To serve or not to serve? That is the question—could be a million dollar question if that tipsy young woman you served a Long Island Ice Tea accidently steals the red Porsche in your parking lot and crashes into a Maserati.
Woe to the barkeep who doesn’t know the alcohol server regulations or the host who knows next to zilch about the state social host law.
Thank your lucky stars because knowledge and training are effective hedges against costly fines, legal suits, and/or ruinous incarceration. Beyond common-sense precautions (such as not serving alcoholic beverages to 14-year-olds), here are five practical tips from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) to protect yourself when serving Long Island Ice Teas and similar libations:
- Do not serve an alcoholic beverage to anyone who is intoxicated. If you don’t want a conflagration, you don’t throw gasoline into the fire. Which begs the question: how do you know a customer has had one too many? Well, always monitor your customers. Look for loud, slurred speech, inappropriateness, clumsiness, bloodshot eyes, and disorientation.
- Do not serve alcoholic beverages to the point of intoxication. To paraphrase Ben Franklin: An ounce of prevention is better than a pint of pale ale. You should know when to stop serving alcohol to your customers. It’s tricky because the signs vary from person to person, but experienced alcohol servers are alert to the signs before intoxication really sets in: flushed skin, reduced inhibition, heightened aggression, and nausea. When any of these are observed in a customer, service should be halted.
- Do not allow any employee to drink alcoholic beverages on the job. It’s fine to be one in spirit with customers, but it isn’t acceptable to be one in spirits. An overly happy employee doesn’t a happy customer make. After all, alcohol servers are supposed to be the guardians of their customers against intoxication.
- Do not serve an alcoholic beverage to anyone under the age of 21. Doing so is illegal and will get you into bad trouble with the authorities. This is why it’s critically important for alcohol servers to know how to check IDs to prevent the inadvertent sale of alcohol to minors.
- Inform law-enforcement authorities when intervention attempts with minors or intoxicated persons fail. Although there’s good training out there on how to deal with unruly, intoxicated customers and minors, there comes a point when it’s time to call police. By informing the authorities, you not only shift the burden from yourself and your establishment, but you also prevent the situation from escalating. An intoxicated person can be destructive, violent, and bad for business.
To learn all this and more, go to learn2serve.com and enroll in Learn2Serve’s Alcohol Seller and Server Certification. The fully online course will help you become a responsible seller or server of alcohol, and also will enable you to protect yourself and your establishment from alcohol-related liabilities and administrative actions.
Source: TABC Blog by Learn 2 Serve