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S’pore Bubble Tea Kiosk Hires Deaf Staff Who Serve Drinks Through A Hole-In-The-Wall

The quirky concept is also unexpectedly good for safe distancing.

The quirky concept is also unexpectedly good for safe distancing.

The quirky concept is also unexpectedly good for safe distancing.

At first glance, BJ Milkytea doesn’t look like a bubble tea kiosk. The BBT brand, which officially opened in July 2021, occupies a tiny unit at the old-school Tanjong Pagar Plaza (opposite 100AM mall), though you won’t see any staff members preparing drinks or a number board informing customers to collect their orders.

The kiosk’s facade is entirely covered by a faux brick wall, save for a tiny hole with a curtain. This is where BJ Milkytea’s staff stick out their arms and pass bubble tea orders to customers (best safe distancing safety measure, we say).

1 of 5 How it works

It sounds like a contraband deal, except it’s all for a good reason: the kiosk hires deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals to prepare its BBT. The wall allows minimal customer interaction, so the staff can focus on making beverages. This includes picks like Brown Sugar Fresh Milk ($4.80/ $5.80), Champagne Grape Fiesta Fruit Tea ($5) and Earl Grey Tea ($2.60/ $3.60).

The bubble tea

  • 2 of 5 You don’t have to place your order through the hole, though

    Customers can peruse a digital menu set up in front of the kiosk and place their orders with a (non-hearing impaired) staff member stationed there who will communicate with the kitchen. Or you can further reduce in-person contact by scanning a QR code and placing your order online.

  • 3 of 5 And here’s the fun part

    Once your drink is ready, a kitchen staff will pass you the cup through the hole in the wall. But the hand that’s sticking out will be a cute, furry bear paw.

  • 4 of 5 Beary cute concept

    BJ Milkytea is owned by trained barista Benny Xu (pictured), who started the kiosk with his wife Jessie (hence the BJ acronym). He also owns a Hong Kong dessert shop called Lucky Dessert in Shanghai. The couple decided to go with a fun bear-themed concept to represent their family as they also have a young kid. For this weekend (Sept 18-19), they are offering a promotion where customers who buy six drinks can get a free tote bag.

  • 5 of 5 Address and opening hours

    Address: #01-07 Tanjong Pagar Plaza, S082001

    Tel: 84823197

    Opening hours: Open daily 11am-7pm.

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    Photos: BJ Milkytea/ Yip Jieying

    Related topics

    bubble tea bj milkytea deaf staff Tanjong Pagar

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