How the Labour Movement can help Singapore F&B Business Owners Grow and Be more Productive

Hands up if you’re a foodie… we all are, right? Do you ever dream of setting up your own F&B business? In fact, F&B is one of the fastest growing sectors in Singapore proving this small island really is a nation of food lovers.

With the ever increasing rise of F&B business in Singapore, it’s important for owners to know what help is available in order to ensure they remain an employer of choice. How can you recruit, train and develop the best possible people, and ensure both they and your business processes are being as productive and efficient as possible.

The F&B industry has had its ups and downs. If you were doing business all the way back in 1997, you may remember being hit hard by the Asian Financial crisis. Some of you may have used the downtime to retrain your workers, using Skills Development Fund (SDF) to pay for course fees and Skills Redevelopment Programme (SRP) to fund absentee payroll of your workers.

If you operated in a hawker centre for many years, you would remember that in 2003, it was super hard to hire local cleaners, because the pay was pathetic and they didn’t have proper equipment like the ubiquitous cleaning trolley you see today. You can read Bertha’s story of how Lim Swee Say redesigned their jobs in a ‘1,000 for 1,000’ plan to make these jobs more attractive to local workers and increase their pay.

The efforts by the government, unions and employers to provide skills upgrading and job redesign are not new in Singapore, but these initiatives were not brought together into one place until e2i was formed in 2008.

We recently caught up with the team at e2i who gave us an eye opening insight into all of the fantastic work the Labour Movement (comprising unions, e2i, social enterprises among others) does with local businesses, worker unions, individuals and the government in order to ensure that Singapore’s F&B enterprises are operating at the top of their game.

Source: e2i

Here are five ways in which the Labour Movement can help enhance your F&B business.


One of the main reasons individuals choose to leave the F&B industry is due to a lack of training, development and unclear career paths. Numerous bespoke programmes are available through the Labour Movement that will help up-skill your people by increasing their knowledge.

Whether you want your team to learn more about how to pair sake with food, or how to provide excellent customer service, the Labour Movement will help connect you with external providers to deliver the training your team needs.

e2i business workshop

Events & Networking

e2i hosts events year round to bring together F&B professionals to share knowledge and provide networking opportunities. Recent events include a German cuisine and beer production masterclass to coincide with Oktoberfest. Events such as these provide excellent opportunities for employees to learn from experts as well as each other.


Did you know that e2i has a $100 million fund which is to end in Dec 2015, with a specific goal of helping industries re-design and improve operational productivity. Over recent years the Labour Movement has worked with numerous businesses to secure funding to improve efficiencies and ultimately, make them more profitable.

A prime example of how these grants can be beneficial is demonstrated by the help Shin -Sapporo Ramen received following their introduction to e2i. They were struggling to produce gyoza and noodles in large amounts without compromising on quality. e2i was able to help secure them two new machines enabling them to boost productivity tenfold and as a direct result were able to increase the salaries of 20 local low wage workers.

e2i is able to help F&B businesses of all sizes to apply for and secure loans that will help boost productivity and efficiency.

Job Fairs and CV/Job matching

Speak to any F&B owner and they will tell you one of their greatest challenges is recruiting and retaining the best possible people for jobs. The Labour Movement through e2i and unions are aware of this and regularly hosts sector specific recruitment fairs that make it easier for businesses to connect with the right people. Whether you are looking for a job, or looking to hire others, job fairs are a great way to meet and connect.

Many F&B professionals are unaware of how the Labour Movement plays a crucial role in retrenchments. For example, when Coca Cola closed down its Singapore bottling plant, e2i and the Food, Drinks and Allied Workers’ Union (FDAWU) worked closely with the retrenched workers to get competitive severance packages and find new jobs.

Similarly, e2i also helps businesses look for individuals with a more niche skill set through their CV/job matching service. If you are struggling to find the right individual for your organisation why not contact e2i and let them do the hard work for you?

Working collaboratively

Hawkers who are looking for a way to give back to society, and also run a business to earn a living, can consider joining NTUC Foodfare’s Business Community Partnership Programme for Hawkers.

e2i hawker singapore

Besides your initial cost of $2,300 to purchase crockery, uniforms and put a security deposit, you’ll receive a $20,000 fund to set up your stall and a monthly grant of $4,000. You can tap on NTUC Foodfare’s central kitchen and central procurement too.


Hawker partners help the community by selling meals at concessionary prices to the needy, such as $1.50 for a 2 vegetable and 1 meat economical rice meal to ComCare cardholders.

rice garden prog 2


Read more tips on opening your hawker business here.

*This post was brought to you in partnership with e2i