March is a busy time of the year for many restaurants. The weather starts to get a little bit warmer, and many want to get out and enjoy time with their friends.
With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, many restaurants see an increase in foot traffic because of the alcohol centered festivities.
Alcohol is a big part of any restaurant or bar income, especially since their sales account for about 30% of revenue.
Offering alcohol to your customers is a great way to bring in business, but it also comes with a major risk. Not to worry though, because with the help of these restaurant safety tips, you can ensure that your restaurant or bar is prepared for the big rush of customers coming up on March 17th:
1. Make sure your liquor permit is up to date.
This is incredibly important when you are running an establishment that serves alcohol. The type of permit you have depends on your establishment and the type of alcohol you choose to sell.
For example, in Connecticut, the fees and rules all depend on the type of liquor permit you’re applying for. Without a proper liquor permit, you could face major fines, business closure, and even jail time.
2. ID all of your customers every single time they purchase alcoholic drinks.
Among our restaurant safety tips, this one may seem a bit more obvious, but before you serve alcohol make sure to always check a customer’s ID regardless of how old they look. It’s important to make sure to post signs around your establishment about ID checks and enforce your employees or bartenders to always check IDs. It takes only a few seconds to check someone’s ID. Additionally, something like an ID scanner can also detect if a customer is trying to purchase alcohol with a fake ID.
Selling alcohol to an underage person is a serious offense and can result in fines and hefty jail time. Be sure to protect yourself and your business, and ID every single time.
3. Make sure you have liquor liability insurance.
Having liquor liability insurance is important because even if you have proper documentation and follow liquor laws to a key, unfortunate circumstances can happen out of your control. Rowdy customers can have too much to drink and cause damage to your business, personal property, or each other. This leaves you liable and at a severe loss if you don’t have the correct coverage.
At Paradiso Insurance, we offer this type of insurance to protect our commercial clients who can legally serve alcohol in their restaurant, tavern, brewery, or bar. This way if something unfortunate does happen, damages and other legal fees are covered under your policy.
4. Understand when you can legally serve alcohol.
Even if you have the correct permits, some states prohibit serving alcohol on certain days and times, so be sure to understand when you can and cannot serve it to customers.
In Connecticut, alcohol can only be served in restaurants Monday through Thursday from 9AM to 1AM, Friday and Saturday from 9AM to 2AM, and Sunday from 10AM to 1AM.
5. Be responsible.
Another big restaurant safety tip is to be a responsible owner. Unfortunately, when people are heavily intoxicated they don’t always make the best choices. However, you are responsible to cut a customer off if they’ve had too much to drink. In fact, here in the state of Connecticut, it is illegal to sell alcohol to someone who is clearly inebriated.
As a restaurant owner, you have rights to refuse serving alcohol to anyone who has gone past their limits. If need be, consider hiring security personnel for days where you’re expecting a large volume of people in your establishment.
Not only does being a responsible owner protect you and the other customers, but the intoxicated person as well. Extreme drunkenness poses a variety of health and public safety threats, don’t become liable for damages caused by someone else in order to make a sale.
6. Make safety a number one priority.
Nothing is more important than the safety of you, your staff, and your customers. Therefore, before you open the doors on St. Patrick’s Day take the time to make sure everything in your restaurant is functioning correctly. You don’t want customers to leave with a bad experience from food poisoning, and you certainly don’t want to have to shut down due to faulty kitchen equipment or facilities.
Of course, you should be checking these things regularly, but one malfunction can completely ruin your sales on St. Patrick’s Day. Have a back up plan, make sure your staff understands what to do in an emergency situation, and check your alarm systems ahead of time.
Safety at your restaurant is important all year round. We hope these restaurant safety tips can help you prepare for St. Patrick’s Day. As a reminder, if you ever need protection for your restaurant or bar, the insurance professionals at Paradiso Insurance promise to give you the coverage you need at the best available price we can find for you. Contact us for a quote today!