Beer promoters get training to handle alcohol-related problems at work

Beer promoters get training to handle alcohol-related problems at work
Asia Pacific Breweries will train beer girls from Kopitiam and S11 food courts on how to deal with difficult customers.

Distraction or sweet-talking usually does the job when it comes to dealing with drunk customers.

Take it from beer promoter Jiang Bang Yun.

Ms Jiang, 26, who works at Lau Pa Sat, has seen her fair share of them.

"I try to distract them by suggesting they order some food so they don't order beer for a while," she said.

"Sometimes, I have to sweet-talk customers by thanking them for their support, and offering to buy them a drink when they come back the next day."

Agreeing, fellow beer promoter Ann Koh, 50, who works at the same place, added: "The good thing is that there are many types of food here."

This is just one of the tricks that the two promoters from Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) Singapore learnt during a three-hour training session in January.

Called the Alcohol Sales/Service Educational Tools (Asset) initiative, the programme, which is made of theory and role-playing portions, aims to equip and empower beer promoters with the know-how to deal with alcohol-related problems in their workplace.

For instance, beer promoters learn to sieve out customers who are drunk, and try to dissuade them from ordering more.

Although the promoters already have some tricks of their own dealing with difficult customers, they found that the course affirmed and gave them more confidence in handling drunk customers.

Ms Koh, who has worked as a beer promoter for more than a decade, said: "We used to run to our operations personnel at the hawker centre whenever something cropped up as we didn't feel like we could handle it.

"After the course, we feel like we are better equipped and don't have to ask for help for every little thing that happens."

Ever since the new liquor restrictions kicked in on April 1, Miss Jiang said she has found herself putting what she learnt during the training session to good use - explaining what the new liquor law entails to her customers.

Under the Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Act, drinking is banned in all public places from 10.30pm to 7am every day.

Customers are also not allowed to buy and take any alcohol home after 10.30pm. They can, however, still consume alcohol within licensed premises like restaurants, coffee shops or bars, in accordance with the hours stipulated in their respective licences.

"Many people, including tourists, ask me about this new law. They think they are no longer allowed to drink after 10.30pm," she said. As for those who insist on buying takeaway bottles, Miss Jiang simply declines politely.

"I just explain to them nicely that they can only drink in our premises, and take them to a table.

"Most of them listen. It's not that we don't want to let them. It's just that it's against the law," she said.

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