Chateraise opening unmanned store in Bukit Batok, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Chateraise opening unmanned store in Bukit Batok

Grabbing a sweet treat is about to get a lot more seamless.

Japanese confectionery brand Chateraise is launching its first unmanned store outside Japan in Singapore. The 280 sq ft space is located in Bukit Batok and will open on March 8. 

Customers can scan a QR code to download the Chateraise SG application before entering the store. After keying in their payment details and entering through the gantries, they are free to grab and go as they please. Only six customers are allowed in the store at any one time. 

Try new items, like the Double Fantasy Yakiimo – choux pastry filled with cream and sweet potato custard – and the Cookie Cream Puff, piped full of frozen vanilla or Belgian chocolate custard. 

Those who prefer familiar favourites will find the original custard and matcha Double Fantasy cream puffs, as well as the popular condensed-milk ice cream sandwiched between monaka wafers. However, whole and sliced cakes are not available. 

That is because the 24-hour store has no staff on duty. CCTV cameras and motion sensors mounted on the ceiling track what each customer has removed from the shelves.

“The biggest advantage of being open 24 hours is that customers living nearby can purchase products immediately without having to wait in line when they want to eat,” Mr Masayuki Matsuoka, director of Chateraise Singapore, tells The Straits Times during an exclusive preview of the outlet on Feb 26. 

Chateraise opened its first unmanned store in Tokyo’s Nishi-Azabu district in 2023. Customers there complete their purchases on payment terminals near the exit. 

However, at the Singapore outlet, customers can simply exit via the gantries with their items, with the app automatically deducting the relevant amount.

The Tokyo store has been a success, shortening shopping time for customers and allowing the brand to keep the store running round the clock, according to Mr Matsuoka. 

The 37-year-old says the company felt that Singapore was the most appropriate place to test the expansion of this concept.

He notes: “Unmanned stores are expanding in Singapore, with many ‘pick up and go’ stores that are more advanced than Chateraise’s unmanned stores in Japan, offering automated payments.

“Moreover, Singapore is known for its high level of public safety, ranking alongside Japan.” 

He adds that the unmanned store will help the company save on labour costs, which have been on the rise in Singapore. 

Chateraise is considering opening its second unmanned store in Singapore, which could also be ready by 2024.

This, along with future unmanned stores, could potentially be located in suitable residential areas.

Chateraise’s unmanned store opens on March 8 at 01-71 Le Quest Mall, 4 Bukit Batok Street 41.