28 Aug '13, 7am

'Kopi kia' to stay, but you may have to pay for service

'Kopi kia' to stay, but you may have to pay for service

Coffee-shop operators may be facing a labour crunch, but the traditional kopi kia are here to stay for now. All of the 10 coffee-shop operators who spoke to The Straits Times said that they cannot do without the workers, whose name is Hokkien for coffee boy. This is despite a proposal made six months ago by two prominent coffee associations to do away with them. The kopi kia shuttle between drink stalls and customers' tables to take orders and serve drinks. For this reason, they are also known as "runners". In the competitive coffee shop business, runners are seen as providing an "additional service" for customers. "It's true that we can save a lot on the labour side if we implement self-service," said Mr Kelvin Ling, who operates two coffee shops in Hougang and Toa Payoh. He estimated that he can save between $6,000 and $8,000 a month at each coffee shop if he does away w...

Full article: http://www.soshiok.com/content/kopi-kia-stay-you-may-have...

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