Salmon is a rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids that is required as part of our diet to maintain good levels of skin collagen and, therefore, elasticity - Ma Whye Chung, Dietitian, Department of Dietetics, Singapore General Hospital 7 May 2019, "Eat your way to good skin". Pink Fish at Jewel Changi Airport B1-261/262 offer tasty & convenient fresh Norwegian salmon meals, dishes and recipes by Norwegian World Champion Chef Geir Skeie, served with eco-friendly biogradable packaging ... "helping keep our fjords and oceans clean for future generations". Enjoy mouth-watering Texas BBQ 110 gram salmon Burger, Hawaii Poke... by the glass view of running waters of HSBC Rain Vortex, the world's tallest indoor waterfall at 40 metres high. Pink Fish restaurant tables are installed with power point to keep your laptops and mobile phones running for as long as you dine and drink and stay connected with WiFi@Changi
Singapore consumers are among the most digitally connected in the world in 2016, accordingly to an Annual GfK Connected Consumer Index which compared 78 countries in the 5-year study period between 2010 to 2016. The index incorporated 11 device types - smartphone, tablet, mobile PC, desktop PC, wearables, smart TV, TV set-top box, video games console, e-reader, connected cars, smart home (Sources: gfk.com; The Straits Times). The Wireless@SG broadband programme, a part of Singapore's Next Generation National Infocomm Infrastructure was launched by the IMDA (Infocom Media Development Authority) to promote wireless broadband 'Lifestyle' among citizens and all other residents who "work-live-play here". Consumers are able access to free internet connection at a speed of 5 Mbps island-wide.
With the profileration of free WiFi via Wireless@SG at shopping malls, libraries, and other public places and dedicated free WiFi at cafes evolved a "New Workspace" phenomenon for flexible, hotdesking or mobility "offices", meetings, study, tuition, video-gaming, movies and leisure internet-surfing. The National Library at 100 Victoria Street is the most luxurious - large seating capacity on large floor area, wide aisles, high ceiling, conducive, quiet, good air quality, ample power points on multiple floors. Workspace users on level 5 are treated with beverages and snacks from row of dispenser machines and refreshing pool view of Intercontinental Hotel or head down to the ground floor to enjoy range of tasty Tau Sar Piah pastry and good coffee at Hanis Cafe. Users on the 11th floor get a picturesque view of buildings of different eras - top view of 1887 Raffles Hotel, red-white 1979 HDB flats above Bras Brasah Complex and 1986 Westin Stamford (now Swissôtel The Stamford), the world's tallest hotel until 1997, designed Chinese American Architect I.M.Pei, born in Guangzhou, raised in Hong Kong and Shanghai, well remembered for his design of the famous Louvre Pyramid in Paris.
Will this New Workspace pose any challenges to paid Co-Sharing Space firms that provide flexible workspace and small meeting rooms in quiet conducive working environment. But quiet workspace can be'çold' if it does not have good acoustic features- carpet, wall paper, noise reduction coefficient (NRC) ceiling tiles, acoustic workstation panels and sound masking systems that emit background noise for speech privacy - it may not be çondusive for private meetings and discusions. Background noises from intermittent milk frother, smoothie blending machine, soothing in-house music and can help muffle or blur the conversation 1 to 2 table distance away. Open-concept offices at IBM are usually fitted up with sound masking system and higher noise reduction coefficient ceiling tiles than most offices.
These days popular cafes, restaurants, fast food outlets and local coffee and toast outlets in shopping malls are becoming regular Workspace and meeting place for business owners and startups, free lancers, insurance agents, property agents, social service interviews, enclaves of upper secondary, junior college and tertiary students doing their studies in airconditioned comfort (it is hot staying at home for long hours) with free access to WiFi connection and power outlets for charging of laptops and mobile phones provided by some outlets. These F&B outlets are akin to full facilities Free Real Estate Workspace where customers tend to spend long hours with purchase of beverages, some snacks or food.
Singapore is the third international country outside North America to introduce Starbucks. From its flagship outlet at Liat Towers inaugurated on 14 December 1996, Starbucks Singapore has expanded to 159 cafes island-wide. Starbucks' tagline - "Friendly people, great music and a comfortable upbeat meeting place create the famous Starbucks Experience" is synonymous with many of its lifestyle designer chic cafes in Singapore that have been attracting the Gen Y-Gen Z customers who are comfortable in their usage of digital technologies and social media and willing to spend drinks at premium prices for good workspace equipped with Wifi and generous provision of power outlets to keep their laptops and mobile phones power up for as long as they remain in the cafe.
Certain Starbuck Cafes within the heartland shopping malls such as North Point City in Yishun that has good wifi connection, good Jazz music, comfortable ambience (but noisy after office hours) and direct access to the MRT station is an enclaves of well-mannered tertiary students studying and working on projects with their laptops, commonly a Macbook - personal identity that assumilates into the cafe lifestyle setting. Starbuck at the new Paya Lebar Quarters are drawing scores of tertiary students, fair number of working professionals and a place for business discussions. Seat hogging ? Well, Starbucks provide free Wifi, laptop charging power points and cosy workspace and it sell more to them, the target market, who fill up the space most hours which would otherwise be half occupied or quiet outside the couple of peak hours business. These young are the "Star" customers who bring in the"bucks" to the Starbucks stores and there is also a Starbucks outlet at the National University of Singapore U-Town for the young which operates 24-hour during school term, Vacation term: Mon – Sun and Public Holidays: 0800 – 2200hrs.
