Our very first seminar/webinar took place on 16 April, thanks to the effort of Ourglass and Sharent teams in making this live event possible. The responses were overwhelming, with participants split between the physical and virtual sessions. Topics such as manpower challenges faced by F&B operators during COVID-19, exposure to modern F&B robots, and whether robotics automation can be used to address manpower challenges were discussed.
The event started with a welcome speech by Ourglass's founder William, about why he started the business and his vision and mission for bringing robotics technology to the local F&B scene. He emphasised the importance of robotics technology in today's post-covid-19 world and how waiter robots have helped tackle manpower shortage issues for our customers.
After William's sharing was a quick introduction by Shaun Chan from IMC. IMC provides business consultancy, assisting businesses in strategic planning to property management. Having over 16 years of Marketing experience in the F&B industry, Shaun has helped hundreds of F&B businesses shift from traditional business models to digitalisation.
The panel discussion was followed by the introduction. The first discussion talks about the Restaurant Association of Singapore (RAS) releasing over 1,000 jobs with no takers. "There's a gap in job seekers' expectation and the job itself. Many people are unaware of the real situation in the F&B industry, expecting to rest during weekends and public holidays, which contributed to this gap," said Shaun. William also highlighted the difficulties shared by our customer with him: they face problems hiring locals due to the expectation differences, so robot waiters are here to bridge this gap.
The second discussion topic talks about increasing quotas for foreign workers to make things easier for F&B operators. Shaun says he doesn't see it as the real problem as the real issue is more about attracting locals, especially the younger generation, into the F&B scene, given its long working hours. William then highlighted that the current quarantine procedure does affect foreign employment.
Two other discussions revolved around robotics technology enabling the elderly or disabled and whether automation such as robot chef and e-menu improve overall restaurant productivity. The last discussion focused on a key concern whether robots are here to replace humans and if service standards will be compromised. William said, "Humans will always be better at serving customers as robots are unable to deliver the same level of engagement as a human does." The Punggol groceries project initiated by IMDA led us into the insight of robotic adoption due to people shunning away from lowly paid jobs because of higher education level.
Besides, Shaun highlighted that robots also help in increasing table turnover, which is crucial as there are 50% fewer tables due to safe distancing measures. Again, the emphasis is on robots being here to assist us in our daily lives instead of replacing humans.
Following the panel discussion is a quick demo of Ourglass robots, the Pudubot, Holabot and Bellabot. The seminar ended with a networking session with refreshments from Swee Choon. Watch the full recording of our seminar/webinar below and book a demo with us if you would like to learn more about our robots.