Bartender Training for Safety – How to Protect the Public and Your Business from Excessive Drinking
We’ve all seen someone at a club or a bar who has definitely had too much to drink. Sometimes they are out with friends and it’s clear that the friends are “taking care” of the excessive drinker. Other times, the person is alone. In either case, it’s the responsibility of a bartender to do everything they can to make sure the public is safe from drunk drivers.
Yes, in addition to knowing how to mix drinks, entertain, have good customer service, be therapists, handle money, and keep everything clean and organized, bartenders and servers need to know when to cut someone off. It’s all a part of your bartender safety training.
There are a few reasons for this. One is, of course, legal. The implications of not cutting someone off can be huge and even business-ending for a bar or restaurant. But there is another reason, too. No one in your establishment is going to want to be around someone who is overly drunk. Sure, have fun. Drink until you’re “happy,” but not being able to stand or manage yourself makes for an unfun party goer.
So how do you know when it’s time to end it and cut someone off? Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
The eyes are the window to the soul. When they are glazed over, tuned out, and/or bloodshot, all you can see is trouble. Make it a point to look into your patrons’ eyes. Make sure they can keep their eyes open and focus on you. If they can’t do that long enough to make their order, that’s a big red flag.
If you hear “GimmeanoderdrinkkkkKK,” it’s time to start serving water or soda. Slurred speech is a big indicator that your guest has had way too much to drink.
Poor Motor Skills
Falling, loss of balance, staggering, spilling drinks, knocking over things, and making a mess out of the line dances are all things each worker should be looking for. When you get to the point that you’re motor skills are impaired, you have reached your alcohol limit.
Of course if someone is trying to pick a fight, they need to go. But there could be more subtle aggressive behavior issues to look for as well. These include things like being rude to staff, yelling out in anger, being in someone’s face or grabbing at them, and overall being a drunk pain.
When you see these types of concerns, how do you then go about cutting off the guest from more alcohol? Here’s where diplomacy and tact come into play. Typically, the standard is for the bartender to start serving water, have the guest pay their tab, and call them an Uber or taxi cab. However, it’s doesn’t always happen so smoothly.
A few ways you can help the process along is to tell the customer when they are getting their last drink – “Here’s your last beer so make it a good one” followed by the check. Delivering the check is another signal that it’s time to close up. Perhaps you can switch them to food. Welcome them to come back the next day and be served again. Speak in a quiet but firm voice. Don’t draw attention from other patrons as that could be embarrassing. Be firm, but not aggressive in delivering your information.
Normally, your customers will appreciate bartender training and you looking out for them. Even if it means they don’t fully appreciate it until the next day. Good luck!