I want to extend my heartiest congratulations once again to all our award recipients. Through your journey, you have shown us what it means to go the extra mile. Today’s awards are testament to your hard work , commitment, perseverance and fabulousattitude.  You are a role model for the industry, and I am sure you will continue to deliver exceptional service and scale new heights in the years to come.


18.Thank you.

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