Operating a bar or restaurant that serves alcohol can prove a prosperous endeavor, but also one with a number of legal risks and liabilities. Since even in restaurants, alcohol can account for 50 percent of the profits, you may eventually need to deal with alcohol-related insurance claims. If you have proper business insurance, that’s a great start, but if events are happening often, it might be time to re-think how you and your employees are handling different situations. Here are some helpful tips for reducing the number of alcohol-related insurance claims you have.
1) Ensure proper licensing and permits. Become familiar with the liquor licenses and special permits you need to run your business legitimately. Without the right kinds of liquor licenses, any alcohol-related insurance claim will fail to go through and you will be covering expenses on your own, not to mention risking your business and getting a future license. Every county has different guidelines for licensing based on the type of liquor you plan to sell; find out exactly what you need to do to obtain and maintain the license and permit.
2) Know liquor laws. Another thing to become familiar with is the liquor law in your state. The Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) controls distribution and retail sales of liquor and alcoholic beverages. Comply with all liquor laws, including what kind of alcohol can be sold and at what time, how much, and what days if you have a no-Sunday policy in your county.
3) Always check Ids. A common cause of liability claims is the result of underage and irresponsible drinking. Whether you are a bouncer, bartender or waitress is at the door or serving alcohol, they must always be checking IDs. If you have operate a bar only, minors shouldn’t be allowed into the bar without being accompanied by an adult. You should have some type of security checking IDs at the door. That way bartenders don’t need to worry about selling to minors. Otherwise, waiters, waitresses and bartenders need to check IDs every time they serve a drink to a new customer. It is advisable even if someone looks to be over 21. Be sure they know how to check properly, including the birthdates, looking for a hologram, alterations and fonts that don’t seem to match up.
4) Invest in alcohol server training. Alcohol server training is a type of occupational training that teaches servers, waiters and bartenders about recognizing intoxication, proper serving techniques, and looking out for underage drinking. It is essential for all employees, and even mandated in some counties and states in the United States. Put all new employees through alcohol server training as soon as they get hired.
5) Look for signs of intoxication. Insurance claims often occur after accidents when a patron has been drinking too much. Educate your bartenders and servers on recognizing when a customer has had too much to drink, and inform them that they have a right to refuse service. This can significantly prevent insurance claims related to alcohol.
By following these tips, you can begin reducing or preventing alcohol-related insurance claims. Remember to always have business insurance, as not everything can be avoided completely.