Are You Keeping Your Employees and Customers Safe?

Posted on December 13, 2016 by Michelle Locke

There comes a time, in almost every single restaurant’s existence, where you encounter a customer who just doesn’t know when to stop. They push servers and bartenders to the brink of patience; they get loud and obnoxious at other guests. Maybe they’re drinking too much—ordering round after round with little thought to their increasingly belligerent behavior—or maybe they arrived inebriated. Either way, things are getting rapidly out of hand and your employees don’t feel safe. Neither do other customers.

This isn’t just an unpleasant experience. The problems with scenarios like this is that not only do they make customers and employees feel unsafe, they lead to reputation problems (a few guests telling their friends, those friends telling more, and suddenly everyone has heard about it), trust issues amongst your staff, and reduced morale.

When it comes to holidays and alcohol, one of the most important things restaurants can do is make sure they have quality alcohol safety training in place to both prevent situations like this and to stop situations like this in their tracks if they do occur. The holidays are a stressful time period for lots of people, so handling situations like this with delicacy and an eye on safety is of ultimate importance.

Here are our top tips:

  • Make sure bartenders and servers recognize the signs of intoxication. If a guest arrives at your restaurant (or bar) already inebriated, it is at the discretion of the restaurant to refuse to serve them. (We recommend that inebriated guests do not continue to be served alcohol for safety.)
  • Ensure that bartenders and servers know how to effectively check IDs and how to spot fakes. This isn’t just safe for guests and your employees; it’s safe for your restaurant as a business.
  • Have steps in place for if a guest becomes inebriated and aggressive. Security measures, such as specific lockdown procedures or security personnel, will prevent the incident from escalating.
  • Have steps in place to prevent an inebriated guest from driving home. If a server or bartender notices that a guest is inebriated, and making to leave as if they are planning to drive home, take steps to ensure they wait longer in the restaurant; offer them water, offer to call a cab, or simply insist that they have a designated driver.
  • Empower your employees to focus on safety. The safety of employees and guests in your restaurant is of utmost importance. Train them to stay eagle-eyed for sketchy characters, inebriated guests, or incidents that could pop up and encourage them to share these observations with their manager (or you!) should they need assistance.

Know you need help keeping customers safe, but don't know what to do? We can help. We have training content focused specifically on guest and alcohol safety. Click here to send us an email and ask for more information!