Fast food restaurant chains, McDonald's, KFC and Burger King are less popular than cafes such as Starbucks, Spinelli, Costa Coffee and Coffee Bean for use as "workspace" as the dining area is usually small, narrow aisle, small tables, and may not wifi or power outlets for mobile and laptop users. Except McDonalds' which has its own Wifi and Singtel mobile connections, KFC and Burger King have to depend on the public wireless@sg network provided IMDA, Information Media Development Authority, at major shopping malls. Property agents and insurance agents use these fast food workspace to meet their clients to sign documents as they may be more convenient and a relatively cheaper place than Starbuck Cafe for short meeting of an hour or so over coffee or tea.
But since Covid 19 safe distancing measures were enforced, favourite workspace at beverage and food outlets are less crowded.
Among the most attractive fast food restaurants for comfortable dining and use as workspace is McDonalds' Marine Cove by the sea which opened on 2 July 2016 at East Coast Park after a four-year hiatus. Spanning 8,439 square feet, it is the largest McDonald’s stores in Singapore, offering a wide ranging menu of salad bar and dessert bars, soups, sandwiches, sweet treats, Affogato, wafflesand and at the McCafe section. McDonald’s Marine Cove features numerous wireless charging stations along the benches by the large window and the large group seating island high tables with free McDonald's Wifi connection and free Singtel Wifi connection for Singtel mobile users. There are outdoor- sheltered seatings for those who prefer to engage with the natural air, park and seaview environment. It is a Kids' Paradise, popular among parents who bring the children first to play at one of the most "adventurous" playground and then to the McDonalds Restaurant, a stone throw away, slurping the classic cones ice-cream to pampering McFlurries, Chocolate Hot Fudge Sundae, Fruity Strawberry Sundae or rich smooth Milkshakes.
"A tiny island welcomes a giant restaurant chainWe opened our first restaurant in Singapore in 1979. And what an event that was – the world’s highest volume of hamburgers was served that day in October at Liat Towers. Today, over 120 McDonald’s restaurants island-wide serve 1.2 million customers each week. And around 9,000 employees keep Singapore’s favourite restaurant running ship-shape." https://www.mcdonalds.com.sg/our-brands/mcdonalds-brands/
"The franchise was brought in by former national water polo player Robert Kwan through McDonald's Restaurants Pte Ltd, a joint venture he set up with McDonald's parent company.He first walked into a McDonald's outlet in 1975 on a driving trip to Las Vegas and became hooked on its burgers.His first attempt to get a franchise in Singapore failed. But the Chicago-based corporation became interested in bringing its food here in 1977 and signed an agreement with Mr Kwan the following year.In 2003, Mr Kwan sold his stake, believed to be 10 per cent, which meant that McDonald's Singapore became wholly owned by the head office" - The Straits Times JUL 26, 2016. " Robert Kwan was an ACS boy. After completing his Junior College, Mr Kwan was driving a van selling his own stationery supplies. While in the US he tried to secure the McDonald's franchise but was unsuccessful. About 5 years later the McDonald's Hong Kong Headquarters contacted him to offer him the franchise for Singapore" - Brief account of a businessman and developer of a family business.
Local coffee and toast outlets, Killiney Kopitiam, Fun Toast, Kaffe and Toast, Coffee Kaki, Ya Kun, Toast Box, Ah Khoo Kopi Toast subsidiary of Han's and Hanis are sprouting up in every shopping malls, airport terminals, hospitals, the Central Business District, conservation shop houses, including Light Industrial Hubs and Business Parks, offering coffee made in traditonal way, toast bread and half boiled egg, complementing the original menu served by old time coffee shophouses, in modern airconditioned cafe ambience. Those local coffee and toast outlets' with one feet six inches square tables and non ergonomic stools within a squeezy small real estate shop space, which also serve Mee Siam, Mee Rebus, Nasi Lemak and other food to supplement their revenue ( Coffee and Toast alone cannot justify rental and overheads) do not draw long-sitting laptop user customers. They serve the niche market of working professional who conservative spenders in CBD for chats over coffee as well as aunties and uncles in the heartland and airport for long chats, in much contrast with the outgoing youths willing to spend $7 to $8 at Starbuck for their favourite choice of Frappuccino® Blended Beverages: Chocolate Mocha, Caramel Macchiato, Java Chip, Hojicha Creme, Chocolate Mocha, Green Tea Creme ...
These cafes have lost the nostalgic 'flavour' of traditional way of toasting bread on metal grill over concrete charocal pit and making coffee from fresher coffee beans roasted in big manual rotating drum over a 6 by 5 feet bed of charcoal at the coffee shop backyard, serving customers on at the marble tables and wooden chairs. The traditional coffee shops are vanishing giving way to nation's rapid building redevelopments, modernization and productivity.
Pioneer Mr Ong, 71 has been making coffee and toasting bread since the age of 10-12 years old helping out in a coffee shop. Still agile and looking younger than his age he has been continuing the tradition for the past 3 decades with his brother, 61 at Keng Wah Sung Perfect Toast Coffee Shop 781 Geylang Road serving great coffee and toast bread. The ground level coffee shop of the URA Conservation Art Deco building has maintained the nostalgia of the interior. It uses both the traditional grill and portable electric toaster to make the perfect toast with good Kaya and butter.
Wanton Noodle, Mee Siam, Nasi Lemak and Chinese home cooked dishes are other good food at Keng Wah Sung Perfect Toast Coffee Shop. Leong Hua Wanton Noodle has beeen whipping up decades old traditional Wanton Mee passed down from generations. It relocated here some 3 years ago after operating for more than 40 years at Hock Choo Co. coffee shop 427 Changi Road which has also a good Hokkien Mee stall, Lim Hokkien Mee, drawing regular customers from East Coast, Frankel Ave, Bedok and Kembangan and Joo Chiat.
CG Ang 2021-01-21