He sold his terrace house in Pasir Ris for $1.1 million to help fund the purchase of three commercial dishwashers, each as big as an MRT train cabin.
The German machines cost Mr Lawrence Low $120,000 each.
Another $150,000 was spent to set up a factory in Sembawang where six full-time employees clear residual food off crockery before loading them into the stainless-steel dishwashers.
The idea to start Synnovate Solutions was seeded in 2009 when the Government announced that it would be clamping down on the hiring of foreign workers here.
The holder of a diploma in hotel management said: "The first thing that came to my mind was, how would restaurants cope? Cleaning dishes is the dirtiest and lowest job. Many locals don't want to do it."
While Mr Low, 50, believed his outsourcing service would work, the road to making money has proven a long and winding one.
He recalled the first day of operations on Dec 5, 2010.
He was raring to go, said the father of two, as he had a deal with NTUC Foodfare to wash 25,000 items a day over the next three years.
The former managing director of a catering firm had hired four people to work the morning shift and another four in the afternoon.
But only three showed up.