Labor Day is just around the corner, which means it’s the perfect time to kiss summer goodbye and host a socially-distant event at your restaurant or community association. By now, you probably have a strict list of health and safety guidelines set in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during these unprecedented times. But if you are planning on welcoming guests for a get together this Labor Day weekend, it’s important to acknowledge a couple of less-obvious risks: the liabilities presented when serving alcohol or inviting community members to cook out on the grill.
Liquor Issues Presented to Restaurants
Unfortunately, responsible drinking is a practice that restaurant owners need to monitor just as heavily as their guests. While it can be difficult to dictate just how much alcohol a patron consumes, intoxication that is fueled by beverages your establishment provides can present many risks to the safety of others and your restaurant. In fact, a whopping number of forty-three states and the District of Washington have “dram shop” laws holding alcohol purveyors liable in certain circumstances. In more plain terms: your restaurant could be held accountable for any actions taken by a patron who becomes intoxicated on the premises due to the alcohol you have served. The average claim associated with liquor liability is just under $2 million depending on the severity of the injury — which is just another reason to emphasize your restaurant’s commitment to safe and responsible service.
Safety Tips for Restaurants That Serve Liquor
Once you are aware of the liability at stake when serving alcohol at your restaurant, there are plenty of steps to take to ensure that your establishment follows protocol. Start by writing up an alcohol policy for your staff. While alcohol service may be a staple for your restaurant, there is no reason for an employee to have a drink while on the clock. Carefully outline your restaurant’s alcohol policy for all team members to read and sign.
Next, train staff to identify intoxicated customers. We know that employees working intense schedules at a restaurant may have other things on their minds than identifying an intoxicated patron. However, with training programs like SERVSAFE ALCOHOL® and TIPS® (Training for Intervention ProcedureS), employees will have the tools needed to prevent intoxication, underage drinking, and drunk driving. To learn more about practicing alcohol safety at your restaurant this Labor Day and beyond, check out our Liquor Liability Risk Management Tips and review our Insurance Programs for Restaurant Owners.
Implement BBQ Safety Procedures for Community Associations
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), in one-quarter of reported fires, the BBQ grills had not been recently cleaned. Kind of an embarrassing statistic when you make note of the $37 million in property loss that grill fires result in each year, right? To ensure that your community association’s Labor Day bash is successful and safe, don’t skip out on the basics. Maintain a regular cleaning schedule for your grills and always check in on them to confirm that they are functioning properly. In general, assign grills to a designated cooking area — because grilling in close quarters or on a balcony/fire escape is just a recipe for disaster (no pun intended!) Once you’ve got that down, check out our Insurance Programs for Community Associations.