If you work as a server in a place that serves alcohol, like Italian restaurants or bars, it is your responsibility to realize when a customer has had enough to drink. When you realize that you shouldn't serve a customer any more drinks with alcohol, here is what you need to do to protect yourself and the restaurant that you work for.
Stop Bringing Them Alcoholic Drinks
In most states, it is up to the server or bartender to determine when a customer has had too much to drink. Once you feel that a customer cannot handle any more drinks, it is up to you to cut them off. If the customer were to leave the restaurant and were to get injured or injure someone else because they were drunk, you and your restaurant could be held responsible for your patrons actions.
When you have noticed that a customer has had enough to drink, the first thing you need to do is not bring them anymore drinks that contain alcohol. To make this transition easier, when the customer orders their next drink with alcohol, tell them that you can't serve them that drink and then offer an alternative drink that you think they would enjoy instead. Try to match the alternative drink to the type of drinks and flavors that you notice they have been enjoying.
If for some reason you are not comfortable speaking with a customer, see if another server or manager can inform the customer that they will not be served any more alcoholic drinks.
Bring Them An Alternative Drink
Even if the customer does not take you up on your offer of another drink, you should still bring them something else to drink. See if your restaurant will offer the drink for free in situations like this; it can help smooth the blow of being cut-off.
Providing an alternative drink keeps the customer safely inside of your restaurant while also giving them time to sober up and become hydrated again.
You may want to provide the customer with some water, coffee, hot tea, soda, iced tea, or juice. The key is to provide them with another way to get hydrated while staying safe in your restaurant.
Check and see if you are able to offer customers in this situation complementary chips or bread; sometimes little snacks like this can help sober up a patron who has reached their limit.
Offer To Arrange For Transportation Home
Finally, you don't want to be held responsible for your customer getting into an accident on the way home. To reduce your and the restaurant's liability, make sure that you offer to arrange the customer a ride home; you don't want anything to happen to them and to be held responsible for their actions.
Ask if there is someone you can call to pick them up. If they say there is no one, offer to call a cab for the customer and offer to hold onto the customer's car keys for safe keeping. Make sure that you make at least two or three offers to provide alternative transportation home to the customer; if something happens, it will easy to show that you did everything in your power to stop the customer from driving while under the influence.
It is a good idea to talk to the management at your restaurant and see if they have any special tips, advice, or support that they can provide you with when dealing with a customer that needs to be cut-off.
As a busy restaurant owner, it isn't always easy to know how to resolve problems. You might have employees that just don't work as hard as they need to or cooks who don't quite understand what you expect in terms of quality. However, this blog is here to help you to know how to hone your operation into a well-oiled machine. Read these articles to learn more about potential problems, the risks your restaurant faces, and ways to keep people from slacking off on the clock. You never know, it might save your business or keep your employees on point.