If you operate a licensed establishment, you’re bound to have the unfortunate pleasure of dealing with a drunk (affected by alcohol to the extent of losing control of one’s faculties or behaviour) at one time or another. It is the responsibility of the restaurant management to serve alcohol properly as noted in my previous post – The Responsibility of Operating A Licensed Restaurant. To overindulge in a drinking atmosphere is common for even the mild-mannered patron.

This isn’t easy

The most difficult aspect of this is that a drunk is not someone that’s easy to reason with. They’re drunk! Providing excellent service and allowing the patron to make the decision on how much to drink and enjoy is a balancing act that requires much discretion. Diplomacy, the art of dealing with people in a sensitive and effective way, is key.

When to cut-off a customer is never an easy task. Even if the customer is not driving, the law prohibits over-serving. The law is clear: licensed establishments aren’t legally permitted to let people drink to the point of intoxication. Determining when this occurs is not easy, especially in the environment of a busy late night restaurant or bar. Kid gloves are required.

An upscale establishment only complicates the management’s actions. The other patrons don’t expect this and it ruins their outing and taints their impression of the dining/drinking experience.

My neighbour

My restaurant/bar was next door to a large country & western club that provided live music. I had to deal with my share of that country bar’s customers that were either tossed out or couldn’t get in because they were drunk. The short walk around the corner to my business provided me with the unfortunate task of not even letting them in. I didn’t have a bouncer to assist me. I had to use my street smarts to avoid any confrontation.

An example

Tony Montana from Scarface is a perfect example of a worst-case scenario. Not only does he taint the other customer’s dining experience, but he scares everyone, including staff. Belligerent is a term that best describes someone who is openly drunk. Even though it’s not necessarily the restaurant management’s fault, the damage is done to the reputation as an upscale restaurant.

It’s important to note that most drunks don’t make a scene or cause any problems, but intoxicated customers can still be a concern for all.