Career Future: Staff Training and Promotion in Different Types of F&B Establishments in Singapore

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Importance of Training and Promotion for F&B Establishments in Singapore

The food and beverage service sector in Singapore witnessed a total sales value of approximately $983 million in September 2023, as reported by the Singapore Department of Statistics. This year alone, sales of F&B services in Singapore rose 6.9% in September 2023 compared to the previous year, continuing the 8.6% growth in August 2023. This upward trajectory is expected to persist.

In this booming sector, it is important to invest in F&B staff development such as training and promotion to ensure high competency among employees. When the workforce is highly developed and skilled, growth in the F&B sector can be better captured by business owners. Training enhances their skills, contributing to an improved customer experience and overall business success. 

In addition, promoting a culture of continuous learning and providing growth opportunities not only improves employee morale, but also helps attract and retain talent in a competitive market. According to The Industry Insights Report 2023, the lack of skills development and training is the main factor driving F&B workers in Singapore to quit their job.

Managers and business owners must understand that each establishment has varied training requirements based on its unique concept and business model. There are three types of ‘fast service establishments’ that have gained popularity in Singapore’s food and beverage industry.

Fast service establishment is a term used to describe a type of restaurant that emphasizes fast and efficient service. This type of restaurant focuses on fast order fulfillment, often featuring menus with items that can be prepared and served quickly, providing customers with a quick and convenient meal. Take-out kiosks, casual restaurants, and cafes fall under the umbrella of fast service establishments.

StaffAny will explain the differences and what it means regarding specific training approaches, obstacles (with examples), plus the technology used in restaurant business which maximize the implementation of training and promotion in each company. 

F&B Establishment Classifications and Appropriate Training Approach for Staff Development and Career Progression

Classification can be made by considering the size and service styles of the establishments. 

  1. Kiosks are generally small and often self-contained, typically operating as booths. The service style here tends to be based on limited menu items, often for quick and convenient service 
  1. Restaurants, in contrast, vary from medium to large establishments and usually include seating areas for patrons. They also offer a wider selection of menu items and may provide table service or self-service options
  1. Cafes encompass a broader range, spanning from small independently-owned cafes to larger chain establishments, which usually offer seating areas for patrons. Cafe’s tend to emphasize drinks, baked goods, and snacks, in addition to traditional fast food.

Let’s break down the different training approaches of kiosks, restaurants, and cafes. 

Training for kiosk employees

When it comes to training kiosk employees, the focus is often on specific and simplified tasks, given the limited menu offerings. New employees in kiosks typically undergo hands-on training where they learn and follow established protocols for efficient service. 

Due to the streamlined nature of kiosk operations, the training duration is usually shorter compared to larger establishments. This concise and task-oriented training approach ensures that employees quickly grasp the necessary skills to deliver prompt and precise service in the compact kiosk setting. Kiosk workers undergo training in areas such as register and cash handling, order accuracy, food safety and hygiene, and customer service.

Training for restaurant employees

Training for restaurant employees is often more extensive, given the broader menu, larger space setting and diverse service options inherent in a restaurant. Employees may undergo specialized training tailored to their specific roles, whether they work in the kitchen, at the counter, or as servers. The multifaceted nature of restaurant operations requires staff to have a comprehensive understanding of various tasks and responsibilities to move up the ranks. 

Furthermore, ongoing training becomes crucial to maintaining consistent service quality and ensuring that employees stay updated on evolving procedures and standards. This continuous learning approach contributes to a well-trained and adaptable restaurant team capable of providing excellent service across various facets of the establishment. Restaurant workers progressively receive training in safety procedures, inventory management, quality control, team leadership and conflict resolution.

Training for cafe employees

In a cafe setting, employee training is a multifaceted process encompassing various aspects of the cafe experience. This training often involves a dual focus on both beverage and food preparation, ensuring that cafe employees are adept at crafting a diverse menu. 

Baristas, as key players in the cafe’s success, may undergo specialized training in the art of coffee preparation, covering everything from espresso shots to latte art. Given the dynamic nature of cafe operations, cross-training is frequently implemented, enabling staff members to handle a range of tasks seamlessly. 

, Career Future: Staff Training and Promotion in Different Types of F&B Establishments in Singapore

This versatility is particularly important in cafes where employees may alternate between responsibilities, such as taking orders, preparing drinks, and assisting with food service. By incorporating comprehensive training programs, cafes aim to create a skilled and adaptable team capable of delivering a delightful customer experience. Common training examples for cafes such as barista skills, cafe menu knowledge, customer relationship management, inventory and stocking procedures, and food pairing and presentation.

