teal Panel

Duty of Care

Managing Your Duty of Care

This program has asked you to think about the role of alcohol in your business plan, and the need to set up special policies for responsible alcohol service.

Managing Your Duty of Care

In this section you will review:

  • The importance of Policies and Procedures
  • An Effective Intervention Strategy
  • Areas for Policy Development
  • Examples of House Policy

This program has asked you to think about the role of alcohol in your business plan, and the need to set up special policies for responsible alcohol service. You now have a number of ideas to experiment with and shape into a comprehensive set of plans and policies.

Importance of Duty of Care
It is important to:

  • Put your policies and plans in writing.
  • Communicate them clearly, consistently and repeatedly to staff.

Writing things down forces you to think them through. Is this just a vague idea, or will it really work? It is also a way of committing yourself to action. Written guidelines for staff convince them that you are serious and make their role much clearer. They will understand the reasons behind the guidelines after they complete the It’s Good Business: Server program.

Even if you are not able to carry out the policy yourself, you can create draft statements to discuss with colleagues and superiors. If you already have these policies and procedures in your business and training plans, we applaud you. Take the time now to review them, in light of the information you have gained and add any ideas you have gained through this program.

Control Through Intervention
When you are dealing with an intoxicated customer, you are dealing with a situation that extends beyond your premises. You may be vulnerable to a lawsuit, hearing or suspension. Your staff and customers, who will assess their level of safety through your actions, are also observing you.

Remember, even if the situation has gotten out of control, you can still manage it responsibly with swift and appropriate action.

Should an accident, injury, damage, or death result despite your best efforts, your liability in the situation may be considerably reduced if you can demonstrate you made every reasonable attempt to take appropriate action.

An intervention strategy has four key steps:

  1. Assess the situation.
  2. Delegate specific responsibilities.
  3. Take action.
  4. Follow up with staff and incident logbook.

Assess the Situation
When you or your duty manager are called to assist in such a situation, your first task is to assess the situation. Don’t jump to conclusions. Ask for vital information about the patron(s), and determine what other information, if any, is needed. It is important to decide how to handle the problem before you get directly involved in it.

Delegate Specific Responsibilities
Decide at this point who does what. What parts of the problem will you handle (such as going to talk to the patron), and which parts of the problem will the server handle (such as calling a taxi, friends, or the police). What is the role of the bartender and doorman (if you have them at your establishment)?

Take Action
Using the statements and techniques in refusing service to patrons that were reviewed earlier. Do not use emotionally charged words, and do provide reasons for your actions.

Follow up with Staff
Follow up with staff and record the actions you take in the incident logbook. Record the sales slip (if available). Review the incidents on a regular basis during staff meetings or with staff before their shift. This helps everyone learn from the experience. It also gives you an opportunity to reinforce or improve policies and procedures from time to time.

Examples of House Policies
Review the following documents: (Requires Adobe® Acrobat® Reader® – free software that lets you view and print Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files)

What’s Happening in Your Business
Examples of House Policies
Sample Policy Outline


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