An Iconic Refreshment
Words by Earnest Lim

How ARTEA Refreshed Itself Through Adopting Technology

ARTEA, a Singapore-based tea and dessert brand, is becoming increasingly popular among locals. Their unique art-inspired tins became instantly iconic and went viral on Instagram as people started taking photos with cans and bottles. As the company grew, the management realized that an operational change was needed to become more effective.

The ARTEA story

ARTEA’s remarkable story began in 2018 with the opening of its first store in Singapore. Today, the team behind this wonderful company serves people in two different locations.

ARTEA is known for their wobbly soufflé pancakes, but they also sell eye-catching desserts and drinks served in an airy white space with huge flowers and ultra-feminine decor. Long lines form on weekends, and the tiramisu, one of their flagship dishes, is well received by customers. The takeaway desserts are as magical as they are delicious. Each box is individually wrapped in gold foil paper and placed in a clear plastic bag so everyone can admire the elegant presentation.

Desserts at ARTEA

It’s no wonder the delicious desserts and original, unique teas and shakes, available in 26 different flavours and combinations, have become so popular. The beautifully designed cups and cans are served in the sit-down café to hundreds of customers a day.

An operational update needed

As the business evolved, it became increasingly difficult to maintain the pace and quality of service with manual processing of orders, administration, and accounting. Although the company was working with younger staff, they too were struggling due to the lack of automation. That was when ARTEA’s management reached out to NTUC’s Employment & Employability Institute (e2i) for assistance. Under the WorkPro Job Redesign initiative, e2i worked closely with ARTEA’s management team to identify and implement technologies that would improve the company’s operational productivity.

Because there were no effective automated systems, the current ordering, tracking, and reporting processes required a lot of time and effort from workers. Employees had to manually process orders, track information in simple tracking systems like Excel, and generate various reports.

The sales process was updated with point-of-sale terminals at both locations. Not only did this allow customers to use credit cards and built-in mobile payment technologies, but based on the POS system, ARTEA can now track each order individually and automatically.

All orders go through the same system, whether placed online or in person at one of ARTEA’s cafes. These orders automatically land in the kitchen’s queue, eliminating the need for additional information exchange before order processing. Since kitchen inventory is also managed through the same system, it helps staff request procurement of any low in stock ingredient, which is especially important since ARTEA offers its tea made from fresh, unrefrigerated ingredients.

Effectiveness has increased incredibly with these changes, as the time from order to table has dropped from 8 minutes to just 3 minutes, ultimately resulting in many happy customers. Queues have become much shorter. The whole process now requires 2-3 staff members compared to 4 previously, allowing waiters to focus on their customers. The project resulted in at least one older worker aged 50 & above receiving a wage increment due to productivity gains.

Although it was an important management decision to move away from manual processes, the customers are the focus at the end of the day, and they all welcomed these changes with open arms.

Visit ARTEA’s outlets at Harbourfront Walk, #01-100/101 VivoCity, Singapore 098585 or 1 Woodlands Square, #B1-K22 Causeway Point, Singapore 738099.  

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