Over the years, Singapore has had to deal with the problem of steadily increasing amounts of waste. Out of the waste produced, food waste remains one of the biggest contributors. Within the span of 10 years, the amount of food waste generated has gone up by an estimated 40%, with an output of 763 million kg in 2018 – equivalent to the weight of more than 54,000 double decker buses.
Having to manage such large amounts of waste puts pressure on Singapore’s waste disposal facilities, especially due to limited land space. In addition, the resources used to produce and deliver food to consumers, as well as to dispose of it, are also wasted, which contributes to Singapore’s carbon footprint.
As such, the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) decided to make 2019 the Year Towards Zero Waste. Regarding the aspect of food waste, the campaign seeks to get consumers to adopt smarter food practices in a bid to minimise the wastage of food. Food waste minimisation guidebooks are also provided to establishments in the food and beverage industry to assist them in devising plans for waste reduction. On top of these measures, innovative ways to recycle food waste are also being explored.
Borne out of customers’ frequent requests to cater for events, Eatz Group transformed from a coffeeshop into a business that offers full-service halal catering to a variety of clientele. Possessing both halal and ISO22000 certifications, they are fully committed to providing high quality food and services to their clients, no matter the size of the event.
On The Road to Sustainability
With sustainability being a hot topic when it comes to businesses, companies have had the responsibility of adopting more green practices so as to be accountable for their impact on the environment. Eatz Group is no exception. As part of their initiatives, they have converted to using LED lights in their kitchen and offices to be more energy efficient. They were also one of the early adopters to shift away from using plastics and providing bio-disposable utensils for clientele events. In particular is the way that they have chosen to deal with food wastage issues in their business.
“Generally, we encourage our clients not to over-order so as to keep food wastage at a minimum. Before any event, our consultants will advise our clients on how to calculate the serving size based on their guest demographics. For example, we tend to provide larger quantities of food for events targeted at construction workers as they are usually bigger eaters.”
“On the few occasions that clients have over-ordered or made a wrong order, we would suggest sending the food off to a shelter or foreign worker site rather than dispose of it. We feel for the less fortunate at these places and hope that having extra food will be a treat and surprise for them. Of course, we only make sure to send food that has not gone past the National Environmental Agency (NEA)’s ruling of 4 hours,” expressed Ms Novie.
Productivity with Automation
Recognising the importance of digitalisation in improving business efficiency, Eatz Group invested heavily in technology to automate their operations. For every order that comes in from the Internet, the system is able to process them automatically. With a few simple clicks of a button, delivery orders and their corresponding invoices can be prepared and ready to go. Accounting processes have also been greatly streamlined, allowing them to grow the business, while keeping in line with current accounting practices.
“Automating our business operations definitely helped in shortening the time required to perform traditional tasks like processing order confirmations for our clients. In the past, our staff used to work till 6pm daily, but now this has been cut down to 5.30pm. Business days have also been reduced to 5.5 days, with every alternate Saturday being an off day. All of our staff are also given half a day off on the eve of public holidays,” said Ms Novie.
On the adoption of other digital tools in the future, she shared that Eatz Group is constantly on the lookout for new automation solutions to make their work more efficient. The same kind of work can be made less monotonous and more enjoyable while increasing productivity. At the moment, the company is in the midst of transporting their human resource operations onto a cloud-based system. In doing so, they will be able to enact faster while staying in line with legislative and statutory requirements.
Keeping Up with the Competition
As a relatively new business compared to the other catering services in Singapore, Eatz Group had to find ways to differentiate themselves from their competitors. The company prides itself on its work ethics and innovative ways to stay ahead of the game.
In maintaining the quality of their products, quality control checks are done regularly to ensure that food served is of the highest standards. With automation, the company has been able to process more orders in a shorter amount of time, allowing them to service more clients per day. A focus on employee welfare also enables their consultants to serve their clients better, imparting their catering knowledge to them and making sure that events are a success. Through these measures, customer service level is elevated, which goes towards maintaining and increasing customer loyalty.
“To simplify cooking techniques and ensure that our food complies with government regulatory requirements, we have adopted and made extensive use of new oven technologies. This is especially important in view of the many recent cases of food poisoning in the past year. Other than that, we are also constantly developing new product ideas and flavours in order to entice our clients and attract new clientele. Coming up, we have a new range of charcoal-inspired food and beverage line-up in the works,” added Ms Novie.
Moving forward, Ms Novie believes that there will be more demand for food caterers as people seek better work-life balance and host more social events to celebrate life. When they entertain, they would look towards catering businesses to provide them with food solutions for a successful event.
“In the next 5-10 years, I hope that we will be able to become a heritage brand in Singapore, signalling our recognition with the public. To achieve this, we will continue improving our brand by creating new products and services that follows the market trend,” stated Ms Novie.
The latest copy of Entrepreneurs' Digest is available at MPH and Kinokuniya bookstores. You may also click here to subscribe. For bulk purchases, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.