Modern hawker dining, with a heart
New 'smart' Jurong West hawker centre will plough profits back into community
Residents of Jurong West can now look forward to a unique hawker dining experience at a "smart" food centre that will also give back to the community.
Officially opened yesterday, the 500-seater Jurong West Hawker Centre - in Jurong West Street 61, beside Pioneer Mall - offers options from 34 cooked food stalls and boasts smart technology features.
These include self-payment kiosks that accept cash and eight cashless payment options, as well as free Wi-Fi.
The hawker centre, managed by Koufu subsidiary Hawker Management, also has three roving robots to collect used trays from customers.
Hawker Management will run the food centre on a "not-for-profit" basis. The earnings it makes will be pumped back into the community, in the form of community initiatives.
These include health screenings for residents, setting up of flea markets and handouts to needy residents.
Mr David Yang, chief operating officer of Hawker Management, said the modern technological conveniences can appeal to people who may not like eating at hawker centres, especially those among the younger generation.
The hawker centre is a "much-awaited addition" to the community, said MP for West Coast GRC Patrick Tay, who officially opened the facility with fellow MP Cedric Foo and Senior Minister of State for Health and the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor.
There are also 14 market stalls.
Hawker Management has introduced the Happy Hawkerpreneurs programme to groom aspiring hawkers by supporting them with subsidies to lower initial capital costs and provide guidance in running a stall.
Six stalls in the Jurong West Hawker Centre have been set aside for this initiative, and the applicants were chosen after they submitted their ideas for a stall to Hawker Management.
A spokesman said for their first year, operators of these six stalls will be given guidance in setting up, management and marketing.
"Hawker Management will also fully subsidise external training costs, set-up costs of menu, signage, counter top and servery wall, and their first month's rental and security deposit will be waived," the spokesman added.
One such stall owner is Madam Lim Peck Ngoh, 42, who made the switch after about 20 years in the engineering industry.
She was inspired by her mother, who sold nasi lemak in Outram before she retired.
"With the Happy Hawkerpreneurs, I get help in trying this out and making my childhood dream come true," she said.
"One day, I hope that I can open food outlets overseas and start a food empire of my own."