7 Tips for Safely Serving Alcohol at Your Restaurant Or Bar

7 Tips for Safely Serving Alcohol at Your Restaurant Or Bar

As a restaurant or bar owner, serving alcohol is an important part of your business, but it’s also important to ensure the safety of your customers and staff. After all, nobody wants to be the establishment that gets shut down because of serving too much alcohol or gets a reputation for being a “wild” spot.

In this post, we’ll share seven tips for safely serving alcohol at your restaurant or bar, so you can keep the party going and the drinks flowing without any hiccups.

1. Training Your Staff

When it comes to serving alcohol, it’s crucial to have a staff that knows what they’re doing. Not only will this prevent over-serving and underage drinking, but it will also give your customers the peace of mind that they’re in good hands.

One way to do this is by investing in training programs and certifications for your staff. These programs will teach your team how to identify fake IDs, recognize when a customer has had too much to drink, and handle difficult situations with tact and professionalism. Some popular programs include TIPS (Training for Intervention Procedures), ServSafe, and the Responsible Vendor Program.

Additionally, it’s important to emphasize responsible beverage service as a key aspect of the training. What is responsible beverage service? It is a set of policies, procedures, and best practices that aim to prevent over-serving underage drinking and promote responsible consumption of alcohol. Staff members will be trained to recognize signs of drunkenness and provide alternatives to customers who have consumed too much alcohol with this training.

2. Implementing Policies

Having a written policy for serving alcohol is a must for any establishment. Not only will it protect your business from liability, but it will also give your staff a clear guideline for handling different situations.

Some examples of policies to include are a “last call” or “cut-off” time for alcohol service, a policy for refusing service to intoxicated customers, and a zero-tolerance policy for serving minors. These policies will keep your customers and staff safe and you on the right side of the law.

3. Monitoring and Enforcing Compliance

Staying up-to-date with local and state laws and regulations regarding alcohol service is crucial for any establishment. Not only do laws vary from state to state, but they can also change frequently, so it’s important to stay informed.

One way to ensure compliance is by regularly conducting compliance checks. This can be done by having a manager or designated staff member go through the establishment and check for things like proper ID checking, correct pouring measurements, and compliance with posted policies. Incident reports can also be a valuable tool for tracking any issues that arise and addressing them before they become a bigger problem.

4. Promoting Responsible Drinking

Nobody wants to be the party-pooper, but promoting responsible drinking is essential to keeping your customers and staff safe. Not only that, but it can also be a great way to attract and retain customers who are looking for a more laid-back, relaxed atmosphere.

Some ways to promote responsible drinking include offering drink specials and hosting designated driver programs. You can also provide a variety of non-alcoholic beverages, such as mocktails, non-alcoholic beer, and wine. This not only makes your establishment more inclusive, but it also gives customers the option to drink less if they want to.

5. Preparing for Emergencies

Even with all the best intentions and policies in place, emergencies can still happen. That’s why it’s important to be prepared for situations such as fights, alcohol poisoning, and over-intoxication.

One way to be prepared is by having emergency procedures in place, such as staff training on intervention techniques and having a plan for calling emergency services. This can include designated staff members trained in CPR and first aid, as well as a plan for handling different types of emergencies.

Another important aspect is to have a clear communication system in place between staff members, so they can quickly and effectively respond to any incident. This can include a code system or designated phone numbers for calling emergency services.

Additionally, having a designated area for dealing with emergencies, such as a private room or a specific section of the establishment, can be helpful in keeping the situation contained and under control.

6. Providing a Safe Environment

Creating a safe and comfortable customer environment is just as important as serving alcohol responsibly. By providing adequate lighting and security and addressing any potential hazards, you can ensure that your customers feel safe while enjoying their drinks.

One way to create a safe environment is by having a security guard on duty during peak hours. This not only provides an added layer of security, but it also serves as a deterrent for any potential troublemakers. Additionally, ensuring that exits are clearly marked and easily accessible can make a big difference in the event of an emergency.

Lastly, providing a designated driver program, such as offering discounted non-alcoholic beverages or giving vouchers for cab rides, can encourage customers to drink responsibly.

7. Reviewing and Improving

Regularly reviewing and improving your alcohol service policies and procedures is important to ensure they are effective and up-to-date. By taking the time to evaluate your policies, you can identify areas for improvement and make adjustments to serve your customers and staff better.

One way to review and improve your policies is by conducting customer surveys. By asking customers for their feedback, you can gain valuable insights into their experiences and identify areas where your service can be improved.

Additionally, monitoring staff compliance and analyzing incident reports can help you identify problem areas and make changes to prevent them from happening again. Regularly reviewing and improving your policies ensures that your establishment provides the best possible customer experience while maintaining a safe and responsible environment.


Serving alcohol at your restaurant or bar can be a great way to bring in business, but it’s important to do it safely. By training your staff, implementing policies, monitoring and enforcing compliance, promoting responsible drinking, and preparing for emergencies, you can ensure the safety of your customers and staff and keep the party going without any hiccups.

Remember to stay up-to-date with local and state laws and regulations and seek additional training and compliance resources. With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to a successful and responsible alcohol service operation.