This time every year, family and friends come together to celebrate a variety of occasions, and the majority of Americans celebrate with alcohol. As someone who serves alcohol, it is your responsibility to ensure your patrons aren’t going overboard. During the holidays, there is a huge spike in alcohol consumption nationwide, and because of this there is always an associated spike of DUI’s and Alcohol-related incidents. More pedestrians are killed by drivers on New Year’s Day than on any other day of the year, many of them alcohol related accidents. In the United States, the daily average death count from alcohol-impaired accidents is 36, on Christmas that number jumps to an average of 45 deaths, and that number jumps up again to 54 deaths per day over the New Year’s holiday.
StateFoodSafety’s Alcohol Server/Seller Training teaches many practices that will help you keep your patrons and yourself safe this holiday season. Below are just a few of the key principles:
- Know how to identify minors and fake ID’s. Never serve alcohol to a minor. When families are served together, those above the age of 21 can order alcohol with their meals, but you must watch to be sure that minors are not drinking from their parents’ glasses. Make sure to check the ID of every customer you serve, especially if they look like they could be underage.
- Keep track of the number of drinks your patrons consume. In most states there is a limit to the amount of alcohol a patron can consume in your restaurant or bar. Proper serving cup sizes are based on the amount of alcohol contained in them. A 1.5 oz. shot glass of 80 proof has as much alcohol as a 5 oz. glass of wine, which has the same amount of alcohol as a 12 oz. mug of beer.
- Don’t serve alcohol to intoxicated customers. In areas where bar hopping is popular, you will need to be aware of the signs of intoxication so you know when to refuse service. While walking from location to location spaces out consumption and lowers the effects of alcohol, patrons can still end up over-drinking and become intoxicated. Although you might not know how much alcohol a customer has consumed, it is still your responsibility to look for signs of intoxication and determine when to stop serving alcohol.
- Serve food with all alcoholic beverages whenever possible. Food helps to keep your customers from becoming intoxicated by slowing their rate of intake and slowing the rate of alcohol absorption into the bloodstream. Always offer appetizers and meals to your customers when they order alcohol.
Following these four principles could help you keep your patrons from jail, the hospital, or worse; and will allow them to more fully enjoy their holiday season. In many states, cities, and counties the person or establishment serving alcohol can be held responsible and face legal action if one of their patrons is involved in an alcohol-related accident. Don’t let this happen to you! Be safe and enjoy the holidays!