2017 EXPO | August 27-30

Bar Service Seminar 2016

trevor-2“T.I.P.S. Training for Bartenders & Servers”

Trevor Estelle, Vice President with T.I.P.S. (Training for Intervention Procedures), offered an EXPO seminar that covered  effective measures clubs can take to prevent underage sales, intoxication, drunk driving and much more.
Editor’s note: Trevor Estelle provided the following article, which is a basic synopsis of his EXPO 2016 presentation. However, no article can properly relay the “live” experience of attending an EXPO seminar presentation in person.
For many clubs, alcohol sales and service accounts for a significant portion of their revenue. Club owners, managers and employees should be aware of two disturbing trends that can affect their ability to sell alcohol.  First, there has been an alarming increase in the number of legal actions being taken against clubs for serving alcohol to intoxicated customers.  Many of these cases are being settled out of court for millions of dollars.  
Second, there is a growing neo-prohibitionist movement that is making it more and more difficult to sell and consume alcohol.  Furthermore, these same neo-prohibitionist have partnered with community leaders and are finding creative ways to revoke or deny club’s liquor licenses.  Look no further than recent headlines.  
There are 17,000 drunk driving deaths per year, and I would never, ever make light of something like that. But do you know that the slogan “Don’t drink and drive” used to be “Don’t drink and drive drunk”? Are we being brainwashed? Are your customers being brainwashed?
Better customer service can lead to the prevention of over-serving, as you’ll be paying closer attention to what is happening with your customers. You also need to have written policies in your club in regard to serving, what to do if a customer appears to be intoxicated, etc.
Some states require alcohol server training by law, some states have perks for going through a training program. even if there is a state law, might be a county or city law.
So, what should you do? It is imperative that you keep your customers safe, while protecting your employees and club from lawsuits.  By becoming certified in a responsible alcohol server training program, you are making a reasonable effort to prevent underage sales, drunk driving and intoxication. In addition, you will improve customer service, receive discounts on liquor liability insurance, and you demonstrate to the community that you and your club have a zero-tolerance policy.

“There is a growing neo-prohibitionist movement that is making it more and more difficult to sell and consume alcohol.  Furthermore, these same neo-prohibitionist have partnered with community leaders and are finding creative ways to revoke or deny club’s liquor licenses.” - Estelle

Whether it be ignition interlocks in every vehicle, increased taxes on alcohol and/or decreasing the legal BAC limit to operate a motor vehicle, it is getting to the point where customers are scared and confused when it comes to consuming alcohol in public. This apprehension will eventually eat into your bottom line. To combat this movement, we must arm ourselves with education and training.  
A reputable training program, such as the TIPS Program, will train and certify your staff on how to recognize signs of intoxication, effectively intervene to prevent problem situations, and handle refusal situations with greater confidence.  This will, in turn, protect your assets and quell this modern day prohibitionist movement.  
TIPS offer clubs several options for alcohol server training:
Become a TIPS trainer:  An on-staff TIPS trainer constitutes a full-time customer service expert who will foster an atmosphere of professionalism, maintain compliance with state and local regulations, encourage teamwork among staff members, and build bridges with the community.  An on-staff TIPS trainer also gives you the flexibility to train on your own schedule, allowing you to maintain excellent standards.  
Hire a TIPS trainer:  Many TIPS trainers offer their services to the general public for a nominal fee.  
Implement eTIPS Online:  This online program provides convenient, 24/7 access for individual servers.  Based on the TIPS curriculum, it uses interactions, exercises and streaming video to teach servers critical skills and knowledge needed to prevent illegal sales.  

Audience questions:
Question: If I notice a customer is intoxicated, I can’t legally take his keys, but what if I call a cab? Does that help me when it comes to (liability)?
Estelle: Sure, it will help because it will show you tried to do something. But it will also call into question when exaclty you realized the customer was intoxicated. What you can do is call law enforcement.
Question: But can you legally “ask” someone for their keys?
Estelle: Yes, you can definitely ask. If you have valets, it’s very important  that they are trained in how to do this (to get customers to willingly hand over their keys).
Question: You notice a customer is “buzzed,” not drunk. You don’t want them to leave, but you also may not want them to stay in case they appear to others to be intoxicated. What do you do?
Estelle: You need to cut them off, but you also need to keep them in the club. Solicit the help of one of their friends. Generally, your servers know how to handle these type of customers better than owners or managers.
Question: Do BYOB venues typically have more or less liability when it comes to over-serving and lawsuits?
Estelle: Typically, BYOB venues have more issues with liability. You don’t have a liquor license, yet people are drinking alcohol in your venue (applies more often to America Legion halls that rent their facilities out).
Establishments and governments across the country are requiring TIPS training.  To learn how you can get TIPS certified visit www.gettips.com.
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THE 2017 GENTLEMEN'S EXPO IS AUGUST 27-30
AT THE HARD ROCK CASINO & RESORT IN LAS VEGAS NEVADA
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