Bar and pub management can be difficult at times. Whenever there is a mix of alcohol and without suitable supervision or moderation, chaos is likely to ensue. As the owner, you should have a safety checklist for bars to use throughout the process to ensure smooth operation.
You can manage risk in many ways, including compliance with state and local liquor regulations. Mitigation and management of risks it entails are of utmost importance. IT is a potential claim situation, which is why you should first speak with your insurance representative.
You can also get information from them about the risks and liabilities associated with serving liquor. If a situation arises that warrants action, be sure to communicate what your insurance coverage is and how you will proceed.
The purpose of this article is to guide managing your bar’s risks and liabilities. Follow on to build a strong foundation in one of the fundamentals of bar management.
Bar Risk and Liability Management 101
Bar management is more than just keeping operations efficient and fun. You also have to ensure that you’re creating a safe environment for your patrons. Particularly since alcohol intoxication is a possibility and can make a bad situation worse in a matter of seconds.
You, your team, and others on your team have to be prepared for every possible scenario. By setting up safety rules, you show that your business is not just a money-making endeavor, but also values your employees and customers.
It is a liability for a bar to pose a substandard safety protocol. Are you aware of the level of safety at your bar? This bar safety checklist will help you keep your bar safe, from preparing for health inspections to having employees trained, and staying within the legal boundaries.
To begin with, you and your team need to be prepared for the health inspection. Despite not being conducted every day, this is typically an unannounced process. Keep your bar management at the top if you want to condition your staff and your business to pass these inspections.
The following tips will help you prepare for anything your inspector may request during the inspection.
- Write down the procedures used by your staff for food safety. In case of inspection, keep this handy.
- To make sure that standards are kept up, each of your employees must act as if there were always health inspectors around.
- Make sure you know the requirements in your state for food safety: local regulations may differ from region to region. In your establishment, you should know exactly what the rules and regulations are.
- You should do your health business checkup. Check your operations regularly to make sure they’ll pass a health inspection.
- Employees are not permitted to use or view their smartphones during their shifts. This is to make sure they perform at the highest level while on duty.
- A food safety training program must be provided to all staff members. Training refreshers can be useful, especially with your senior employees.
- Routinely conduct spot inspections. Staff will be able to maintain standards this way.
- In case of a health inspector turning up, designate a person for each shift pattern who will be responsible for communicating with him.
Steps in Creating A Risk Management Plan
As a food business owner, you must be prepared for the worst, whether it is a fire in the kitchen or emergency food damage, or liquor liability claims.
A restaurant risk analysis must be conducted before a business is even opened, that’s why it’s essential for you as a business owner. You can reduce the risks associated with your food business by creating an effective risk management plan.
Here’s the basic process on how to create a plan to help you handle risks for better bar management.
Recognize the crisis before it occurs
If you want to prepare for anything, you must know what you’re preparing for. The most common problem in a bar is alcohol intoxication, which often leads to misunderstandings between customers and fights.
But there’s a limit on how much you can identify as you’re not mostly on the floor. In this step, ensure that you’ll talk to your entire team and ask them what are the usual problems and claims that they encounter.
If you want a mix of perspectives, you may also your customers and even stakeholders. Through this, you’ll be able to have a better insight and cover all the angles of your business for risk management.
Investigate and analyze potentially dangerous situations
In the next step, categorize risk factors based on probability – high, moderate, and low. You can also organize them according to impact. A risk register can compile this information. Even though the risk register is outside the scope of the planning phase, know that you will revisit it and possibly make changes during the process.
Affirm accountability of every risk
Be a team player and carefully delegate and designate staff members to each potential risk you’ve identified. Having someone monitor the risks listed in your risk management strategy ensures that issues will always be addressed swiftly and effectively.
Take proactive measures
The manager, staff owner, and you should all work together to use the risk register to figure out what should be done if a risk becomes a problem. Among these four responses, decide which is applicable:
- Avoid: Modify your plans or the way you tackle the risk to eliminate it.
- Transfer: Designate a risk to another staff member, the management, or a third party (e.g., an insurance representative or supplier).
- Manage: Minimize the impact and probability of the potential harm.
- Accept: Handle risks and their consequences in a responsible manner.
You should make your risk management strategy visible across your entire team, so everyone knows what risks to avoid, who to contact, and when to take action if they occur. With the advent of this digital age, you’re now capable of streamline restaurant management from a single point of contact.
Keep tracking and monitoring the potential risks
You’re bound to encounter new risks in addition to those you’ve already set out in your risk management plan. In this case, your risk management system is crucial, along with continuing to monitor and control your business risks.
You need to track triggering events and report them when they occur so you can initiate a response plan. It involves comparing your original assessment with your current risk assessment, to help you think forward.
A sound restaurant and bar management approach includes comprehensive and ongoing risk planning. Even though there will inevitably be issues, you may be more likely to succeed if you have a system, and subsequent projects may be more successful.
As a bonus, preparing for risks will enable your team to be adaptable and experiment with new strategies without fear.
Bar and Restaurant Checklist for Safety
Here are the basics you should consider while creating a checklist for your bar management.
Invest in the training of your staff
You should always put your employees’ safety first at work. They are the core of your operations. As part of your daily operations, your employees are exposed to a variety of hazards, and they can often help prevent catastrophes if they have a thorough understanding of them.
Some factors to consider when considering staff training are:
Customers should be assisted by employees with expertise in helping them. In the event of a dissatisfied customer, the employee must understand how to apologize and compensate, and the appropriate time to contact the restaurant manager.
