Training for beer servers to handle drunk, rowdy customers

Beer servers at more than 500 coffee shops and hawker centres across Singapore will soon be able to recognise signs that customers are drunk and handle rowdy ones better.

By next month, all 580 brand promoters of Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) Singapore, which sells brands like Tiger Beer, would have learnt to serve alcohol responsibly. About 480 of them have already completed the training introduced by APB Singapore.

Delivered mainly in Mandarin, the language of choice for front-line staff, the three-hour training includes theory lessons, discussions, role play, as well as an assessment at the end. Beer servers learn to spot signs of intoxication based on cues like slurred speech, and to prevent patrons from drinking more by chatting with them and suggesting they consume some food.

But APB Singapore head of corporate relations Shannen Fong said it would be unrealistic to expect the training to eliminate alcohol-related issues at coffee shops or hawker centres. It "has never set out to eradicate, but to mitigate such problems".

Over 50 outlet managers and supervisors from coffee-shop chains Kopitiam Investment and S-11 F&B Holdings have also attended the training.

In a statement yesterday, the Ministry of Home Affairs said APB's move will help address issues of public disorder and disamenities that may result from excessive drinking. It encouraged liquor suppliers and retailers to adopt measures towards responsible liquor sale, in line with the Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Act.

Madam Ann Koh, 50, a liquor brand promoter at Lau Pa Sat for 16 years, completed the training in January. She said: "As the first point of contact, we need to be ready to handle a drunk and difficult customer when the situation arises."

calyang@sph.com.sg