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Serve Responsibly

After Midnight: Resolutions for Ringing in a Safe New Year

December 9, 2009 By: Donna Hood Crecca Night Club and Bar Magazine


Right about now, everyone is undoubtedly thinking about their New Year’s resolutions. We checked in with some leaders on the  responsible alcohol service (RAS) front to see what they’re resolving to do differently in 2010 or what they hope bar operators will resolve to do to ensure a truly safe New Year for everyone who walks through their doors. Here are their RAS Resolution recommendations:

“My resolution would be to appoint a dedicated manager to the task of responsible alcohol service. This ‘RAS Czar’ would not only be responsible for keeping him- or herself certified to instruct an RAS course (saving money by not having to outsource that task and ensuring quicker certifications), but he/she also would devise shift meetings and daily reminders to help keep the staff on track. The manager would be partially bonused/incentivized on training and certification percentages and successful compliance checks.” — Tim Kirkland, Renegade Hospitality

“I’d like to challenge operators to resolve to come up with three new ideas or best practices that would help operators reinforce RAS training — essentially tips and tricks that are used — and then share them with the industry so other operators can enhance their programs. My personal resolution is to teach my friends and family how to serve more responsibly at home parties.” — Sam Stanovich, NRA Solutions/ServSafe Alcohol

“I hope operators think more broadly about responsibility. Nightlife venue operators can tap into two growing markets — those over 50 and those under 30 — each of which brings new expectations for value, safety and vibrancy. Because these two groups socialize on split schedules — before and after 10 p.m., respectively — reorienting business plans and design to focus on sociability and entertainment, rather than simply being places to drink, shifts revenue streams toward the value of the space rather than the price of a drink. This is a fiscally sound, holistic and responsible approach to the business.” — Jim Peters, Responsible Hospitality Institute

Resolve to Implement Best Practices

What can you do to protect your license and ensure the safety and well-being of your customers in 2010? Trevor Estelle of TIPS (Training for Intervention ProcedureS) offers a few best practices:

1. Create and publish an alcohol service policy and instruct every employee to follow it. If you already have a written policy, review it and make appropriate changes to address any of the issues you may have had in 2009. If you do not yet have a written policy, now is the time to create and implement one.

2. Train and re-train staff and management. Your staff training should include a requirement for certification through a reputable alcohol server training program. The advantages of certifying your staff include liability insurance discounts; a greater ability to prevent intoxication, drunk driving and underage consumption; and the protection afforded by a reasonable efforts defense in the event of an alcohol-related incident. Be sure to monitor staff conduct and re-train employees when necessary.

3. Keep good records. One of the best defenses against liquor liability lawsuits is good documentation. Consistent and thorough documentation is an essential part of demonstrating a commitment to responsible alcohol service. Record and keep current the certification status of employees.

4. Communicate with the public. Let community members know that you are part of the solution. Demonstrate your commitment to responsible service by working with others, such as community coalitions, law enforcement, local associations and college campuses. Display your ID checking/alcohol service policies in a public place or post signage showing that your staff is certified in a reputable alcohol server training program. NCB


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