After Coronavirus finishes making it’s way through the Carolinas, there’s no denying that people will head out in mass to grab a drink from their favorite bar. After all, when this is all said and done, it will have been at least a month since they have had the opportunity to do so. Therefore, it might be hard fought for some people to avoid overdoing it. So, as bartenders and waiters it is our job to brush back up on serving safety. While adults should be able to tend to themselves, it can be hard to acknowledge your limits sometime. Especially when they’ve been repressed for so long now… 

Serving Safety: Intoxicated Customers 

Spotting drunk customers

Anyone who has ever worked in the restaurant industry will be pretty good at picking those people out of the crowd. Whether they’re already past the point of comfort or well on their way—it’s time to intervene. Serving safety comes down to making these determinations in a split second and deciding how to handle it. Many bartenders and servers will have different ways of addressing the issue or monitoring it. They might be swaying, loud, leaning, or falling asleep at your bar top. If these things are happening, or any other number of things, you have to make a decision. Is it milk enough to where you can simply keep an eye out and withhold from serving them for a bit? Or, do you need to cut them off.

Having the difficult conversation

Many bartenders and servers dread this serving safety moment from the first time they get behind the bar. The majority of bartenders will try and avoid having this difficult conversation like the plague. For this reason, many people might end up being over served. If you think about it: one bartender notices the issue but is afraid to say something. The second bartender doesn’t notice at all and gives the person a drink. This cycle can continue all night. Therefore, it’s important to have a script ready for cutting people off quickly. Not to mention, having a backup plan ready if the person reacts badly. 

While some bartenders might be anxious about the blowback when cutting someone off, others might worry about the loss of tips. While this is a valid thing to consider, you also have to consider that when it comes to cutting people off— for most bars it doesn’t happen all that often. Also, most people don’t necessarily come to the bar by themselves. Therefore there is some hope that these people will talk some sense into their friend or tip themselves. 

While it is difficult… we urge you to make the difficult decision 

Serving safety is not fun to practice. However, it can be lifesaving. When people go out and get too drunk, they might make the decision to drive drunk, go home with a stranger, or partake in some other risky behavior. By taking control into your own hands when necessary, you are making a big difference in someone’s life.