5 Tips to Manage Your Liquor Liability Exposure

Drunk driving continues to be the cause of approximately 10,000 vehicle-related fatalities each year. Victims and their families file suits against restaurants and bars for serving customers who were later involved in a collision.  Dram Shop Laws establish a chain of responsibility in 30 states, which means restaurants and bars, as well as their employees, can be held directly liable for damages and bodily harm caused by individuals to whom they served alcohol. Having liquor liability insurance helps mitigate the costs should your establishment be held legally liable for damages, but best practice is to prevent drunk driving from the beginning.

Here are 5 ways you can help prevent drunk driving and limit your liquor liability exposure.

  1. Train staff on how to identify and determine if someone has had too much to drink.
    Key Factors to look for:
    1. Slurred/Slowed speech
    2. Red eyes or lack of focus
    3. Looses train of thought easily
    4. Staggering or unable to walk
    5. Decreased motor skills, unable to hold a pen/straw or light a cigarette
    6. Drinking rapidly
  2. Roleplay scenarios in which staff should deny service to help them feel comfortable doing so and offer guidance on how to go about it
    1. Be polite and offer alternatives to alcohol such as food or non-alcoholic drinks
    2. Build empathy by explaining to the customer that the server could face consequences such as loosing their job if they continue to serve them
    3. Offer to call a cab or ride for the patron to get home
    4. Be firm
    5. Have a manager available should the patron become confrontational
    6. If someone does become aggressive and needs to be denied service, be sure to fill out an incident report that notes the name of the patron, date, time, and details of what occurred such as refusal to serve, belligerent or aggressive behaviors, use of fake IDs, effort to arrange a ride home, etc. This could prove valuable if a liability case is brought against you.
  3. If a patron appears to be drinking too much or too quickly, slow down service. A great customer experience doesn’t need to include a new drink the moment the previous one is empty.
  4. Always serve water with alcoholic drinks and refill water often. Refilling water can go a long way towards mitigating the effects of alcohol.
  5. Have food available, such as trail mix, popcorn, bread, or items for purchase. Suggest food pairing each time a drink is ordered to encourage food consumption.

For more information on ways you can limit your various liability exposures, contact Concklin Insurance Agency.