Balancing the business need to maintain a profitable operation with the legal, social and moral responsibilities that protect public health and safety creates the greatest challenge for any owner or manager in the hospitality industry.
The owners of the establishment, through business policies and practices, and you at the point of customer contact, are in complete control of the sales transaction. You have a right and obligation given a certain set of circumstances to serve or not to serve. In the case of off-premises selling situations, the decision is concrete and absolute. The on-premises consumption decision is initially concrete and absolute, but over a period of time becomes clouded by many circumstances and requires using substantial good judgment.
Here are some statistics that are of concern:
“According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Nevada saw 1.6 alcohol-related traffic fatalities per million vehicle-miles traveled in 2008, a rate higher than the national average.” (View Source)
“Underage drinking is a leading contributor to death from injuries, which are the main cause of death for people under age 21. Annually, about 5,000 people under age 21 die from alcohol-related injuries involving underage drinking. About 1,900 (38 percent) of the 5,000 deaths involve motor vehicle crashes, about 1,600 (32 percent) result from homicides, and about 300 (6 percent) result from suicides.” (View Source)
These are “sobering” numbers and heighten the role that servers and sellers have in protecting their communities. Public safety must be a personal and professional consideration of everyone in the beverage alcohol industry. Professionals in the retail beverage alcohol industry must adopt the personal value system that the sale of alcoholic beverages to underage persons, and/or persons who are intoxicated, is wrong. This must be a personal belief that guides everyone’s actions in the sale process.
By adopting the responsible hospitality policies and practices, businesses can reduce liability risks, enhance the potential for increased profitability and protect their communities.
What are some challenges that you face in protecting the community and what recommendations would you give to your colleagues in the industry?
© 2010 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada