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Asean restaurant associations to share ideas, help members enter regional markets

DINERS here can look forward to more innovative dining concepts from South-east Asia, as restaurant associations in the region come together to share their ideas and creations.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed on Thursday by the restaurant associations from Singapore, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam to form an Asean Restaurant Association Alliance.

The MOU will help the food and beverage (F&B) sectors in Singapore and the other countries to expand their offerings into Asean markets, as well as promote the sharing of best practices and even the use of interesting ingredients or cooking methods.

Under the agreement, they will also promote one another's events and organise joint activities to benefit their members and create business relationships.

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The MOU was signed at the inaugural Restaurant Asia 2019 expo held at the Marina Bay Sands Singapore Expo and Convention Centre.

"With the common goal to promote development and excellence of the F&B community in Asean, the formation of this alliance signifies our determination, conviction and confidence to work together to propel the industry to greater heights," said Vincent Tan, president of the Restaurant Association of Singapore, in a speech at the event.

The association has more than 400 members that represent close to 700 brands and more than 3,600 food outlets here.

Mr Tan told The Straits Times: "With this MOU, we are able to further extend our network into the Asean countries and encourage an internationalisation approach for our members."

He pointed out that opportunities abound in the region due to Asean's growing 650 million population.

Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat said that F&B enterprises should go beyond technology to thrive, highlighting the MOU as an example.

"The focus is not only on cutting costs and reducing headcount, these are the denominator of the productivity formula," he said.

"It is also about achieving larger scale, higher value-add and greater profitability, to increase productivity by raising the numerator."

THE STRAITS TIMES