Route to productivity Paradise

Productivity: Several productivity initiatives were announced in the Budget unveiled by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Feb 17.

Pressure: In Parliament yesterday, some MPs voiced concerns that the initiatives may not work at ground level.

Possibility: Some firms show productivity improves the way they operate

A central kitchen at Admiralty produces dishes and desserts that can be prepared daily in advance of orders.

They are then sent to different outlets.

A computer-based "delayed firing system" ensures a course, like the entrees, is served one after another and not at the same time at tables.

Kitchen of the future? Not quite.

Paradise Group Holdings introduced the custom-designed system to increase its productivity in September 2010.

The New Paper spoke with CEO Eldwin Chua and COO Eldan Chua at the Seafood Paradise Restaurant located at DefuLane.

They said they received partial funding (about $200,000) from Spring Singapore to streamline processes with technology in their 24 Chinese restaurants including Paradise Inn, Taste Paradise and Seafood Paradise and catering service One Paradise.

The company spent about $100,000.

They then turned to a vendor to design the computer-based system which is currently in use sorting out orders to the restaurant kitchen.

The system needed constant refinement and testing, but has proven to improve the accuracy oforders. Mr Edlan Chua said they also spent heavily on the "Central Kitchen" - about $600,000. Spring Singapore funded about half the amount for this.

He added: "This ensures that there is consistency in the way our dishes taste at the different outlets."

Doing so meant manpower at the individual restaurants was freed up to prepare other dishes.

Mr Eldan Chua, 32, said the funding helps to ease the rising costs of lease and raw materials which are essential for business operations.

The business started as a humble zi char restaurant in an industrial estate at Defu Lane.

In 2002, it was turned into Seafood Paradise, which is famous for its signature creamy butter crab.

Last year, the company's revenue was $50million - almost double the amount it made in 2010.

This article was first published in The New Paper.