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Handling Intoxicated Guests

Although guests should never be allowed to reach a state of intoxication, there are occasions where it will happen. More than ever, it has become the responsibility of licensed establishments to get guests home safely. Here are some ways you can do that:

Train servers to "chat and check" all guests whenever possible.

Encourage your servers to conduct a "chat and check" as soon as the guest enters the establishment. This will allow your staff to pick up more information and facts about their guests including:

  • Is the guest driving?
  • Is there a designated driver?
  • How are they feeling?
  • What is their mood?
  • Have they been drinking prior to entering your establishment?
  • Talk to the guest's companions

If there is a sober companion in the group, find out if they can arrange to get the guest home safely. If this is not an option, ask if there is a friend or relative that you can call who can pick up your intoxicated guest and provide safe transportation.

Tip: Remember, if a guest continues to drink right up to the time he or she leaves your premises, their BAC level may not have reached its peak. In fact, it may still be rising. This could make the difference between it being safe or unsafe for that guest to drive.

Source professional designated driver programs:

There are several licensed professional designated driver programs, such as Keys to Us, which will drive your guests and their car home.

Check with companies in your area for rates and see if they can provide promotional information that you can post at your establishment.

Arrange for a taxi service. Consider:

  • A direct line and a house account with a taxi company
  • Establishing a good relationship with a reputable cab company
  • Offer to advertise the taxi company's number for free in your establishment if they offer you "front of the line" service.
  • Have bus and subway route information available.
  • Print schedules and have them readily available for your customers.
  • Make arrangements for large groups in advance of the event.
  • If your establishment is hosting a large group or a special event, ask the host what arrangements have been made to get guests home safely.
  • For holiday season events, look for programs in your area that provide free rides home in the guest's own vehicle.