Future Ways of Staff Training for F&B Establishment

The Singapore government recently introduced the new Jobs Transformation Map (JTM) to prepare F&B companies and workers for the future. The JTM suggests strategies for employers and workers to stay competitive and enhance their capabilities in light of technological advancements and evolving job requirements in the Food Services sector. 

The JTM also examined 30 significant job roles, revealing that 40% are expected to undergo medium or high degrees of change, necessitating extensive to moderate job redesign. For instance, roles like service crew, station chef, and kitchen assistant may incorporate new skill sets as technology replaces manual tasks. 

In addition, workers need to eventually build additional capabilities including business management skills, digital skills, green skills, customer experience skills, and creative technical skills.

To build a resilient and future-ready workforce that drives an innovative and sustainable F&B sector, the collective efforts of employers, workers and educational institutions need to work together. How does this work?

On the employers’ side, they can proactively design operations that match future business needs to stay competitive, optimize existing processes by using technology and data analysis including automation, and minimize manual work. 

This should be done at the outlet level, where frontline staff leverage digital tools to reduce manual tasks, such as attendance taking, that helps improve performance on the ground while also allowing for better process management by HQ teams. Likewise, HQ departments such as human resources and operations need to simultaneously leverage new technologies, such as automated shift scheduling, to better coordinate across an increasingly digitalized workforce

Beyond process and system optimization, F&B leaders need to improve job design so that workers can take on a wider scope or higher value of work, with better career progression and pay.

On the workers’ side, they need to embrace a number of new skills that can strengthen their career development. In order for workers to gain skill sets that are relevant to business needs, F&B owners and managers need to create initiatives such as career conversion programs (CCPs).

On the part of educational institutions, they can work with F&B companies to help encourage further upskilling and retraining of workers, so that workers can develop new capabilities for in-demand skills and get started on a training path for emerging job roles with good career progression prospects. 

Many such educational programs by reputable institutions are already accessible online, with materials published in short but structured digital formats.This accessibility empowers businesses to flexibly structure training programs, ensuring they are efficiently curated to address the unique demands and objectives of their establishments.

When all stakeholders work on training and development collectively, the talent in the industry will be able to upskill and meet the needs of the evolving F&B industry, as illustrated in the following chart.

, Career Future: Staff Training and Promotion in Different Types of F&B Establishments in Singapore

How Technology Helps in Training and Promotion Initiatives for F&B Establishment

The adoption of technology in the F&B industry has already been happening for years. Many companies are familiar with digital POS tools, ordering systems and CRMs on the front end, and even cutting edge hardware for backend processes. But when it comes to adopting technology to improve training and promotion, the value of doing so may not be as clear, hindering further adoption for such purposes.

A typical training process involves the following steps:

  1. Delivery of theory
  2. Application of theory under guidance
  3. Evaluation and correction if needed
  4. End of training (you’re on your own now, hopefully you remember what you learned!)

Beyond digital delivery of training materials, technology can serve to reinforce learned behaviors after training is completed. Software that allows simulation and gamification of work activity in an F&B setting can speed up skill adoption.

Such software can help frontline teams to test and refine their new methodologies or workflows in a structured and data-driven way, helping staff review and refine practices at regular cadences. This helps create a timely feedback loop, build an atmosphere of friendly competition and instill confidence that upskilling programs are working. 

Business owners and managers can train new hires more effectively as they can implement new post-training scenarios that new or even experienced hires will have to adopt to in the workplace. Leaders can then benchmark performance and productivity of newly trained employees, measured against business metrics like sales per labor hour or outlet performance.

Utilizing technology can also improve communication around feedback, an important aspect of training high-performing teams. The key to team performance is open lines of communication at all levels and all times to motivate, maintain interest and encourage cooperation. With technologies such as EngageAny’s automated feedback form or happiness index, business owners and managers will be able to collect anonymous feedback, understand more quickly when there is conflict and get more accurate insights using data-driven analysis by the software.

Owners and managers can also deepen their assessment for performance management using a number of methods to gather data, such as self-assessments, peer reviews, customer feedback, or observations. After getting comprehensive data, business owners and managers can then use software for data analysis and identify the strengths, gaps, or opportunities of their employees. 

Last but not least, the data collected at outlet and individual levels will allow managers to better evaluate staff for promotion. By combining quantitative data such as staff attendance, productivity and performance, with qualitative data such as feedback and reviews, leaders will be better informed and be able to promote staff fairly.

By using technology, F&B business leaders can drive better training adoption, measure performance, give proper recognition and promotion to employees, and also identify what aspects of training need to be reevaluated. 


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