Any business that serves alcohol should be aware of their liquor liability exposure. In my travels as a loss control professional, I often consult the owners and managers of restaurants, bars, clubs, event centers, caterers, wineries, and breweries. Alcohol certainly contributes to the enjoyment many people get from these establishments and events. Your patrons’ enjoyment increases bottom line profits but also increases your liability exposure in this category.
As a huge fan of the craft beer revolution and a homebrew hobbyist, I enjoy trying out new styles of beer, wine and cocktails. One thing that always concerns me is the wide variety of alcohol content. People can always get a little out-of-hand with everything from light domestic drafts to hard liquors, especially when experimenting with new drinks that are stronger than their usual fare.
The environment and setting can result in people consuming alcohol in ways that cause them to have too much too fast. Hot weather, tastings of higher strength drinks, festivals, and special events can result in increased drinking pace.
Servers should be properly trained and able to spot the difference between people enjoying themselves and people who will get themselves and your business in trouble. There are a number of alcohol awareness training resources available, so do some research to find the best option for your business.
Some insurance companies offer access to programs like TIPS (Training for Intervention Procedures) to provide cost-effective training for liquor liability policyholders. TIPS is a dynamic, skills-based training program designed to reduce drunk driving, underage drinking, and intoxication by enhancing the fundamental “people skills” of servers, sellers, and consumers of alcohol.
People who participate in the TIPS program are able to better spot underage drinkers, recognize signs of intoxication, intervene to prevent problem situations, and properly handle refusal situations. The benefits of this training for a business are that it can reduce the exposure to alcohol liability lawsuits, address issues specific to your operation, reduce penalties for violations, and improve customer service and professionalism.
Some companies may offer policyholders a premium discount for this training. Discounts can add up quickly, especially for businesses that hire a lot of temporary or seasonal servers. Also, a staff member can also become a certified in-house TIPS trainer through a two-day workshop which will allow you to have a full-time customer service expert on site.
Contact TIPS at 800-438-8477 (x357), firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.gettips.com for more information.
Once you’ve got the serving of your spirits under control, we can get back to discussing the art involved in dry-hopping your beer, herb infusing your liquors, and whether your wine tastes better aged in French or American oak barrels.
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