Serving It RightServing It Right

BC’s Responsible Beverage Service Program

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Implementing Responsible Beverage Service


Promote a Designated Driver Program

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.