What is Singapore’s Lean Enterprise Development (LED) Scheme and How Can it Help Your Restaurant With Staff Shortages?

The SG government has created the LED scheme to help restaurants modernize

Staff Shortages in Singapore’s F&B Industry

Over the last few years, Singapore has faced an ongoing shortage of staff willing to work in the food and beverage industry. “According to relevant data, there are approximately 205,000 workers in the F&B industry (including hawker centers). This figure makes up only around 5% of Singapore’s entire workforce.”

There are several different reasons for this unfortunate situation like mostly students take up part-time shifts at restaurants, working in F&B is not seen as a desirable career path by many and taxes and fees make it hard to hire willing foreign labor. This situation had made one thing clear for Singaporean F&B owners - it’s hard to find employees that will stay long-term in a restaurant setting. 

What Is Singapore’s Lean Enterprise Development (LED) Scheme?

Introduced in 2015, the LED scheme is designed to help progressive enterprises transform and grow in Singapore’s new manpower-lean landscape. The aim is to utilize modern tech solutions (like cloud-based POS systems, eMenus, Self-Service Kiosks and more) and employ local Singaporeans. By doing this, the Singaporean government is hoping the F&B industry can modernize itself while boosting efficiency to counter the shortage of workforce manpower.

Throughout the transition period, qualifying companies can make use of the LED scheme which to “provides transitional manpower support where merited, to facilitate day-to-day operations if you need more time to complete the transformation.”

What Goals is the LED Scheme Aiming For With Singaporean F&B Businesses?

1. Become more manpower-lean 

This means that businesses work on improving processes or business models which use less manpower and foreign workers. This usually comes in the form of utilizing technology to expedite workflow and eliminate the need for staff to complete basic tasks.

2. Build a stronger Singaporean core

Train and empower local Singaporeans to receive better jobs, pay and careers after restructuring.

3. Develop a better quality workforce

Train your staff to be more-skilled and possess a higher degree of expertise.

While businesses work on transitioning their workflow to incorporate more modern tech and local employees, the LED scheme permits companies to:

1. Have temporary foreign workers while recruiting and training locals to take on better jobs.

2. Pool foreign expertise at the industry level to help transfer know-how to your local employees.

What Aid Can the LED Scheme Provide for F&B Businesses?

Enterprises can tap existing assistance schemes, such as the Capability Development Grant by SPRING Singapore, WorkPro Job Resign Grant by WSG, SMEs Go Digital by IMDA, and Inclusive Growth Programme by e2i, to support its upgrading efforts. 

An intra-agency LED taskforce comprising various Government agencies: Ministry of Manpower (MOM), SPRING, Workforce Singapore (WSG), Economic Development Board (EDB), Singapore Tourism Board (STB), Info-Communications Media Development Authority (IMDA), Building and Construction Authority (BCA), National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) will help enterprises in a coordinated manner to tap into relevant assistance. 

Ms. Julia Ng, co-chair of the inter-agency LED Taskforce said during a roundtable meeting, “Workforce Singapore will work closely with specific agencies on piloting job redesign efforts in sectors such as retail, food and beverage, hotels, cleaning and security to help companies implement pre-fitted solutions, improve working conditions and better attract and retain workers at the rank-and-file level.”

How to Apply 

Restaurant owners should use the application form available on MOM’s website to submit an LED Scheme proposal. When preparing the proposal, enterprises should take note of the following points:

1. Specific business challenges faced 

2. Proposed solution/s to become more manpower lean 

3. Type/s of support needed 

4. Implementation Roadmap 

Who to Contact? 

Restauranteurs and members of other industries can send in queries or submit a proposal for the LED Scheme to leds@mom.gov.sg. The LED Taskforce agencies will assess the proposal and follow-up accordingly with the participating enterprises.