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Singapore launches its first vending machine cafe in Sengkang

SINGAPORE's first food vending machines serving a variety of food and beverages (think piping hot seafood hor fun or curry rice or chicken carbonara round the clock) was launched at Block 320C Anchorvale Drive on Sunday.

The 'VendCafe', comprising six vending machines and stand-up dining tables, allows residents to enjoy a no-fuss, tasty (and healthy) hot meal in less than three minutes at any time of the day, according to a joint statement by Spring Singapore and the Housing & Development Board (HDB).

The pilot project launched over the weekend is jointly facilitated by Spring Singapore and the HDB and will be operated by JR Vending. The plan is for more food vending machines to be rolled out at other sites too.

"If successful here in Sengkang and a few other pilot sites where we will try out the VendCafe concept, it will be replicated around the island," said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam who launched the the Anchorvale VendCafe on Sunday morning.

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It is hoped that the food vending machines will open up a new distribution channel in Singapore's food services industry beset by manpower constraints, rising wage costs and high rental costs. A 2015 study commissioned by Spring concluded that vending machines use 70 per cent to 90 per cent fewer workers than a typical food stall.