Serving It RightServing It Right

BC’s Responsible Beverage Service Program

Distributed by go2Distributed by go2

Implementing Responsible Beverage Service


Developing a house policy and samples policies

Developing a House Policy

Risk assessment

In developing house policies, always begin with a risk assessment. This will help to prevent problems and potential legal action. House policies will be different for each establishment based on its particular risks. Assess areas unique to your establishment that affect staff and guest safety. For example, what is your legal capacity, and are there certain times when you are at risk of overcrowding? What areas could be unsafe due to slippery floors or poor lighting? Do you regularly get inherited drunks from the bar across the street? Is cannabis use common outside your premises? Is there a nearby cannabis store? During busy times, do you have temporary support staff who are not trained in SIR or your house policy? Adapt your policies to focus on those areas of higher risk.

Identifying areas of need

The following suggestions will help you assess the policies in your establishment related to common areas of risk, and will help you to identify where further policies may need to be developed. While going through the questions, make note of any areas where you need to develop a policy or update your current one.

download pdf House Policy Checklist

Guidelines for writing policies

Now it is time to write your policies based on what you noted above. Your success in promoting responsible beverage service will depend on how clearly your house policies are written and communicated to your staff. Here are some guidelines to consider before you start:

  1. Prepare a list of all the policies you think your establishment may need.
  2. Write policies and procedures that are positive, simple and easy to follow.
  3. Get staff input on policies on an ongoing basis.
  4. Refer to your incident log to alert you to any areas that may need to be reviewed.
  5. Develop policies that are realistic for the size, style and location of your establishment and that are specific to your clientele.
  6. Don't be condescending or patronizing. Imagine being a staff member reading them. Would the policies or their language upset you?
  7. Prepare policies in a format that is easy to update.

Sample house policies

Following are sample formats for house policies. The first is a chart that shows one policy for the establishment, indicating who will enforce the policy and the methods of enforcement. This could be expanded into a chart containing all house policies.

The second sample format shows the same policy and a more extensive written procedure for that policy. This could be expanded into a written procedure for each policy needed for your establishment. Adapt a format that suits your staff and establishment.

A few sample policies are attached: one on identifying minors, a second on preventing intoxicated patrons from entering the premises, a third on refusing service to intoxicated patrons, and a fourth on identifying patrons impaired by alcohol and cannabis.

These samples are only guidelines. Consult your insurance company or legal counsel to ensure you have adequately addressed all risks.

If you would like assistance developing your house policy, please contact go2HR.

download pdf Sample house policy #1

download pdf Sample house policy #2

download pdf Sample house policy #3

download pdf Sample house policy #4

download pdf Incident Report Sample