ID Scanners – Friend or Foe?

ID  scanners have their benefits. They can be helpful in determining whether an ID is the real deal. Scanners can also quickly do the math for determining the age of the person represented by the ID. In these ways, ID scanners are your friends.

However, ID scanners can also be your foe if you rely solely on the scanner. If you are a manager, keep in mind that those who are new or inexperienced at checking IDs will tend to rely on technology. Take caution if you notice that your staff is making the decision to let people in, be served, or buy based on what the scanner says, without using diligent inquiries. A diligent inquiry is a dedicated effort to establish beyond doubt that the potential customer is of legal age to purchase, possess or consume alcoholic beverages.  

By skipping this process and putting all your trust in the scanner, you put yourself and your establishment at risk. Only a human being can do the work of a diligent inquiry.

Here is a scenario that describes why the scanner alone cannot do the work of checking IDs.

You are on duty at the hottest dance club on the strip. It is one busy night with a line a mile long. You scan a drivers license for a young man and get the go ahead to let the person into your establishment. The guy you let in ends up drinking too much and passes out in the bathroom. An ambulance is called and when the medics arrive, they find another ID in his wallet. Guess what? You let a minor into the club. He gave you a valid ID that he borrowed from his brother. The club you work for gets hit with a fine and you might lose your job!

You cannot automate the ID checking process by simply running IDs through a scanner. If you use scanners at your establishment, we recommend that you use them in conjunction with diligent inquiries. You need to confirm that the person represented by the ID is in fact the person standing in front of you. The only way you can avoid this type of scenario is through a diligent inquiry.

If you are a manager, make sure that your staff, especially those who are new or inexperienced, know your house policies for checking IDs and how to use the diligent inquiry technique.

TAM Card Holders, what diligent inquiry strategies did you learn in training and what methods have you successfully used when checking IDs? What are your experiences regarding the use of ID scanners?

© 2010 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

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