Think With Your Heart and Act With Your Brain
An Alcohol Server’s Daily Journey
When I was a child my mother would say to me, “you don’t mean the things that you’re saying and you’re a lot nicer than the way you’re acting.” My mother was a very wise woman! It always made me pause to think about my actions. Years later I apply this premise to my guests during the service of alcohol.
The demeanor of the guest when consuming alcohol can vary greatly. The server’s job is to assess and monitor the amount of alcohol dispensed. Guests consume alcohol for many reasons; celebration, stress, camaraderie, depression, etc. Compassion and understanding should be used as listening tools while assessing the immediate needs of your guest. A handy method to remember for assessment purposes is the acronym, SCAB.
When any intervention is necessary, approach it with your house policies in mind and think creatively about using disarming tactics. Humor, smiling, “schmoozing”, sympathy, empathy, and patience go a long way in keeping any situation from escalating. By asking the person in question to, “please do me a favor” or “I would really appreciate it if…”, etc. you give them a chance to comply with your directions before implementing a more stringent policy. In most cases this is sufficient enough to diffuse the situation. Take time to deliberate and give your guest a chance to do the right thing. Do not hesitate when the time for an active intervention arises. Always follow your written house policies and do not hesitate to involve the management. Your intent is to always help, assist, and protect all of the guests.
All guests have the right to safe entrance, a safe visit, and a safe exit from the property, but this is not guaranteed. No one can predict violence, but all employees and management must attempt to control the opportunity for it. Previous knowledge of a person’s propensity for negative behavior may change the responsibilities of the people in control of the premises. Diligent identification checking at the front door can eliminate many potential problems from occurring by preventing entrance. All alcohol servers are required to be trained in house intervention policies and strictly adhere to them. Communication with other employees, security, and management is imperative to maintaining a safe premises.
Safety should be paramount in the minds of all employees. Never miss a chance to extend every courtesy possible to your guests. Your mom would approve!