How to Prevent Underage Drinking at Your Bar
Bar and restaurant owners know that underage drinking can be a big problem. But it’s not your responsibility to make sure people under 21 aren’t drinking, right? Wrong. You and your employees can get in big trouble if underage drinkers are in your business. So what can you do about it? Read on for a few tips.
Check IDs at the door.
When bartenders and servers are trying to get food and drinks out quickly, it can be easy for them to skip checking IDs. That’s why you should get it out of the way early by positioning someone at your door to check each and every patron.
Make sure to have some sort of system—whether it’s arm bands, stamps, or something else—to identify which patrons are over 21. Then, make sure your staff members frequently make the rounds to make sure only those with the arm bands or stamps are drinking.
Don’t forget about other doors.
Does your restaurant have a side door or a fire door that isn’t closely watched? It can be easy for underage drinkers to let their friends in. Make sure to have employees stationed near each door to avoid this.
Train staff to recognize fake IDs.
Although fake IDs are getting more and more convincing, there are a few things your staff should know to look out for. Does the picture look strange? Does it match the person standing in front of them? Does the birth date seem believable? How does the hologram look? If your employee still isn’t sure, they should ask the customer for another form of ID.
Bartenders can be your second line of defense.
Even if a person with a fake ID gets in through the door, have your bartenders and servers be on the lookout for anyone acting suspiciously when ordering a drink. By checking the ID of anyone acting fishy, you may still prevent hopeful underage drinkers from ordering a drink.
If your staff is in the habit of checking every ID—no matter how old the person looks, if the bouncer knows them personally, etc.—it will be much harder for anyone to sneak in unnoticed. If your staff members routinely check each and every ID, they’ll be less likely to let one slip.
Make sure your staff knows you mean business.
Explain to your staff the ramifications—fines and legal repercussions—if you’re caught selling alcohol to minors. Then take it seriously. Fire any employee who’s caught letting in his/her underage friends. If your staff isn’t dedicated, there’s no way to keep drinks out of underage patrons’ hands.
Make your bar 21 and over.
Many bars have difficulty differentiating between legal drinkers and underage drinkers because they allow all ages. If keeping track of who’s allowed to drink and who isn’t is too confusing for your bar, consider going 21 and over.
Preventing underage drinking is a big responsibility, but it’s important if you want to keep your bar or restaurant out of trouble! If you follow these tips, keeping underage drinkers out will be a little less difficult.