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Thread: Bartender drinking?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Florida
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    42

    Bartender drinking?

    Just wondering who lets their bartenders drink while working.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Los Angeles. CA
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    52

    Allowing Bartenders to Drink During Shift

    The big trouble with allowing anyone on staff to drink during the shift are the repercussions on both you and your business that your insurance may not cover due to negligence.....

    Aside from the ABC law which nationwide forbids any employee within a licensed establishment from consuming alcohol you also have to think about the more likely problems.

    A few include:

    Should that bartender be involved in an accident of any kind, whether or not it was the fault of alcohol it will be triggered as an alcohol induced accident of which you may be found a liable party.

    Two different bartenders may react differently to two shots, one may drink them like water whilst the other may have significant motor skills issues.

    If you allow them to drink, and they make an error of any kind which creates termination they have significant grounds for terminating without cause. Withholding of tips is a federal and state offense that could find the employer liable for significant penalties.

    There are plenty of strategies to making a customer feel at home without having to consume liquor - in many environments a customer will want to buy a bartender a drink but that revenue comes with a price.

    In instances where you strongly feel they should be able to drink then a secondary solution could be to recommend the bartenders have a "fake bottle" which is just water instead of vodka or similar and they use this bottle for their "fake" drinks.

    The net question is what do you have to lose and is it really worth it?

    Thanks

    Emerson
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    Emerson
    OnSite Consulting
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    ky
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    610
    I say no but turn a blind eye to a shot here and there bought by a customer. I never could drink and work but I dont know many bartenders that dont drink when they work. And yes its against the law. In one small town by me the cops have been going around giving the bartenders breathalyzer test and shutting the bars down for the night if they fail.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Sacramento Valley (CA)
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    498
    Not in my bar......

    My place is the only bar in town where bartenders are not allowed to drink while working so it was a big controversy when I first started out. I stood my ground and have never regretted it.

    I have fired several bartenders for violating the no drinking policy. Besides being against the policy, it is theft of my booze.

    If a customer wants to buy the bartender a drink, my employees explain that they cannot indulge right then, but they can reserve the drink credit for later. Some suggest a larger tip rather than a drink, which is often accommodated.

    Last year the police were called to a fight outside a bar in a neighboring town. The responding officers discovered that one of the intoxicated participants was underage. They went inside to ask the bartender how the underage kid got so drunk, only to find that the bartender was also drunk. They made the bar close for the night. The bartender was fired as soon as the owner found out about the incident. The police also reported the incident to the ABC so the bar had their liquor license suspended for 30 days.

  5. #5
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    Jul 2007
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    Denver & North Carolina
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    405
    My opinion is, and always been, this. The DJ is the only person who works for you that is not in a position to make decisions that affect your business, on a legal side.

    Doorman, bartenders, waitresses, managers all cannot drink because they make legal liability decisions with every drink they sell, every person they let in. Any defense attorney will rip you up in court if their client (your customer) is affected by a decision-making employee who has been drinking.
    Justin Allen
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    I live in central mass
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    I do not permit the bartenders to drinks for the reasons mentioned above. My liability insurance will not cover me if there is an incident and the bartender has ben drinking. If a customer wants to buy a drink, they are told that they can have a drink after their shif is over. If they need a drink to have fun bartending, then they have a problem.

  7. #7
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    Apr 2007
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    Northwest Indiana
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    129
    i also do not let my staff drink. my dj is the only person who can drink while working. if a customer wants to buy someone a drink, the employee has to come get me and i ring up the drink and keep track of it. then at last call, i make their drinks that they get. this also helps with them saying that they had more bought than they actually did.

  8. #8
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    Jan 2009
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    San Antonio
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    The DJ is the only person who works for you that is not in a position to make decisions that affect your business, on a legal side.
    If the DJ has a microphone I can not agree with that statement.

  9. #9
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    Jun 2008
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    Asheville, North Carolina
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    When I was working at the bar, the policy was that I could have a drink after my shift...or when I was off--I could get a free drink (never "drink(s)" at the bar.

    With the bosses, they did drink while on-duty and off-duty. Crazy.
    Darker times are just opportunities to shine brighter.
    Sometimes people aren't going to like you. But there is always that one special thing that people will love you for.

  10. #10
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    Dec 2007
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    EAST/CENT. NEBR., RIGHT ON THE NORTH EDGE OF HELL
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    Here we are again...

