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BC’s Responsible Beverage Service Program

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Implementing Responsible Beverage Service

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Ensure that Customers Arrive Home Safely

3. Ensure that customers arrive home safely

The next step after discontinuing service is to ensure that intoxicated guests are put into the care of a sober and responsible person and arrive home safely without injuring themselves or others. Remember that the guest’s intoxication will last several hours and that your duty of care can potentially last until the guest gets home or when the guest is put into the care of a sober and responsible person. In certain cases, the duty can continue even after the guest arrives at home.

You can use one of the following strategies to ensure that intoxicated guests arrive at a safe place:

  • If an intoxicated patron has come with other guests, enlist the support of one of the guests who has not been drinking to drive home.
  • Offer incentives to leave the group's car behind, such as free parking or a voucher for coffee in the morning.
  • If the guest is by himself or herself, ask the guest whether there is a friend or relative who can be called to get them home safely.
  • Utilize alternative driving programs or transit and taxis as alternate transportation arrangements.
  • Offer to pay for a taxi if the patron is unable or unwilling to pay for one.

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If, despite your best efforts to provide alternate transportation, an intoxicated guest somehow manages to get in a vehicle and drive away, write down the description of the car, the licence number and the general direction they are travelling, and then call police immediately with this information.

Stay in the room after the guest leaves the establishment. Keep yourself occupied by talking with other guests who may have been affected by the service intervention. Keep an eye out for the guest who has just been ejected. Some guests may become indignant after a little reflection, and return for further argument. You want to prevent such people from re-entering your establishment for the safety of other guests, staff and yourself.

Make sure you communicate with your co-workers about the intervention. Inform your manager of the situation and describe what happened.

Record the incident in the logbook and attempt to get statements from at least two unbiased witnesses. Managers should use the entries as a learning tool and debrief staff after all incidents. This gives managers an opportunity to improve procedures and house policies, and to provide feedback to staff in case there is a next time.