Jurong West’s New Hawker Centre Comes With $2.80 Meals And Tray Return Robots

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Jurong West Hawker Centre Is Located At Jurong West Street 61

Singapore’s newest hawker centre is located at the far west, and has a whole gamut of features that seem to signify the next-gen hawker centre: free wifi, self-payment kiosks with cashless options, and cash rebates for tray return.

Except Jurong West Hawker Centre is raising the bar with roving robots that collect used trays.

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Robots are truly taking over. We’ve previously written about tray-return robots at food courts in Bukit Batok, Punggol, and Yishun, and now they’re in Jurong West Hawker Centre too.

Opened by Hawker Management, a subsidiary of food court operator Koufu, Jurong West Hawker Centre is not-for-profit. This means earnings made will be used to fund community initiatives such as health screenings and handouts to needy residents.

In addition, each of the 34 hawker stalls is required to offer two dishes priced at $2.80, to keep prices affordable.

Helping budding hawkers

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Koufu has also launched the Happy Hawkerpreneur programme, which aims to groom aspiring hawkers and sustain the trade by offering free first month rental, subsidised training, and stall signages.

They will also be given guidance in various aspects of running a hawker stall, including management and marketing. Six such stalls are located in the hawker center, chosen by Hawker Management after evaluating their submissions.

Problems expected

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However, while Jurong West Hawker Centre has only just opened, the teething problems have already begun. With cashless payment terminals that accepts 8 payment methods, including credit cards, EZ-Link, and even Apple Pay, there’s bound to be some hawkers who have no idea how operate these systems.

And these problems are definitely happening, at least according to these social media posts.

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Checked out the new Jurong West Hawker Centre and Market in the neighbourhood. In its soft launch, a number of stalls are not yet open. Among the stalls which we patronised this morning, we observed many teething issues. One of them is the electronic payment at the hawker stalls. What seems to be the quickest fast food at hawker centre, turns out to be time consuming. Just because our Prime Minister wants Singapore to become a cashless society, NEA just followed blindly to implement in the new hawker centres. Did the government ever consider if the country is ready to become a cashless society, especially when the country is slowly growing with an aging population? A simple plate of fried bee hoon took me 20 minutes, when I was the 5th in line. 1. The NETS network was very slow. The slow payment process jammed up the queue. 2. In front of me was an elderly lady who attempted to make payment with her NETS. The stall holder was waiting for the acknowledgement of the payment. The queue was building up, but the old Auntie in front of me just stared aimlessly at the payment screen. I couldn’t help but to peek at the NETS machine screen, and saw “INCORRECT PIN”. So I told the Auntie to re-enter her pin. Both the Auntie and stall holder just stared blankly to each holder waiting for the payment to go through, but nothing happened. So I just had to peek at the NETS machine again. Auntie did not pressed the “Enter” button. I couldn’t take it, so I just stepped up and pressed the green button. The stall holder was thankful that I stepped in to help, as she told me she couldn’t see what’s happening on the payor’s side. When it was my turn to pay, the uncle behind me was complaining how slow the payment system was. The big question here is “Are we ready to be a cashless society, Singapore??” . . . #sghawker #sghawkercentre #jurongwesthawkercentre #singapore #igsg #sgfoodies #sgfood #sgeats #cashlesspayment #foodstagram #hawkersg #foodporn

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One of them is the electronic payment at the hawker stalls. What seems to be the quickest fast food at hawker centre, turns out to be time consuming. Just because our Prime Minister wants Singapore to become a cashless society, NEA just followed blindly to implement in the new hawker centres.

Did the government ever consider if the country is ready to become a cashless society, especially when the country is slowly growing with an aging population? A simple plate of fried bee hoon took me 20 minutes, when I was the 5th in line.

1. The NETS network was very slow. The slow payment process jammed up the queue.

2. In front of me was an elderly lady who attempted to make payment with her NETS. The stall holder was waiting for the acknowledgement of the payment. The queue was building up, but the old Auntie in front of me just stared aimlessly at the payment screen. I couldn’t help but to peek at the NETS machine screen, and saw “INCORRECT PIN”. So I told the Auntie to re-enter her pin. Both the Auntie and stall holder just stared blankly to each holder waiting for the payment to go through, but nothing happened. So I just had to peek at the NETS machine again. Auntie did not pressed the “Enter” button. I couldn’t take it, so I just stepped up and pressed the green button.

The stall holder was thankful that I stepped in to help, as she told me she couldn’t see what’s happening on the payor’s side. When it was my turn to pay, the uncle behind me was complaining how slow the payment system was.

The big question here is “Are we ready to be a cashless society, Singapore??”

While we move forward to include screens to everything we do, perhaps it would be good to remember that tech takes a while to get used to, and allowances have to be given to the older generation who probably have no idea what the words on the screen mean.

Besides, its only been open for less than a week. Let’s give the hawkers some time to get used to things.

At least at Jurong, the tray return system here provides a 20 cent rebate, unlike Yishun Park Hawker Centre, which returns $1 per tray.

Featured image via Patrick Tay’s Facebook, @darksilvercloud

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