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5 Tips for Dealing with an Over-Intoxicated Customer

5 Tips for Managing Intoxicated Customers

By Wally Rohde

Managing intoxicated customers can be difficult; many amateur drinkers are unaware of their alcohol tolerance limit and drink more than their bodies can handle. The same situation arises with alcoholics who cannot control how much they consume. Such patrons can be a liability and risk to themselves and the people around them. Understanding how to carefully deal with intoxicated customers is crucial not only for servers that work at alcohol-serving places but for everyone who can contact such patrons.
Here are some practical tips for dealing with an over-intoxicated customer

5 Great Tips on Managing Intoxicated Customers


Alcohol sales can be quite profitable for restaurants as they come with low overhead costs. However, one of the downsides is that sometimes bars and restaurants may have to deal with customers who are visibly intoxicated. Such customers may speak louder than usual or become more confident in their speech. But for those who become hostile, it is essential to know how to handle them to avoid any potential accidents.

Tip #1 – Offer Complimentary Beverages: Allow some time for the customer so that alcohol can pass through their bodies. Suggest the patron order a non-alcoholic drink like a mojito, coffee, etc., to allow them some breathing time. If they are not convinced, give them a beverage complimentary on the house. Slowing down consumption time will reduce the effects of alcohol.

Tip #2 – Convince Ordering for Food: Try to convince the group or the patron to order some food before continuing their drink. You can also suggest eating if someone has crossed the standard drinking limits, even if they do not show visible intoxication signs. If they have an empty stomach, alcohol will be absorbed much quicker into the bloodstream.

Tip #3 – Slow Down Serving Drinks: Sometimes, patrons do not accept any food or beverage, even if it is on the house. In such situations, you should slow down your services. Instruct your waiting staff and bartenders to slow the service if a customer request is about alcoholic drinks.

Tip #4 – Talk to the Customer: Intoxicated people seldom listen to others, especially when discussing halting the drinks. Nevertheless, you should gently try to explain to them about their consumption and distract them with other options on your menu. If the patron becomes agitated, call your manager to handle the customer. Intoxicated customers, if not controlled, can disrupt other guests, break stuff, and talk mannerlessly to everyone, ruining the establishment's reputation. If they understand their actions, you should give them something to eat and call a cab to drop take them home safely. Make sure to document the details of the customer and the cab driver to ensure their safety and record the information in your logbook.

Tip #5 – Refuse Service: If nothing is working to slow down the customer, you should refuse service to them. Do not take their orders or serve any more alcoholic beverages. You can bring them their check so they can pay. If the customer gets belligerent, you can inform your manager or owner and, if needed, call the police to handle the matter.

Managing Intoxicated Customers

Dram shop laws and the penalties they carry vary from state to state. This liability is a law that governs commercial establishments serving alcoholic beverages and protects the public from the hazards of a bar overserving someone. Dram shop laws hold the establishment responsible for alcohol sales issues to visibly intoxicated customers and minors who end up causing death or injury to third parties. The point here is that overserving customers puts everyone in harm's way and only opens the door to potential lawsuits and legal complications that can drain a bar's finances. This is why knowing ways of managing intoxicated customers is important and covered in our online alcohol server training course.

About A+ Server Education

Get trained to receive your alcohol certification course by enrolling with A+ Server Education. We have over 15 years of experience and can be trusted to empower you with the knowledge needed to get your permit. If you have any questions about our training courses, call (503) 740-5509 or our toll-free number (877) 740-5509. You can also mail us for more information.

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