    This subject gets good milage, huh?

    Emerson, in Nebraska, the staff is allowed to "sample" or "test" the beverage to check quality. You can't be drunk but you are allowed by state law to "drink".

    We close at 1:00 the girls can have a drink after midnight....since the last hour very often is the busiest, they rarely have time to drink...therefore.. no chance of getting "wasted" while on duty.
    And Ne. law no longer allows employees the chance to drink after we close (that changed about 20 years ago), this is the only chance they "legally" get to have a drink.

    You guys have a good one,
    Rick

  11. #11
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    Feb 2007
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    Sacramento Valley (CA)
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    To clarify our policy on 'shift drinks', my night staff is allowed their complimentary shift drink after last call is done and the crowd is well on its way out. We moved it up to last call to avoid the situation they are drinking after legal closing time and to avoid their slamming down a drink and hitting the road.
    Quote Originally Posted by BARTENDER 54 View Post

    We close at 1:00 the girls can have a drink after midnight....since the last hour very often is the busiest, they rarely have time to drink...therefore.. no chance of getting "wasted" while on duty.

  12. #12
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    Jan 2009
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    Australia
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    Bank teller's don't get to drink while they work, nor do car salesmen, mechanics and let me see ..... no-one professional. People get a knock off when they finish but why would you let them during the shift???

  13. #13
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    Dec 2007
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    I live in central mass
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    Make sure to tell them only one drink not drinks or they will take advantage of you. Set the limits at whatever you decide.

  14. #14
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    Oct 2008
    Location
    Albuquerque, NM
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    26
    This is an easy thing for us, New MExico doesn't allow any bar employee that handles or controls access to alochol to drink while on the clock.

  15. #15
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    Apr 2009
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    U.S
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    This is not good that bartender was drunk because when bartender are drunked at that customer are come and see that he was drunked then it was not good..

  16. #16
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    Jun 2008
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    ar
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    Except in very, very rare situations that are authorized if you drink on the job your kicked to the curb. Drinking is the exception; not the norm. If your bartender needs a pop or any of the staff to get motivated at work or to work your a lazy boss or a sucker owner.

    No drinking! No smoking weed! No doing blow! No picking your nose in plain site, bad breathe, unraveled appearance or working if you have swine flu.

    Run a tight ship or watch it sink. In the end everyone prefers that you are considerate of your employees situations more than their substance intake.

    Hey then again do what you want because there is no " right" answer and just a "whats right for you" one.

    suerte
    CB

    ps

    Who gets to drink or have a shot? The bartender, barback, cook, waiters, valet, manager? KISS ( Keep It Simple Stupid ) = No drinking or working high on the job period.

  17. #17
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    Jun 2008
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    Asheville, North Carolina
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    Quote Originally Posted by casabar View Post
    Who gets to drink or have a shot? The bartender, barback, cook, waiters, valet, manager? KISS ( Keep It Simple Stupid ) = No drinking or working high on the job period.
    I didn't have these bosses. They partied. Whatever drugs they took and drinks they imbibed--they were very unhappy campers to be around.

    Darker times are just opportunities to shine brighter.
    Sometimes people aren't going to like you. But there is always that one special thing that people will love you for.

  18. #18
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    Jun 2008
    Location
    Southern California
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    24
    Emerson,
    There is no "nationwide" ABC law. Each state has its own liquor laws. Also, in CA, it's not against the law for a bartender to drink on duty--it's just bad "house policy." Alcohol affects judgment--and credibility. How can a bartender judge someone else's sobriety or age if he's under the influence? And it's harder for a bartender to cut someone off if they've been drinking along with their patrons. BTW, in CA, the standard ABC penalty for a licensee or bartender working in premises while intoxicated is a 30-day suspension of the liquor license. Written alcohol policies that are consistently enforced are really important. They give you a foundation so that everyone knows the rules.

  19. #19
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    Jun 2009
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    NJ
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    21
    This approach seems like the safest and most effective sans disallowing drinking completely..
    Quote Originally Posted by rootsreality View Post
    To clarify our policy on 'shift drinks', my night staff is allowed their complimentary shift drink after last call is done and the crowd is well on its way out. We moved it up to last call to avoid the situation they are drinking after legal closing time and to avoid their slamming down a drink and hitting the road.

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