Publicize and Market the RBS Program
3. Publicize and market the RBS Program
The final step towards demonstrating a professional environment is to publicize and market the RBS program. Menus, table tent cards and prominently displayed signage can be tactfully worded to alert patrons that your establishment does not serve to the point of intoxication and offers refreshment alternatives, such as non-alcoholic "breather rounds" or snacks.
Displays can also help to create greater customer awareness of moderate drinking and your legal obligations to provide responsible beverage service. In addition, a visible and written show of policy will help staff with enforcement; it acts as a reference point in the event of a question or misunderstanding between staff and patrons. The Liquor Control and Licensing Branch website provides links to download posters that can be printed and displayed at appropriate locations in the establishment to support staff that refuse service.
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A designated driver program is a critical component of an RBS program. A designated driver program promotes customer safety and minimizes the risk of a liability suit. Promoting a designated driver program is also a good way to bring attention to the RBS program. Designated driver program tactics should have drivers register upon entry, and receive a button or discreet ID (which can be returned at the end of the night) so that servers can identify them. Patrons often feel embarrassed to be publicly labelled as a non-drinker.
In a survey conducted by ICBC in November 2011, 84% of respondents noted that in the last six months when they had been out in a bar or restaurant, they had never been asked by a server if there was a designated driver in the group. It is important that the servers acknowledge the designated driver as a responsible person who is helping their friends and the public at large by volunteering to be the driver.
It is a good strategy to offer free food to the driver so that the drinkers in the group are encouraged to order food at the same time. This approach will increase your food sales and decrease the likelihood that anyone will be drinking on an empty stomach. Some establishments may also offer unlimited, free non-alcoholic drinks or discounted food items to the designated driver.
You could publicize your designated driver programs in the media. The message to the public is that you are a progressive corporate citizen because you care about your patrons. Having a designated driver program portrays your establishment as more desirable than those without a program.
As a step towards publicizing responsible beverage service, establishments must encourage the use of public transport options such as transit and taxis. Late-night transit service is available in selected areas of the province until the early hours of the morning. Keeping a few transit tickets on the premises to give to intoxicated guests could be handy.
Taxi service is available virtually everywhere in the province. The owner of a licensed establishment may want to consider having a direct line and a house account and/or vouchers with a taxi company.
The Get Home Safe Program offered by BC Liquor stores provides free transit tickets for patrons of charitable fundraising events that are accessible by transit.
There are additional options for getting patrons home safely over the Christmas holiday season and for special events attracting large numbers of people. To market the RBS program, share details about programs that can drive guests and cars home.
There are different programs in several BC communities that will drive a guest and car home. The cost is slightly more than regular taxi fare but these are extremely safe options. For the most up-to-date information on various driving programs, visit: http://www.go2hr.ca/training/serving-it-right.
Through its regional Loss Prevention offices, ICBC offers a Get Home Safe Community Kit that includes posters, designated driver stickers and other materials to encourage safe driving practices for events attracting at least 250 guests.