Staying Within the Law at Christmas
Staying Within the Law at Christmas
Christmas, a time of joy, a time of happiness, and most of all, a time for your customers to enjoy themselves. Of course, you can enjoy yourself as well, but you mustn’t forget your responsibilities and the law…
As December has already begun, that means only one thing; the Christmas party season is fast approaching. However, before the limited edition festive ale starts to flow /is flowing, it is a good idea for you to get all your team together and have a staff meeting. Use this opportunity to remind them that the Law, Licensing Authorities and the Police don’t take time off during the festivities. If anything, they’re keeping their eyes focused on everyone as the party season begins.
To help you out, we have come up with a few points to take into consideration with regards to staying within the law.
- Intoxicated Customers
Needless to say, it is a major offence to sell alcohol to anyone who is intoxicated at present. Intoxication: there isn’t an exact definition as such, but there are obviously clear signs to look for. If for any reason, there is doubt in the minds of your own staff as to whether a customer is intoxicated or not, then they should always refuse that customer’s service.
It is important to stay vigilant when your busy.
Your staff should also always refuse to serve anyone who is looking to pass the alcohol to someone who is intoxicated. Even though it isn’t a criminal offence for staff to make such a sale, at the end of it, it is more than likely going to lead to trouble.
As a matter of fact, the person who is actually buying the alcoholic drink for somebody who is already intoxicated, is themselves committing an offence.
- Large Quantity Orders
When it comes to customers making large orders, ensure that your staff are trained to watch out for who they are looking to hand the drinks out to. For instance, it may be that it’s a large order between a small group of people or a large order which is then going to be spread out to a group of people who are already pretty far gone.
Top Tip: Remind Staff that if an order contains a Guinness to try and get it poured first. As it settles, you can serve other drinks. This saves time, keeps the customer happy and hopefully alleviates space when you’re 4 deep at the bar.
- Checking of Age
This is important at any time of year. It is a must that you ensure that all of your staff are aware that even though a customer may have come through door staff, it doesn’t always mean that they’re suitable to be served or, indeed, that they are over 18.
As bar staff, it is their responsibility that they are not abrogated by virtue of fact that a customer has been checked up on when coming through the door. With this mind, be prepared and undertake additional training if necessary, on both ensuring intoxicated customers aren’t served alcohol, and ensuring that no person under the age of 18 is served.
More than likely, you have adopted a Challenge 21 or Challenge 25 policy, so it is vital that the policy is further injected into your own staff.
- Refreshed Training
When it all gets a little bit busy, such as at Christmas time, it can be very easy to lets standards/things slip. To avoid this, it would be a very good idea that refresher training is undertaken before your pub gets really hectic.
Casually go through your establishment’s procedures and your expectations with staff. They might feel like you are teaching them to suck eggs, but ask them if there’s something they aren’t sure about. Let them know that you are there to help them if they need. This will boost team morale and staff motivation that will hopefully be turned into a better customer service and more sales!
Make sure you keep a record of all the training that has been provided. This will help keep your mind at ease and is an easy reference.
If you need any further advice or assistance on finding the correct training programmes for your staff, please visit our training page. We have programmes for all levels of experience, whether you’re new to the industry or you are an experienced licensee, we are here to help.
- Challenge Logs
It is always a good idea to keep a ‘Challenge Log’ behind the bar. This is a diary or book, in which you keep a record of alcohol/tobacco sale challenges.
The information to note is the product, time and date, ID and type, and if the transaction happened because a valid ID was produced. This is then signed by the employee who took the sale. Taking the time and date is very important and can be married up to CCTV if needs be.
The best way of going about using the log book as a Landlord, is by monitoring it on regular intervals, to ensure that it is being completed. By doing this, you can have a good idea of whether staff are or aren’t filling in the log book.
Finally, make sure you enjoy all of Christmas and that your customers enjoy it also. However, don’t let them enjoy it too much, as it may have an impact on your own licence!