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Vaibhav Punj, CEO of Tim Hortons Singapore. /Photo provided.

Tim Hortons Singapore CEO on embracing innovation with humanity

Vaibhav Punj will share his journey in the QSR industry during a fireside chat.

For Tim Hortons Singapore’s CEO Vaibhav Punj, the evolution of restaurant technology has increased efficiency for the industry but restaurants still should ensure not to remove the human touch from the equation.

Vaibhav will join the QSR Media Asia Tabsquare Conference & Awards 2024 this 23 April at Furama RiverFront Singapore. In a fireside chat, Vaibhav will share his experiences across the industry, his thoughts and opinions on the latest trends and challenges, as well as learn more about Tim Hortons' plan in Singapore.

Ahead of the conference, QSR Media had a quick chat with Vaibhav about technology trends and keeping competitive in an ever-changing landscape.

What are some of the interesting trends you've noticed in the past year that QSR leaders should keep an eye out for?

I have certainly seen the evolution of restaurant technologies – it could be as simple as the connected order printers to ensure correction, to HR software which can help HR teams onboard, train, and do payrolls but also lets restaurant managers schedule staff restaurants and do their daily checklists and routines. Obviously, kiosks and table ordering everywhere are endless. Just the sheer number of cold calls I get tell me there is a lot of focus on this. It’s a good thing in a lot of ways as it does increase efficiency but one has to be careful to also ensure that we don’t lose the human angle in our business and not overcomplicate the journey for our guests.

What has been your top challenge for the year and how did you and your brand overcome it?

All of us who operate in Singapore know how big an issue labour is especially for new businesses without any quotas for foreign workers. As we launched to big crowds we struggled to find the right quantum. Our office teams came to the rescue, including my leadership team and I were down there in the restaurants making coffee, and cleaning the restaurants. Honestly, it was a great experience as all of us learned first-hand from our guests and the team bonded extremely well.

How do you think QSRs could maintain their competitive advantage in a quickly changing landscape?

Our core proposition is our food and it is critical to do two things consistently. One, continue improving the quality of the product which you serve as the guest is upgrading constantly. It could be in terms of size or sheer quality of ingredients, and two continue innovating. I have seen the SEA market take a huge swing in the last few years towards Korean and Japanese fast food and this has certainly impacted the traditional Western QSRs it would be critical to read the trends and try to ride the wave.

For more information about the QSR Media Asia Tabsquare Conference & Awards 2024, please click this link here.

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