As a new restaurant owner, one of the most exciting steps in the process is often securing your liquor license. If you've recently obtained yours and you're getting ready to open for business, there are a few things that you should do first. Remember that liquor licensing and serving are heavily regulated, and one mistake by your staff can cost you fines and potentially the loss of that license and the revenue associated with it. Here are a few tips to help protect your business.
Establish Clear Serving Policies
There should never be a situation where your staff needs to decide how to handle a customer or a drink order without having some guidelines to go by. For example, make sure that your staff understands that a customer ordering two drinks at once at the bar could be buying one for someone underage. Have a policy in place where identification is required for both people receiving the drinks to avoid this. Also, have a policy established for the frequency of drink orders so that you don't risk a customer ordering drinks too quickly and ending up heavily intoxicated.
Ensure That Your Staff Is Trained
Having policies in place is great, but they only help if your staff knows what they are. In addition, if you have staff that doesn't understand the federal regulations and your state's liquor laws, you're likely to have legal issues. Make sure that all of your staff members are thoroughly trained on the laws, even if their role doesn't necessarily involve alcohol sales. You never know when someone will have to fill in for a missing staff member on a shift, so everyone should clearly understand the serving laws. In fact, you can even require each staff member to complete your state's alcohol safety and serving course as a condition of employment.
Always Check Identification
While some establishments have a policy in place that requires customers that look under a certain age to produce identification for alcohol, it's best to have a policy in place that requires identification from everyone. This ensures that your staff isn't making a judgement call about someone's age only to find out that they're under the legal drinking age.
Remember that liquor enforcement agencies will send customers in who look to be legally old enough to drink even though they aren't, and if you're caught selling to one of them and you don't ask for identification, you can face fines and penalties.Contact a company, like Alcoholic Beverage License Service, for more help.