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FairPrice food services CEO works as regular employee at eateries to understand workers better

FairPrice Group Food Services Business CEO talks about working as food court employee

Henry Chu, the CEO of FairPrice Group’s Food Services Business, takes a hands-on approach to understanding his employees better by immersing himself in their work environment.

Regularly seen in food courts and restaurants under the company, Mr Chu isn’t just there to observe.

He actively lends a hand during busy periods or when a stall is short on manpower.

FairPrice Group food services CEO works at food courts as employee

According to 8world News, Mr Chu, who was appointed the CEO of FairPrice Group’s Food Services Business in 2022, works as a hawker in different eateries on a monthly basis.

He explained that it was important to make his employees believe that he understood their work and hard effort they put into feeding customers.

Source: 8world News

In addition, a newly opened eatery may not have the necessary number of staff needed for daily operations.

“At this time, I need to set an example by helping them during busy times while allowing them to rest and drink water,” he said. “This lets them know that their boss is here to help.”

Mr Chu went on to state that the food and beverage industry is currently facing manpower constraints, alongside rising costs of ingredients.

As such, working in such stalls and understanding the daily operations can help him improve FairPrice Group’s services.

Understood employees’ struggles better during shift

Mr Chu told 8world News that his most memorable shift was one where he helped out at a Heavenly Wang outlet just after the Covid-19 pandemic.


Source: 8world News

“As soon as I arrived at the store, I saw all the tables covered with plates, cups, and bowls,” he recalled.

When he helped bring the dirty dishes to the kitchen, he learnt that the dishwasher was broken.

“I spent an hour and a half washing the dishes,” he said.

Having been presentable when he first entered the outlet, Mr Chu left the kitchen completely soaked.

“The branch employees still remember that day very well.”

The experience, Mr Chu added, made him more aware of how hard the team has to work as well.

He came to realise that even the smallest changes or equipment malfunctions could have a huge impact on them.

FairPrice Group looking at using tech to help customers & partners

In June last year, Kopitiam stopped using membership cards and switched to the FairPrice Group app for its members.

To date, the app has over 1 million users.

“This technological change allows us to have a clearer understanding of the consumption and favourite products of different customers,” Mr Chu said.

While senior citizens had previously voiced their discontent with the app, preferring the cards instead, Mr Chu said he would see them using the app while working at food courts.

FairPrice Group said it will continue exploring ways to use technology to help customers and employees, including installing self-service kiosks at more outlets.

More customers are health-conscious

With Mr Chu at the helm, FairPrice Group released a series of ready-to-eat meals called “Home Flavours” in October last year.

The meals made it easy for busy folks to make food at home due to simplified processing methods.

As a Teochew, Mr Chu shared that his specialty is braised dishes and hopes to introduce such products in the future.

He also noted that eating habits have changed over the years, with more paying attention to their health.

“After two or three years of the pandemic, perhaps everyone’s needs in life have changed,” he mused.

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Featured image adapted from 8world News.

Sudeshna Dhar

Sudeshna is a lover of all romcoms, especially Gone Girl (2014).

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