For full-service restaurant owners, alcohol sales are critical to a restaurant’s profitability. With profit margins generally higher for alcohol than food, selling and upselling beer, wine, and liquor can make or break a restaurant’s success. But with great profit, comes great responsibility. If you or one of your staff members fails to serve alcohol responsibly and according to the law, you can face serious consequences. The illegal sale of alcohol can lead to people being injured or killed in alcohol-related accidents. Your operation could be fined, sued, or shut down. As a manager, you can be held personally liable, and in some cases, so can your staff.
Components of Responsible Alcohol Service
As a restaurant owner or manager, you have a legal obligation to ensure everyone on your staff knows how to serve alcohol responsibly. Build a solid foundation for responsible alcohol sales with these components:
House Policy on Alcohol Sales
Your house policies describe exactly what is expected of your staff. Federal and local laws can serve as the baseline for your alcohol sales policy, but don’t stop there. Be specific about what your restaurant’s rules are regarding alcohol selling hours, ID checking requirements, employee responsibilities, and customer safety.
Federal, State, and Local Laws
Alcohol sales are first and foremost regulated by federal law, and states and municipalities often impose further restrictions. Many states have what are commonly referred to as “dram shop” laws which can hold businesses and sellers of alcohol liable when they sell to minors or intoxicated customers who later cause death, injury, or property damage. If you’re not sure what the laws are where you operate, seek legal advice.
Many states require compliance training for restaurant employees who sell and serve alcohol. Some require special licensing of alcohol sellers and servers. Even if your state laws don’t require employee training, you need to do it. When your employees are trained to sell alcohol responsibly, they can make decisions that protect customers, the restaurant, and themselves. Online responsible alcohol sales and service training is easy to implement and allows you to track who has completed the training and who is due for a refresher course.
Responsible Alcohol Sales and Service Training Program for Restaurants
Training is the key to ensuring everyone in your restaurant knows how to serve alcohol responsibly and according to the law. Ready Training Online’s Responsible Alcohol Sales and Service Training Program includes real-world selling and serving examples to help your employees understand and implement what they learn. Click here for more information and watch a preview below.