The Importance of Safe Serve in Bars
Bars are great. A bartender can whip up just about any cocktail you want in just a few minutes. They can also pour you a pint of your favorite beer. They can serve you some of the tastiest bar food in town. However, the bartender can't accomplish any of these tasks properly if they aren't trained properly with your drink order.
You need to trust the bartender to pour your drink in a clean glass. You need to trust the bartender to be able to tell you when your drink is flat or when it's had too many ice cubes. And you need to trust the bartender to serve you food that's safe to eat. That's why there's Safe Serve.
Safe Serve helps maintain the reputation of the bar or restaurant. Employees must keep customers safe, to the best of their ability. They also must comply with state and federal drinking laws and FLSA food safety standards. Here are some other top tips to keep in mind when training your bartenders and/or food manager.
1. Ensure They Know and Comply With Requirements
In the past few years, the U.S. has seen a substantial increase in the number of people who die from alcohol poisoning. Alcohol is a toxic substance, and a single drink can make a person feel a quick buzz. However, a large amount of alcohol can result in a coma or even death. This is especially dangerous for people who have had a lot of alcohol in a short time, or those who drink on an empty stomach. To reduce the number of alcohol-related deaths, bartenders have a responsibility to serve drinks safely. Employers must also incorporate safety training to ensure bartenders can do this.
Furthermore, restaurants are responsible for ensuring their food is safe, according to FLSA standards. Complying with food safety training standards set by the National Restaurant Association is the responsibility of every bartender. While bartenders cannot know exactly what the cook did nor prevent every problem, they can make sure to do their part.
When it comes to serving alcohol, bartenders must meet certain requirements according to the Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA). This is a legal requirement that forces restaurants and bars to meet specific obligations when they sell or provide alcoholic beverages. The RSA training program states that bartenders must minimize the harm associated with the use of alcohol and encourage responsible attitudes among patrons. They must also make sure that the supply and consumption of alcohol do not detract from the amenity of the restaurant culture and community life.
Bartending can be a dangerous job if you're not careful.
Bartenders are often on their feet for hours at a time, carrying heavy trays of drinks and bottles. They can also get injured by falling objects or burns from hot liquids.
2. Bartenders Cannot Serve Someone Who is Visibly Drunk
While a bartender is not going to provide a breathalyzer to every patron who orders a drink, they can prevent the sales of alcohol to patrons who are visibly intoxicated. The RSA states that specific personnel must not serve booze to these individuals. If the licensee or food handler does not comply, they may face thousands of dollars in fines or be issued a penalty notice on the spot.
California, Washington State, and other areas of the country can impose even heftier fines. Furthermore, another patron cannot supply alcohol to an intoxicated individual. Bartenders should be on the lookout for this behavior too. Following these rules will improve the restaurant's reputation and minimize any safety concerns associated with high alcohol consumption.
3. Bartenders Must Check Identification
Bartenders are responsible for checking patron identification cards to ensure they are of legal age to drink. Across all 50 states, the legal age to drink remains 21. If bartenders accidentally serve a minor because they failed to check an ID card, they can be held responsible.
If there is an accident or safety incident due to minor drinking alcohol, the Food Handler is held liable. This can lead to lawsuits, bankruptcies, and ruined reputations. It's in the best interest of management to ensure employees have the proper training and credentials to serve alcohol to those who are of legal age.
Bartenders must card everyone who appears to be under the age of 30 years old. The rule of thumb is it is better to over-card than undercard, as some younger individuals appear to be older than they real bartenders must also be on the lookout for fake identification cards. Typically, the photo does not look like the individual presenting the card.
Fake IDs with a real photo of the individual make it more difficult for the Food Worker. If you are not sure, remember that it is always better to be safe than sorry. Bartenders can also talk with the Food Safety manager if they have a concern. Finally, bartenders have the legal right to refuse service to anyone.
4. Bartenders Should Never Use Their Hand to Pour Out Drinks
Bartenders must check the seal of the bottle to ensure the drink pourer fits properly. They should then hold the drink bottle towards the neck and keep a thumb or index finger on the cup that they are pouring out of. The bottle should be held high so the bartender can pour out a consistent stream of liquid. Bartenders should always follow the standard protocols of the restaurant when pouring and measuring drinks. This will also ensure drink and food protection, and mitigate foodborne illness.
This will help save money and avoid waste. It will also prevent consumers from becoming too intoxicated. When Food Handlers don't use their hands to pour drinks, they are making it easier to comply with COVID-19-based restrictions. People and the health department demand safe food and bar practices, and food service establishments are expected to deliver them. It will also prevent further messes and spills, which can lead to safety hazards.
Bartending is a dangerous profession, but there are some things that can be done to minimize the risks.
Bartenders can get hurt or worse when they aren't following safety procedures.
5. Bartenders Should Not Serve Someone Who is Unwell
Bartenders should also be on the lookout for those who do not appear to feel well or who are seemingly experiencing a mental health crisis. This can be hard to know, and the bartender is not liable for what is going through every single customer's mind. However, there are some obvious signs that a person should not be served alcohol.
If the individual openly expresses he/she is an alcoholic who is off the wagon, the protection manager has a moral obligation not to serve him/her. If the patron is overheard discussing suicidal thoughts, self-harm, or is crying, the bartender should not serve him/her. If the patron appears to be sick or looks unwell, the bartender is better off not serving them.
While a customer may be angry for not receiving their drink, it is the bartender who is held responsible for it. Serving a mentally unwell or sick individual is irresponsible and can damage a bar's reputation. It can also lead to potentially catastrophic harm and even death, in extreme circumstances.
6. Bartenders Should Never Pour Alcohol into Another Container
Bartenders should keep alcoholic beverages separate from each other. This Servsafe food protection requirement is due to several reasons. First of all, it ruins the taste of the drink and can negatively impact the customer experience. It is also a serious safety hazard. Customers are allergic to certain ingredients and bartenders need to be aware of those concerns.
Furthermore, if the wrong drink is mixed in with the wrong bottle, it could potentially cause harm to the patron. While the chances of this are small, it is still a cause for taking extra precautions. Bartenders must ensure to keep all alcoholic beverages in their original bottles. While combining two of the same drinks may seem economical, it is not worth the potential downsides.
Why Safe Serve in Bars Matter
With news of bar-related injuries and alcohol-related incidents that trace back to bars, bars should keep consumers safe. It is not only essential to maintain a restaurant's reputation, but it will keep patrons safe. It will prevent legal hassles and preventable injuries that ruin lives and harm small businesses.
Patrons will appreciate the professional, by-the-book experience. Bartenders will rest assured that they have the tools to perform their jobs properly and comply with Food Safety measures and certified food guidelines. Safe Serve is also critical in a time where more patrons are concerned with safety standards. Prioritizing Safe Serve is a win-win for both the bar and the consumer.