BreadTalk officially opens $67 million international headquarters in Tai Seng

BreadTalk officially opens $67 million international headquarters in Tai Seng

The architecture of the 10-storey building was inspired by Danish pastry, the group said.

Get the full story from The Straits Times.

Read on for the speech by Deputy Prime Minister & Minister for Finance, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam:

Mr George Quek, Chairman of BreadTalk Group, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

"It gives me great pleasure today to join you to witness the official opening of the BreadTalk International Headquarters.

"BreadTalk is a good story. There are several reasons behind its outstanding growth over the last 13 years - innovative products, a strong focus on improving internal processes and manpower quality, and an appetite for internationalisation. But we all know that behind these reasons is a more fundamental factor - the entrepreneurial spirit. As founder-entrepreneur, George Quek had ambition and drive. He depended on himself and his people in BreadTalk, and developed networks with others. Even when he receives Government support, he makes sure he is never dependent on Government. This is why BreadTalk is a good story.

Our food industry has been growing well in the last five years1. It also has good prospects in the years to come. There is no lack of demand in Asia especially.

We must aim for Singapore to be one of Asia's top culinary capitals, and a distinctive destination globally. But we can only do so by going for quality, and by upgrading and restructuring our industry. Our restaurateurs and food manufacturers already face a challenging domestic environment. The labour market will remain tight. The supply of land will also remain tight. The food industry is also increasingly crowded, with many more establishments being formed in recent years, despite the labour shortage.

We therefore have to go for quality growth in the food industry, not just volume growth. Just like for our economy as a whole.

It will mean going for quality in both traditional and innovative dishes and cuisines; and going for better manpower quality, better pay and better ways of managing and empowering employees. We must put every effort into achieving this, and use the full Government support available.

It is the only way the industry can do well, in Singapore and abroad. It will also allow the food industry to provide desirable jobs for employees young and old, like similar jobs in several advanced countries.

Achieving this will require many improvements. Some of this is about continuous, incremental improvements. They may be small changes, but they add up. However we also need major or 'disruptive' innovations from time to time. In other words, innovations that displace existing players or cannibalise existing products even within your own firm, or innovations that create new market segments and customer demands that never existed before. These major innovations are necessary even in a so-called 'old-economy' industry like food.

There are many examples of this internationally, and we are already seeing some examples locally.

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