From bars and restaurants to catering companies and liquor stores, if your company sells alcohol, there is a certain level of risk when carrying out those services. You can limit your business’s liquor liability risk, and here’s how.

1. Get Liquor Liability Insurance

While not all states mandate that a business have liquor liability insurance, it is vital coverage and is required in Illinois. If a customer consumes alcohol at your establishment and then gets into a fight or a car accident, your business may be sued.

Lawyers frequently hire private investigators to track down receipts, witnesses, and videotapes to find out what was served, how much, and at what time. In these cases, a company may be found liable if their employees served a minor or served too much alcohol to an individual.

In the event that a business is found liable, its liability coverage will cover the expenses, allowing operations to continue. Insurance can cover employees, assault and battery charges, attorney fees, and specific damages.

2. Train Your Staff How to Serve Responsibly

Train staff about best practices in serving liquor responsibly. Patrons who are intoxicated may not make good judgments calls regarding their level of intoxication. Bartenders should be prohibited from over-pouring in efforts of earning a higher tip.

Not only does giving away free liquor cost the business a lot of money, it also leads to the added liability of patrons becoming too intoxicated. Therefore, train staff to keep a drink count to make sure that patrons aren’t over-served.

Additionally, patrons often arrive at a bar already intoxicated. Train staff to monitor for signs of over-intoxication so they can refuse service when necessary.

3. Slow Down Liquor Metabolism

Everyone has their own personal tolerance for alcohol. Depending on gender, weight, muscle mass, and other factors, everyone reaches their alcohol limit in their own time.

A bartender can help slow down the absorption of alcohol by offering customers a glass of water. Alternating between drinking water and alcohol can lessen alcohol consumption and can even reduce hangers by promoting hydration.

Staff should also offer food to slow down alcohol metabolism. Specials on wings, sandwiches, and fries can draw customers in, keep them from being intoxicated too rapidly, and add extra revenue for the company.

4. Have a Best Practices Policy

Work with management and your legal team to create a policy to protect your patrons and employees. Implement a card everyone policy so that minors who look much older don’t get away with drinking in your bar. If staff get into the habit of checking everyone’s IDs, they won’t miss the occasional minor who tries to slip in under the radar.

Not only does serving minors cause legal problems it can also cause a bar to lose its liquor license. Encourage managers to observe employees to make sure that they are carding everyone.

Create a policy on what to do when a patron is excessively drunk. Outline how to call the person a ride, what service will be used, and how to document it in case the documentation is needed for legal purposes.

5. Increase Bar Security

Increased security has many benefits. Your security guards can mitigate a great deal of risk by helping servers identify who should be cut off from alcohol. Security can also deter fights and spot problems before they get out of control. They can contact police when a patron becomes violent and provide legal documentation in case an incident ensues.

Use the tips in this article to mitigate your liquor liability. Every business owner that sells alcohol in any capacity should have liquor liability insurance.

At Metropolitan Insurance Service Consultants, Inc, we have been locally providing commercial business services in Illinois since 1959. Contact our knowledgeable consultants to make sure you receive the liquor liability coverage that your company needs.