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How to Minimize Alcohol Liability Risk

Restaurant owners & managers can reduce their alcohol liability risk through a comprehensive approach on all aspects of alcohol compliance; policy, training and monitoring.

Written Policies

  • Be specific in your written policies and include them in all employee handbooks.

Example: instead of writing “ID everyone who appears to be under 40” – a better policy would be “ID any patron who is under 40.” The language, “appears to be” gives an employee automatic out by taking the position that the patron “appeared” to be of proper age.

  • Managers should review all policies with employees & be sure to document the review
  • All employees should be familiar with and compliant with all written policies in the employee handbook. All employees should sign the handbook.
  • Include provisions regarding easy identification and treatment of minors. On average, 80% of failed compliance checks occur after the employee requests and is shown a minor’s ID, but fails to recognize it as a minors’ ID or verify the age.
  • Incorporate relevant provincial or federal laws involving alcohol. Businesses with multiple locations in different provinces may need to pay attention to the different provincial restrictions.

High-Quality Comprehensive Training

  • Train employees on responsible alcohol sales and service
  • Engage all managers in alcohol training
  • The training program should include comprehensive coverage of: provincial and federal laws, ID checking procedures, recognition of fake IDs, proper protocol for refusing sales, how alcohol affects patrons, how to deal with intoxicated or difficult customers
  • At the end of each training, conduct tests to ensure employees understand all topics

Proactive Monitoring

  • Establish programs and procedures for monitoring employee compliance
  • Regular reminders & refresher training
  • Utilize mystery shoppers
  • Manager review programs
  • Incentives to reward regular implementation of responsible alcohol sales and service procedures
  • Disciplinary measure for employees who do not follow company policy

Original article source: 3 Critical Steps to Minimize Alcohol Liability Risk

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