How to Create a Safe Environment When Serving Alcohol

Responsible alcohol serving

Lots of people enjoy having a drink, in fact, the average American will drink nearly 10 liters of alcohol a year. With so many people looking to quench their thirst with an ice-cold drink, it’s no wonder there are so many bars and restaurants serving alcohol. While drinking is fun for customers, this leaves business owners exposed to some serious risks.

Your patrons could get into a fight inside your bar or drive home drunk, causing an accident. While logically, the intoxicated person should be the one to pay, in reality, your business could be liable for the damages and injuries. A single claim could ruin all the hard work you’ve put into your business. So it is essential to protect yourself against claims that come with serving alcohol. One of the best ways to minimize risk is to reduce the chance of claims being filed in the first place.

Training: Teach Employees to Spot Intoxication

Liability claims against a bar or restaurant due to injuries or damages caused by an intoxicated individual can get quite expensive. One common scenario of an alcohol-related claim is – when a drunk person leaves a nightclub, drives away and gets involved in an accident. In this situation, the family of the victim could sue that nightclub for damages.

To avoid such cases, it is recommended not to serve alcohol to visibly intoxicated person (VIP). And it is only possible when your employees are capable to spot intoxication. That’s why it is essential to provide proper training to the staff so that they can identify who is intoxicated or who is not with ease.

Signs of Visible Intoxication

There are several signs of visible intoxication. If a person shows only one or two of these symptoms that doesn’t mean that particular individual is intoxicated. An individual can be considered inebriated only when he shows a combination of different signs or a sudden change in behavior. Some common symptoms of visible intoxication include:

  • Flushed face
  • Watery eyes and droopy eyelids
  • Noisy, loud, or slurred speech
  • Aggressive
  • Overly friendly to staff or other guests
  • Unable to sit straight or stand up
  • Moody or crying
  • Clumsy or disoriented
  • Vomiting
  • The odor of alcohol-related or other drugs
  • Repeated trips to outside area or restroom

Conduct a training course for your employees and teach them how to identify an inebriated person. Tell them to not serve whenever they notice a combination of the signs mentioned above in a person.

Encourage Open Communication with Your Staff

Building a culture of open communication in your restaurant or bar where anyone can say anything to a manager or bartender regarding an intoxicated patron is really necessary. A culture of openness and constant vigilance in your business not only decreases the chances of customers’ accidents but also helps you in keeping your establishment away from legal issues.

Serve Alcohol Properly

If you’re tending bar in your restaurant, you should serve alcohol safely. There are several risks associated with serving alcoholic beverages. If you’re not taking your job seriously, you could face a lot of consequences, such as fines, loss of liquor license, increased insurance costs, etc. To avoid any of these issues, you should practice responsible serving of alcohol every day. Here are some tips that you should follow while serving alcohol:

  • Count drinks
  • Observe the behavior of the drinker
  • Offer food and water to guests
  • Do not over-serve your guests

Professionalism: How to Deal with Drunk Patrons

As mentioned above, slurred speech and watery eyes are the signs of inebriation. As a restaurant owner, you should know how to deal with drunk patrons. Knowing how to deal with intoxicated people can make a huge difference when it comes to maintaining the reputation of your business. There are several strategies you can consider to deal with drunk people, and some of them include:

  • Offer Food: Eating food, like pizza, burger, etc. while drinking lowers the intake of alcohol in the body. If you notice that a person is drinking continuously, suggest him to buy some food rather than drinks.

  • Bring Up Water, Tea or Coffee: Suggest your guests try a non-alcoholic drink. Green tea, in particular, is a great alternative which can help them to let the liquor pass through the body.

  • Ignore the Drunk Person: Rather than relying on an intoxicated person to stop, it is suggested to decrease the flow of alcohol yourself. This strategy will provide the drunk patron more time to let the alcohol pass through his system.

Carry Insurance

If you own a bar and don’t have insurance coverage, you could end up being responsible for civil and criminal damages; resulting in hefty legal costs. To protect your business against liability claims, it is advised to take some early actions. One perfect solution to this is to get a Liquor Liability insurance Coverage. Having insurance means protecting your business, valuable assets, employees, and even yourself.

Liquor Liability insurance provides full coverage to your establishment against different claims and even protect you when a drunk client or his victims sue your business. Before investing in Liquor Liability insurance, make sure to talk to your insurer in person, and discuss the coverage plan wisely.

Final Words

Apart from purchasing an insurance policy, you should be proactive in minimizing your alcohol-induced claims. From training staff to encourage open communication to boosting professionalism and paying attention to other important details, you may decrease your chances of having to deal with any Liquor Liability claim and enforcing a safe alcohol service practice.


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