There’s an art to dealing with people who have had too much to drink and it is vital that you have lots of bartenders, bouncers and team members who are skilled at it.
As the saying goes, prevention is the best cure, so it is better not to let a customer drink to the point where the situation gets harder to control. However, this is easier said than done, as it is often very difficult to tell if someone is just very merry or whether he has gone beyond the critical point of no return. Normally, an experienced bar or floor staff should be aware of these finer grey areas and have a good feel of what to do, especially if it is a regular who has demonstrated certain drinking and behavioral patterns when they’re tipsy.
Different Tactics for Different People
Most of the time, it is a good idea to approach customers differently, depending on their particular characters. For example, some people who are drunk get rowdy and aggressive, while others are more jovial and amicable, so there isn’t a one size fits all strategy.
On the whole, the general objective is to encourage them to stop drinking anymore and to find their way home safely if it’s possible. This is often best achieved by asking a female member of staff to suggest the idea to the patron as men tend to listen to attractive women a lot more than moody bouncers. However, on the other end of the scale, if gentle persuasion does not work, then the last resort is to be more assertive by using the bar’s security personnel to do the job. In between, there are also smooth talking bartenders and various other team members who can use their relationship with the customer to try and achieve the same goal.
If the customer came in with a friend who is more stable, then it could be best to ask the friend to take his buddy home, as people are more likely to listen to those who they are familiar with rather than strangers, especially when they are intoxicated and not thinking straight.
Discover What Works for You
After you’ve gone through this a few times, you and your team will have found your own tactics to handle customers who have had too much to drink.
In many countries, it is illegal to serve alcohol to someone who appears to be overly intoxicated. In these circumstances, it is even more important for owners, bartenders and servers to be able to spot people who are drunk as there could be serious repercussions on the business if this is overlooked. As always, before opening a bar, make sure you are fully aware of all the legal requirements in your state and country.
Update: To get more ideas, check out this article where you’ll find 9 more Tips on How to Manage Drunk Customers and Prevent a Bar Fight.