Serving It RightServing It Right

BC’s Responsible Beverage Service Program

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Implementing Responsible Beverage Service


Identify and Manage Chronic Drinkers and Known Troublemakers

Inherited or chronic drinkers
Young people frequently pre-drink at home in order to avoid the higher costs of drinking in licensed establishments. With the availability of legalized non-medical cannabis, it is expected these people are likely to consume cannabis as well, in addition to pre-drinking. So, you may inherit patrons who have consumed alcohol and/or cannabis before arriving at your establishment.

You should identify guests that may have been consuming alcohol or cannabis prior to arrival at the establishment. They may already exhibit mild signs of the effects of intoxication, smell of cannabis or they may become overly intoxicated very quickly in your establishment based on the amount of alcohol or cannabis they had previously consumed. Have a house policy in place about refusing service to already intoxicated patrons whether they are intoxicated by alcohol, cannabis or the co-use of alcohol and cannabis or other drugs. You must learn to recognize the signs of intoxication (see Alcohol Effects and Intoxication section), and act quickly to cease alcohol service and assist the guest to get home safely.

The chronic drinker is someone who may have developed a tolerance to alcohol and is adept at masking the early visible signs of alcohol's inevitable impact. It takes experience on the part of a server or licensee to gauge this drinker's state. Eventually, the chronic drinker will demonstrate the same symptoms as anyone else who is intoxicated. (Be mindful that people suffering from a recent stroke, or some types of disabilities and mental health conditions, may display signs similar to those of intoxication. You can refuse to serve someone who is intoxicated, but not someone who simply has a disability.) To make an informed decision, engage your guest in conversation in order to ascertain the level of sobriety.

Known troublemakers
Establishments that serve alcohol attract all types of clientele. Most are out for a good time with friends, but there are others whose idea of a good time is trouble for everyone else. If you have had recurring problems with individuals or groups, you have a responsibility to prevent them from threatening and intimidating other guests. You must be watchful and act immediately at the first sign of any disturbance.

Use confidential electronic scanners to cache ID information and have a time-stamped security camera at the door that records images of all patrons coming and going from your establishment. The name, photograph, date of birth and gender of customers should be collected, but only retained for a 24 hour period. After that customer information should be completely destroyed. However, if a customer is determined within that 24 hour period to pose a safety risk, the customer information collected may be kept and shared electronically with other licensed establishments for customer safety purposes.

Team members need to keep each other and the management informed of any problem customers and behaviours that may not be conducive to the atmosphere of the establishment.