In this life we live, one notion is relevant to everyone and that is - the unexpected is to be expected. The hospitality industry is, without a doubt, no exception. Liability matters are something all nightlife owners and operators must stay vigilant about in order to stay afloat.
Nightclub & Bar spoke with security consultant and 2015 Nightclub & Bar speaker, Al Zajic of AWZ Consulting, to learn how operators in the nightlife business can stay proactive and in the clear with the law.
Zajic lists the three most common, yet unexpected liability issues nightclubs and bars face today along with ways to anticipate this and respond effectively.
1. Glass/Bottle incidents: The most preventative method in this case would be simply to re-evaluate the negatives vs. positives on a non-glass venue; no glass, no glass fights.
2. Critical incidents such as fights: Re-evaluate line controls to include bag and weapon checks especially if there is a propensity in the venue.
3. Active Shooter Incidents: The best method to combat this situation is basic response training in active shooter and DHS "Run, Hide, Fight" training to protect customers.
There are also general precautions every nightclub and bar should take in order to stay preemptive towards their business. Zajic suggests making sure operators have a documented policy and procedure for anything that commonly occurs in that particular venue. Also, it is a good idea to have your employee expectations documents and acknowledged.
Be sure to train beyond mandatory alcohol awareness. Managers must make sure all employees are part of the security system by using their eyes and ears, monitoring and reporting incidents or suspicious activity, etc. Zajic advises managers to have a daily staff meeting before opening the doors to cover at least one safety related topic each night and log what you do.
Many people go into business for different reasons, however, all bar professionals have a common goal - to stay in business and make money. At times this can be easier said than done. In order to achieve and maintain success managing social behavior is necessary. Zajic explains this is to make sure to avoid negative perceptions by the general public and law enforcement.
“Do what is reasonable for the venue,” reminds Zajic. “Make sure you invite in local law enforcement or business licensing officials to help in your training of staff and to demonstrate your professionalism.