Alcohol sales in a restaurant is a delicate balancing act. On the one hand, operators need the revenue generated from alcohol sales. On the other hand, restaurant employees must serve alcohol responsibly. That can be a tall order, and one that comes with particularly high stakes. Are you confident your servers and bartenders know how to serve responsibly?

Responsible Alcohol Sales Training

Effective alcohol sales training is critical. Be sure to train, test, re-train, and test again all of your bartenders and servers until you’re sure they’re well-versed in the principles of ID checking and responsible alcohol service. Start with the basics – the “Why,” “What” and “How” of alcohol sales for restaurants.

Why do I care about responsible alcohol sales?

Your responsible alcohol sales training should specify the federal, state, local, and company regulations at your specific location. Beyond the basics of the laws themselves, employees also need to understand the consequences for selling to underage customers. Servers and bartenders need to understand their personal liability should they sell to an underage person, as well as the consequences to the restaurant.

What are my responsibilities when selling alcohol?

Anyone who sells and serves alcohol has a primary responsibility to prevent an illegal sale. Servers must verify that anyone purchasing alcohol is 1) age 21 or older and 2) is not intoxicated. Your alcohol sales training must include specific strategies to help servers do their jobs correctly. If they have reason to believe a guest cannot legally purchase alcohol for either of these reasons, they must refuse the sale. If they aren’t trained to do this, and they make a sale that they shouldn’t, they are committing a crime.

How do I responsibly sell alcohol?

To help ensure responsible alcohol sales practices, your employees must be trained on how to check IDs. Train employees to ask for ID from anyone who looks under the age of 35. Your alcohol sales training should include tips on how to spot a fake ID as well as strategies to balance customer service with checking IDs and, if necessary, refusing sales.