Tips On Dealing With Drunk Punters At Christmas
Christmas and New Year are extremely busy times for bar staff, which is great for those who have undergone personal licensing training courses and want to boost their profits over the season. However, they should also be wary that with lots of punters keen to celebrate the festive season, they need to know how to handle customers who have had one drink too many.
Here are some tips on how to address the problem, while still keeping the rest of the bar relaxed and cheerful as they enjoy a cheeky beverage.
- Watch them carefully
Managing a bar during the Yuletide season, you are likely to see a lot of inebriated people – from those on their Christmas work night outs to those wanting to warm up from the cold outside after a long day shopping.
However, you will notice the customers who have past the point of being tipsy and are becoming aggravated, aggressive, rowdy or rude to other patrons. If a punter has bloodshot eyes, is slurring, spilling drinks and cannot walk properly, they could become disruptive or even violent towards others. Once you do spot someone who is very drunk, keep a watch carefully and inform other staff members to not serve him or her more alcohol.
- Offer an alternative
They could become annoyed when you refuse them a drink, so instead offer a coffee, food or some water. Giving them a free soft drink could help alleviate any tension, and will help sober them up slightly.
It is a good idea to ask one of their friends to give you some support – however, you should remain polite and try not to embarrass the punter, as they are unlikely to return another time if you do.
- Make sure they get home safely
While the drinker is responsible for their wellbeing and their actions, as a bar tender, you also have a duty of care to your customers.
Therefore, it is always wise to check they can get home safely. If they are alone, call a cab or show them the direction of the taxi rank.
According to the Morning Advertiser, some pubs in St Helens even run a designated driver’s scheme, providing free soft drinks to those who are driving their friends home and not drinking. They simply have to show their car keys and driving licence to bar staff, who then keep an eye on them to make sure they do not have drinks of their own.
In the US, Buzztime.com revealed that a Pittsburgh restaurant was fined $15.6 million (£12.2 million) by letting one of its customers drive away after a few drinks. The punter ended up in an accident that killed a seven-year-old boy, and the eatery was held responsible for the crash.
While this is unlikely to hold up in British courts, a fatal collision is not something you want on your conscience, so make sure anyone who is too drunk to walk doesn’t go behind the driver’s wheel.
- Get the police involved if necessary
If they are not listening to you, do not have friends around to help, and are starting to get rowdy, you are within your rights to politely escort them outside and call the police.
They can then look after the customer until they are sober, without you worrying about their safety or the safety of the rest of your bar.
For more professional training courses that might help you this Christmas, take a look here.