If you are opening a restaurant, night club, or bar and are applying for an alcoholic beverage license, you'll need to make sure your employees are trained in identifying intoxicated patrons and minors, especially if you are in one of the states that hold establishments liable under a dram shop act. Here's why.
Your establishment is liable for injuries and/or deaths caused by intoxicated patrons
If one of your patrons leaves your establishment and causes a car accident that leads to the injuries and/or death of themselves or someone else, your establishment can be held liable as a proximate cause of the accident, particularly if the patron was visibly intoxicated and one of your employees sold or served them another alcoholic beverage. An accident caused by an intoxicated patron could result in a hefty lawsuit, especially if the accident caused the loss of life. Loved ones of the deceased person(s) can sue your establishment for pain and suffering and loss of income.
The key to avoiding being liable is to completely avoid selling alcohol to patrons who are already intoxicated. One way to do this is to keep tabs on the number of drinks an individual has. However, alcohol affects different people in different ways, so it's important to not heavily consider the number of drinks any patron has. One may have a very low tolerance level as compared to another patron who may have a very high tolerance. Therefore, your employees will need to look for visible signs of intoxication, instead.
Train your employees to recognize signs of intoxication
However, sometimes visible signs are difficult to recognize, especially in those who may have balance and speaking problems without any alcohol in their systems. Ideally, the employees should try to notice patrons' behaviors and movements prior to drinking alcoholic beverages so they can establish a baseline for comparison. However, since this isn't always possible, and, sometimes, patrons have already had a few drinks before stepping foot into your establishment, it's a good idea to have a professional train your employees on how to identify intoxication in patrons.
Contact a professional liquor industry consultant in your state for comprehensive training for yourself and for each of your employees. In fact, your state may require your employees to be familiar with the laws before your establishment can be approved for a liquor license. Therefore, you'll want to schedule this training in advance of submitting an application for your liquor license. For assistance with getting your liquor license, contact a company like Alcoholic Beverage License Service.