How to Safely Manage Intoxicated Patrons

Posted on: December 23, 2020 by RMS Hospitality

Alcohol sales are great for profit margins with low overhead for restaurants. However, the drawback is that some bars and restaurants might have to handle an overly intoxicated customer from time to time. Yes, customers who’ve tasted too many beers might be louder than usual or a little confident in their speech. But for customers who cross the line into hostile territory, knowing how to handle intoxicated persons to limit the potential for accidents is essential.

Keep in Mind: It’s the Law

Dram shop laws and the penalties they carry vary from state to state. This liability is a law that governs commercial establishments serving alcoholic beverages and protects the public from the hazards of a bar overserving someone. Dram shop laws hold the establishment responsible for alcohol sales issues to visibly drunk customers and minors who end up causing death or injury to third parties. The point here is that overserving customers puts everyone in harm’s way and only opens the door to potential lawsuits and legal complications that can drain a bar’s finances.

By adhering to these laws, sticking to drinking limits, and investing in a Sports Bar Insurance Program to provide financial and legal help can come together to keep establishments accountable.

Ensure Customers Leave the Bar Safely

Kicking a customer out and yelling, “And stay out!” might sound like the only thing to do, but in reality, it’s not enough. If a drunk customer leaves the bar, gets behind the wheel, and causes an accident, the establishment they left and drank at could be held liable.

Not only do bars and restaurants not want accidents, injuries, and death on their hands, but they likely can’t afford to pay a multimillion-dollar sum. Bars must make sure the customer has transportation of some kind—either in the form of a sober friend, Uber or Lyft, or public transit. Bar management should let the customer know their safety and the safety of everyone else is important.

Don’t Overserve

The best advice is to simply not overserve customers. If someone comes in already under the influence, staff should watch them and cut them off to maintain a safe environment for everyone on site. More than anything, bars and restaurants don’t want any legal liability if there are any issues. They can always ask customers to leave and get them off the property safely.

Worst case scenario, clients in the industry can call them a cab or call the cops to stop any potential issues before they start. Staff should be on the lookout for slurred speech, slow response time, poor motor skills, or overtly loud voices.

Offer Water and Respect

If staff feels a customer has had too much to drink, they should start by serving them water to sober them up some or suggest they order food to soak up some of the liquor they’ve consumed. At first, staff should be friendly not to agitate the customer and avoid patronizing tones.

If a patron needs to be cut off entirely, management should pull them aside and respectfully but firmly let them know that they will no longer be able to order an alcoholic beverage. They can stay on premises as long as they take steps to sober up, including water or food, as mentioned above, and stay out of everyone’s way to not create a scene of some kind.

Staff should remain courteous to the customer but take the necessary steps to kick them out and order them transportation if need be.

About RMS Hospitality Group

At RMS Hospitality Group, our expertly crafted policies are written specifically for the hospitality industry. We offer custom-tailored solutions to meet any venue’s specific needs. For more information, contact our experts today at (888) 359-8390.

Posted in: Sports Bar Insurance

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