Occupational safety procedures
Educate your employees on the safety protocol for your food business, including handling, storing, and preparing food, alcohol serving, and what to do in the event of a fire, burglary, or other disasters.
Ensure that your employees are adequately trained on the safe handling of heavy objects. You’ll want to provide appropriate equipment for the chef and line cooks for storing sharp tools and equipment, along with heat-resistant equipment, such as gloves and potholders.
Furthermore, you may need to enforce a policy requiring safe footwear and clothing. Those injured at work can receive employee compensation benefits to cover medical expenses, as well as partial compensation for time lost from work.
Services related to alcohol
Providing alcohol to customers may expose you to liability if they are intoxicated. The importance of training employees in proper alcohol service must therefore be emphasized by establishments that sell alcohol.
Security personnel should be designated
Remember the third step in your risk management plan? The one where you’re required to assign each team member a potential risk area? Yes, this is just one of the many situations that come in handy.
Selling and serving alcoholic drinks involves the safety of your customers and your property, you need an additional workforce to reduce your chances of being sued for liquor liability.
Customers who are under the influence of alcohol or who become unruly will be handled by trained staff. The objective is to prevent injuries and property damage and to properly handle incidents.
Having personnel just for a specific task will allow them to focus on their task and do their task diligently, compared to if you’re going to make them do four things at a time. Initially, it may cost you a bit, but the returns of having smooth operations every day will most likely make up for it.
Always verify the identification of every patron
As an establishment serves alcohol, this is the most basic step you need to take. Irresponsible management will be immediately discernible if this is not done. There’s no way around it. This will harm your brand and may result in a ban according to local law.
The mere fact that someone appears of legal drinking age does not necessarily mean that they are. Your bar will be liable for underage drinking if you or a member of staff serves alcohol to them. The consequences of being found liable can be severe, including damage to your reputation and livelihood.
The best way to make your establishment safe is to make sure every patron shows identification as soon as they enter your establishment. To accomplish this, you have two options:
- Train your staff to instruct customers who request alcoholic drinks to provide proof of identification. In the case of two or more people ordering drinks, your bartender should ask for identification from each person before serving them.
- Employing door security is another way to assess the security of patrons as they enter the premises. In addition to handling any trouble, they also possess the ability to identify every customer who tries to enter the premises.
If the circumstances are right, either of these options can be quite effective. Hire security for your entrance if you will only be serving beverages. If you are serving food to families, it is unrealistic to ask everyone to show identification. If this is the case, your wait staff and bartenders should ask for identification only when it’s necessary and appropriate.
Know when to turn down service
Refusing to serve someone who is intoxicated is an excellent way to protect your establishment and your staff. As a result of alcohol consumption, your patrons can act unpredictably, which is when problems arise.
Individuals who are intoxicated are more likely to have fights, accidents, and injuries. If you want to avoid such a situation, ensure that they are not allowed in your bar.
Staff should be trained to refuse service assertively. To ensure that people do not become too intoxicated, they should recognize the signs. Here are the common signs where your patrons have too much to drink.
- Starts showing aggressive behavior, even to people they’re not acquainted with.
- Having a hard time carrying a conversation, slurring words is evident.
- Started using foul and offensive language.
- Using an unnecessary higher volume of voice while talking.
- Loss of balance and starts to stumble, fall, or bump to everyone and everything.
- Falls asleep at the bar
A person who exhibits any of these signs or checks all the boxes may be asked to leave the premises by your staff, after consulting with management.
You should not have your bar staff deal physically with drunk customers to minimize liability concerns. The staff at your bar must contact the authority if a patron refuses to leave.
Your designated security personnel must be available to assist your staff in the case of a physically uncontrollable patron, as they are trained to handle this situation.
Leaving intoxicated patrons unattended is a recipe for disaster. Any injuries that occur on your property are considered your responsibility. Moreover, you are responsible if an intoxicated individual causes bodily harm or damage to property. These kinds of lawsuits usually cost a lot of money.
Make sure your permits and licenses are updated
This should be a priority on your restaurant business plan and safety checklist. Permits and licenses are essential to running a business. Depending on your state, local regulations might differ, so check ahead to ensure you have all that you need.
- Licenses and permits can be revised periodically. Keep track of your legal status by checking regularly and frequently.
- Please ensure that you are aware of any permit expiration dates. Ensure that all the required documentation and requirements are on hand so that the permit renewal goes smoothly.
- Your legal documents will also be requested by health inspectors. Store this somewhere both safe and accessible so that anyone who needs it can see it.
You may be subject to massive fines if you don’t keep your licenses and permits updated. Your business may be forced to close its doors permanently if these problems become chronic.
You will also be held liable if you operate illegally. To run a bar, you have to adhere to this aspect exactly. If you have not audited your licenses and permits recently, you would be wise to do that now.
Maintain a clean environment
Implement an extensive cleaning routine for the opening, mid, and closing of shifts. Employees must be expected to clean regularly. Take this requirement into account constantly. Keeping a clean establishment will reduce foodborne illnesses, slip, and fall risks can be avoided by maintaining a clean establishment.
Cleanliness should be a top priority. Ensure staff is complying with standards by performing random spot checks. You should never stray from standard operating procedures because you never know when the health inspector will stop by.
Invest in a reputable bar insurance partner
Despite your meticulousness and careful attitude, you are likely to make some mistakes and make a few blunders. Accidents do happen occasionally. An accident or incident that is your fault can cost you a lot of money in legal fees. Whether or not you are found not liable, you may still be liable for your legal costs.
You need to find an insurance provider that can offer you a variety of coverage options, regardless of whether you have been traditionally denied coverage. Your restaurant should work with a company that specializes in custom insurance solutions.