How to Overcome the F&B Labour Crisis in Singapore

February 28, 2024
#Business, Tips

If you own a restaurant in Singapore, you know how hard it is to find and keep good staff.

The F&B sector has been facing a labour shortage for years, and the COVID-19 pandemic only made it worse. Many workers left the industry, and few want to return to low-paying and demanding jobs.

You might have tried to lure them back with higher salaries and incentives, but that didn’t work well. You can’t afford to pay them much more, because your profit margins are already thin. You’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. So, what can you do to survive and thrive in this challenging situation? Here are some possible solutions:


Ways to Overcome the F&B Labour Crisis

Embrace technology

Have you seen those robots that deliver food to your table? They’re not just a novelty; they’re a way to save on labour costs and improve efficiency. Depending on your customers’ preferences, you can use technology to automate some or all of your service, from ordering to payment. This can free up your staff to focus on other tasks, or reduce the number of staff you need.


Adapt to policy changes

The government is trying to raise the wages of lower-paid workers through the Progressive Wage Model (PWM). This means you’ll have to pay your staff more, but you’ll also get some subsidies and support. However, this also means you’ll have to cut down on working hours to balance your costs, which means you’ll need more staff, which means more expenses. It’s a tricky trade-off. You might have to raise your menu prices to cover the extra costs, but will your customers be willing to pay more? Will dining out become a luxury?


Explore new business models

Cloud kitchens sound like a great idea, right? You can operate multiple brands from one location, without having to worry about rent, decor, or service. You can just focus on making delicious food and delivering it to your customers. But there’s a catch: the rent for cloud kitchens is sky-high, and the competition is fierce. And the profit margin is still tiny. Is it worth it?


Invest in your workforce

This is the most important solution, in my opinion. As an HR professional, I believe that the key to overcoming the labour crisis is to invest in your people. Instead of just raising their wages, you should also provide them with training and development opportunities to enhance their skills and productivity. By empowering them with the tools they need to excel in their roles, you can create a more efficient and motivated workforce. You should also foster a positive work culture and provide career advancement paths to retain your staff and reduce turnover. By investing in your people, you can build a stronger and more resilient F&B industry that benefits both employers and employees.



Being in the F&B industry is tough. You have to deal with demanding customers, fierce competitors, and thin profit margins. However, we believe that you have a passion for making great food and serving your community. You don’t have to give up on your dream; you just have to adapt to the changing times.

By embracing technology, adapting to policy changes, exploring new business models, and investing in your workforce, you can overcome the labour crisis and thrive in the F&B sector. Let’s work together to make it happen.


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