No need for staff at void deck cafe

A first-of-its-kind "vending machine cafe" serving hot meals, sandwiches, snacks and drinks round the clock opened in Sengkang yesterday.

The VendCafe, at the void deck of Block 320C Anchorvale Drive, has six vending machines and stand-up dining tables.

Two Chef-In-Box machines dispense hot meals in under three minutes, offering Western and local fare such as seafood hor fun and spaghetti bolognese.

There will be 30 meals priced at between $3.50 and $5.

Meals can also be bought frozen for later consumption.

Other machines sell freshly squeezed orange juice, hot beverages and grab-and-go items such as wraps and snacks.

This is a pilot project of Spring Singapore and the Housing Board and there are plans to roll out more VendCafes over the coming year.

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam launched the Anchorvale VendCafe yesterday morning, and sampled Chef-in-Box's salted egg yolk pasta with shrimp.

Mr Tharman, who is also Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, noted the current manpower shortage, particularly in the food and beverage sector.

"The F&B sector takes up almost 
5 per cent of our total workforce, and it's still growing as a sector, but we can't keep growing manpower, in particular, foreign manpower.

"So we have to find ways of using technology without compromising consumers' desire for taste, health, nutrition and convenience," he said.

"So this is one of the experiments, and it's very common in places like Japan, Taiwan and the UK."

"No, I was not hunting Pokémon there."

— Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, putting up on Facebook a picture he took at Safra Punggol. He explained that he was there to record his National Day message, which will be broadcast this evening.