Sino Land moves into dishwashing to save Hong Kong restaurants money
Property developer expands cleaning services offering cheaper answer to city's restaurants facing hiring problem
Sino Land looks like your typical Hong Kong property developer.
The company has a portfolio of 11 million sq ft of investment properties running the gamut from retail stores, offices and hotels. That made Sino Land the sixth-largest developer in the city.
You can now add dishwashing to the list as Sino Land expanded its cleaning services, which was first founded in 1988, nearly a decade before the handover of Hong Kong to China.
"While [an] increasing number of restaurant owners face difficulties in hiring dish cleaners, we provide a solution for them," said Terence Ng Chun-man, a director of Perfect Green Supplies, the environmental and hygiene product and service arm of Sino Property Services, a unit of Sino Land.
Ng said its centralised dishwashing centre could help their clients, mostly fast-food chains that include Café de Coral and medium-sized eateries, to save up to 30 per cent from cleaning the dishware.
He said that based on their market studies, each outlet of a fast-food chain had to hire an average of three dishwashers.
"If a fast-food chain operates 10 outlets, it needs to have 30 dishwashers. But if they use our centralised dishwashing, they not only save the labour cost but also help them focus their efforts in generating higher sales by improving their menu to entice their clients," he said.
A fast-food place or a restaurant would normally pay HK$11,000 a month for one dishwasher who works 10 hours per day and is able to clean about 500 sets of tableware. Taking into account wages, mandatory provident fund, meals, utilities, detergent and bleach, Ng estimates an operator could spend about HK$19,900 for a dishwasher.
That could be reduced to as low as HK$13,888 if the restaurants opted to use the company's centralised dishwashing centre, he said.
Its first 6,000 sq ft Perfect Wash Dishwashing and Sterilisation Service Centre in Yau Tong Industrial City opened on May 8 and has received tremendous interest from restaurants in the nearby area. The centre houses two automated operation lines equipped with dishwashers and a sterilisation machine. Each line can process more than 7,000 pieces of tableware per hour.
"Eight out of every 10 clients we met have expressed interest in using our dishwashing services after they visited our centre," Ng said.
At this early stage, he said the company would first target restaurants in the nearby area.
"And we are now developing a logistics system with Polytechnic University. It will help us map out the fastest routes when we deliver the tableware back to our clients. The preparation is needed as we see the rapid development of the business," he said.
The firm planned to open its second Perfect Wash Dishwashing and Sterilisation Service Centre on Hong Kong Island, he said.
Nelson Leung Chi-man, an assistant general manager at Perfect Green, said a typical fast-food outlet needed between 2,000 and 3,000 tableware.
"Our peak working hours are from 11am after breakfast, 2pm to 3pm after lunch, and 5pm and 6pm after tea time. Some of our clients need to wash two rounds per day. The first round is after breakfast, and we deliver the cleaned dishes back to our clients before lunch," he said.
The dishes, bowls, spoons, forks and chopsticks are collected in boxes after breakfast, washed and dried at the factory and sent back to the restaurants before they can be used during lunch.
"Our operation lines are fully automated and it takes just an hour to finish cleaning, sterilising and packing thousands of tableware. But the biggest challenge is logistics as we have to deliver the tableware to our clients in a short time," he said.