If your establishment serves alcohol, you have experienced at least one drunk customer. He or she ordered drink after drink, getting louder and sloppier with each one, and you were faced with a dilemma. You wanted to keep the customer happy, and clearly you are there to provide what the customer asks for. However, the drunk customer quickly became a problem. When you are faced with this situation, you should never hesitate to cut a guest off, and here is why:
1. The Other Customers
In a seated restaurant, there are few things worse than sitting near a drunk and belligerent diner, unless it is sitting next to a drunk and over-friendly diner. They are loud and intrusive. Your other guests want to relax and not worry about the person next to them stumbling into them or getting into a shouting match. If your other guests are uncomfortable, they leave early, possibly not ordering things they normally would have.
They aren’t wrong to do this, either. Drunk guests present a danger to other people, knocking into them and starting fights. They also get into car accidents. Sober customers that drive will want to get out of the parking lot before the drunk guest gets in a car and drives into someone.
Your other guests want to relax and not worry about the person next to them stumbling into them or getting into a shouting match.
2. Your Waitstaff
Drunk guests are hard to serve, and the waitstaff’s job is hard enough. No one gets paid enough to clean up after someone who got sick from too much alcohol, fend off someone who is drunkenly hitting on them, or trying to help customers stumble out the door. There just isn’t enough money in the world to make up for dealing with that sort of thing all the time, and it can contribute to employees quitting.
3. Your Reputation
It never takes long for the locals to figure out where they can sit and imbibe all day. This attracts the type of guests who monopolize bar stools and scare away other paying customers.
People do not take their kids or parents to a restaurant where they think they will have to watch somebody drink themselves sick. They don’t want to take their dates places where they would be subjected to somebody tottering around drunkenly. It only takes a few bad apples to drive away people, and cutting off guests early keeps those bad apples in check.
It only takes a few bad apples to drive away people, and cutting off guests early keeps those bad apples in check.
4. The Customer’s Safety
With each drink, customers become more prone to accidents. They become more vulnerable to robbery and more prone to bad judgment. All this means that it isn’t just the other customers who are in danger when one customer gets drunk. The drinker could decide to drive home and get in an accident, they could drop glasses and cut themselves, or any number of bad scenarios.
Many states hold responsible the last person to serve alcohol to someone if that person gets into a car accident. The local law enforcement officers will track the driver’s movements until they reach the last establishment they were at and charge the restaurant or bar with overserving that person. That puts you in a world of legal hurt that you just don’t need.
Even if such rules were not on the books, a restaurant or bar is open to legal trouble when drunk guests act out. If the police are constantly showing up to deal with misbehaving guests, you are going to have some trouble renewing your liquor license. At the very least, the neighboring businesses and residents will give you grief. Your guests would be scaring away other business’s customers, after all, and we all rely on our neighbors sometimes.
These factors hurt your bottom line, hurt your community, and hurt your guests. Servers can avoid all of this by cutting a guest off before they drink themselves sick. It may be hard to stop filling a drunk customer’s order, but it is always the right thing to do.
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