SAB and AB InBev support local retailers

Gauteng liquor sellers benefit from retailer development programme

Joshua Chabalala, tavern owner of ‘Come Together Place’ in Tembisa (front) alongside other fellow tavern owners who participated in the SAB Retailer Development Programme in 2018.

More than 500 liquor retailers, some struggling business owners, based in South Africa, Tanzania and Ghana, have completed an intensive AB InBev Retailer Development Programme (RDP) aimed at improving the chances of their business experiencing financial success in the mid-to-long-term.

In South Africa, 155 liquor retailers based in Tembisa, Sebokeng and Mamelodi completed the business skills training programme and graduated, along with 200 retailers from Tanzania and 200 in Ghana.

“In South Africa, small business failure rate is almost 80%," said David Hauxwell, SAB's vice president of procurement and sustainability. "This is due to a range of issues including the lack of support and resources they have available to them in managing and growing their business.”

AB InBev intends rolling the RDP out to additional retailers across South Africa, Tanzania and Ghana in 2019, and across other key AB InBev African markets.

“It’s important that we take a holistic approach to improving lives through business by creating new entrepreneurs and empowering existing business owners so that they operate sustainable entities able to create jobs within local communities and sufficiently provide for the retailer and their families.”

The RDP training involves a combination of facilitator classroom sessions, in-store coaching and visits to the retailer’s business premises, as a comprehensive approach to developing the retailers' business and entrepreneurial capability.

In addition, the RDP is a high-impact approach to engaging liquor traders on the effects and harm caused by the misuse of alcohol in local communities and highlights the importance of trading responsibly to maintain their licence to trade.

“The extensive network of retailers with whom AB InBev works across our markets occupy the perfect position within society to be leading role models in the drive to reduce the harm caused by the misuse of alcohol and to encourage more responsible alcohol consumption habits among community members,” said Hauxwell.

SAB undertook intensive deep-dive research among retailers in South Africa, Ghana and Tanzania to understand their needs as business owners and to identify the gaps and opportunities. The RDP training was then tailored according to this.

The content of the RDP training includes:


  • determining whether the business is making or losing money;
  • financial management, including separating business and personal finances;
  • adequate stock and record-keeping; managing cash for working capital;
  • identifying and evaluating investment opportunities;
  • identifying and selecting funding sources;
  • marketing;
  • customer service; and
  • making the best use of available space.

An intensive selection process to participate in the RDP identifies those retailers with an entrepreneurial mindset and who are growth-driven. Participating retailers are based in locations where training opportunities are scarce.

The knowledge and skills obtained from RDP are shared by the participating retailers with their employees and family members involved in the business, ensuring that learnings have a multiple effect within communities and that the successes yielded are increased and sustainable.

AB InBev intends rolling the RDP out to additional retailers across South Africa, Tanzania and Ghana in 2019, and across other key AB InBev African markets.

A monitoring and evaluation process of each retailer’s business performance over the next 12 months will determine the real impact the RDP had.

Based on similar programmes run by AB InBev across the world, in particular, Latin America, results indicate that retailers report increased sales and profits as a result of implementing the RDP-type learnings within their businesses.

“We will continue walking the journey with our retailers post-RDP, complementing the training they have received to ensure that they are well-equipped to build businesses that grow over time,” said Hauxwell. 

Spotong had the opportunity to chat to a tavern owner and recipient of the programme, Joshua Chabalala, who owns Come Together Place, to find out how the programme has benefited his business.

What knowledge have you gained from the programme and how has it assisted you in running your tavern?

Since opening my tavern three years ago, my focus has only been on making money but I lacked the skills on how to make it sustainable. The knowledge that I gained regarding money management, marketing, stocktaking and recordkeeping was what I have been lacking. I have never recorded any transactions and I never knew exactly how much money was coming in and going out. My petty cash box was a free-for-all!  Since implementing my newfound knowledge, I know exactly where my business finances stand and I understand the cash flow of my business. In previous months I struggled to pay salaries because I didn’t have a system and I didn’t invest the time in doing, keeping and understanding all the records that I needed for my business. I now pay myself a salary and have separated my business and personal accounts. I have finally learnt how to take my business to the next level with proper planning and that excites me!

What was the highlight of the programme for you?

The highlight of the programme was the in-store coaching, which I really enjoyed. I also enjoyed the training on the effects and harm caused by the misuse of alcohol in local communities and how as a tavern owner, I can trade responsibly and educate my patrons on the dangers of alcohol.

Have you seen any significant changes in your business since completing the programme?

My business has changed a lot! My tavern is growing and my finances are better than it has ever been. I always had marketing ideas but never knew how to implement them. Since completing the programme, I have gone full steam with my marketing plan and it is working! I have implemented a weekend theme that is bringing feet through my doors. On Friday and Saturday, I now host house music sessions and on Sunday, Soulful Sunday Sessions is drawing a huge crowd. The money is rolling in and my tavern is finally taking off! Thank you SAB and AB InBev!