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Orienting New Employees

A well-trained staff with a clear understanding of safe alcohol practices is the first and most important aspect of preventing intoxication and liability. That process starts on Day One. Here are some tips for conducting an effective orientation:

Allow adequate time to cover the material.

  • Don't rush through the content. Take the time to show your new employee how important safe service is to your establishment
  • Remind the new employee that responsible alcohol practices are not limited to the information discussed in the orientation
  • Always allow time for your new employee to ask any questions

Personalize the orientation.

  • Every establishment is different, with its own culture and guests
  • Describe your establishment, the typical customer and what they can expect when serving your guests
  • Give your new employee an idea of your own experiences in relation to responsible serving practices

Check your new employee's current knowledge of safe alcohol service. It is not enough for staff to show their Smart Serve certificate. For your protection, and theirs, they have to understand their legal responsibilities when serving guests.

Ask questions based on materials found in the Smart Serve training program such as "Can you tell me three signs of intoxication?" to check their current level of knowledge.

Review your Staff and Guest Alcohol House Policies.

Take the time to let your new employee know their rights and responsibilities by thoroughly reviewing both your Staff and Guest Alcohol House Policies.

Ask new employees to sign the Safe Alcohol Server Policy and keep it on file.

Promote a teamwork atmosphere.

Remind your employee that safe service is a team effort and encourage them to share any incidents or suggestions they might have on ensuring safe alcohol service in your establishment.

Let your employee know that you will support any decisions that they make regarding whether or not to serve alcohol to a guest.

Establish a buddy system.

The first few days on the job can be intimidating for any new employee.

To get your new employee off to the right start, have them "shadow" an experienced server and watch how they handle different alcohol-related situations.

Encourage your new employee to ask questions and use their "buddy" as a resource as they learn the ropes.