Beer promoters banned from hawker centres: 5 things to know about beer ladies

A beer promoter serving drinks at a coffeeshop in Toa Payoh Central. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
A beer promoter serving drinks at a coffeeshop in Toa Payoh Central. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

SINGAPORE - Having to wear a tight fitting polo t-shirt and mini skirt and earning only about $1,000 each month, being a beer promoter is not a job that many would like to do. But beer promoters here say that they are just here to make a living. Here are five facts about their job:

1. Topping up a customer's drink is part of the job and not because they want customers to get another bottle, said beer promoters. Beer promoters have been criticised for pushing their customers to down their beer quickly, supposedly because they pick up commissions for the number of bottles customers consume. But 43-year-old beer promoter who only wanted to be known as Qing Qing said that was not true: "I don't think it's right to say that. It's a misunderstanding that people have."

2. Beer promoters are paid about $1,000 a month by breweries and earn a commission of five cents to 10 cents a bottle, said hawkers. They also get tips, which can average $100 a night. Chinese national Qing Qing, for example, works six days a week earning $35 for each five hour shift.

3. There are probably about 600 beer promoters working here and many come from China, Malaysia and Vietnam, ranging in their 20s to 40s.

4. Beer promoters say that the competition heats up when there is more than one of them in the hawker centre. As such, they have to move really quickly so as to make sure they get the customer the moment he sits down. Some may also offer to have a drink or two with patrons in order to sell more bottles.

5. Having regular customers helps. Beer promoter Alice Tan said that apart from having their support: "It's nice to have someone to talk to when I am at work".