Imagine this: you are serving beverages to customers, just like any other day. A younger couple visits your establishment and orders two glasses of chardonnay. You size them up and they seem sober and confident, but they look like they might be a little young. Think fast – what do you do? Ask to see I.D., or make the sale and send them on their way? If you chose option number two, you would have failed the test.
This past Saturday marked Reno’s Wine Walk event, and four businesses were cited for serving minors. The Reno area’s Regional Street Enforcement Team conducts regular alcohol compliance and TAM Card checks. On Saturday, the Team sent four 18-20-year-old volunteers out to attempt alcohol purchases at 19 area businesses. This time around, four of those businesses made sales to the minors. These volunteers were given instructions to show their actual state-issued I.D. if they were asked for it, clearly identifying them as underage, according to authorities.
The penalties can be severe. In Nevada, serving alcohol to a minor and allowing a minor into a bar are misdemeanors, with a pre-designated fine of $500. Now, think about your training. Would you pass an alcohol compliance check? Here are some tips for keeping things safe and legal:
- Get your mandatory TAM® Card and alcohol awareness training. TAM® will train you on how to correctly check identification and how to spot fake, borrowed, or altered ID. Police officers may ask to see your alcohol awareness card during an alcohol compliance check, so it is important to be prepared.
- Check ID very carefully, and look for any inconsistencies. Watch for anyone who seems either nervous, or over confident. When checking the birth date of a customer, don’t rely only on the birth year alone to confirm someone is of legal drinking age. Minors may try to pull a fast one on busy or distracted workers by purchasing alcohol just a few months or weeks shy of their 21st birthdays. As evidenced by this recent operation, doing the math correctly is very important.
Every establishment needs policies to prevent alcohol sales to minors, and to protect themselves from liability, and the public from harm. Tell us in the Comments below – how else do you think service workers can help curb teen drinking?
Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 50 minutes (CDC). As a TAM Card® holder, you can do your part to help cut that number in the future. You have the skills to promote safe beverage service and minimize the chances that someone will be over served and get behind the wheel.
At TAM® of Nevada, we like to promote responsible service year-round. Spread the message that April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and this is a great opportunity to further reflect on safe service choices and showcase your training.
Alcohol Awareness Month was founded by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) and further sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). This national date is an opportunity to raise awareness about alcohol abuse, reflect on consumption, and encourage people to make healthy choices.
This month we encourage you to visit our website or our office to renew or obtain your official TAM® Card. In addition to our regularly scheduled TAM® Classes available in Las Vegas six days a week, the TAM® course is also available online 24/7. Additional special offerings and scheduled events in April include:
- Final exams are offered at our Las Vegas office and several other locations across Nevada, as a convenience to our online customers. View our exam schedule to find the option that works best for you.
- Alcohol awareness class and final exams for online students will be available in Mesquite at the Virgin River Hotel Casino on Wednesday, April 17th. This event is repeated the third Wednesday of every month.
- Class will be offered in Spanish in Las Vegas on Thursday, April 18th at 10:00am. Walk-ins are welcome. This event is repeated the third Thursday of every month.
How will you promote safe choices this April?
Late morning on a sunny Sunday, and who doesn’t love the idea of brunch? Offering brunch service is a great opportunity for restaurants to reach their client base and offer a unique selection of menu items and beverages. But remember, just because it’s the daylight hours, that doesn’t mean servers should be any less vigilant about safe beverage service. Bloody Marys and mimosas are standard brunch fare, and day drinking can still lead to over-intoxication. Here are a few tips that servers can keep in mind to help keep things safe, and make sure their customers still have a great experience.
- If customers are drinking, promote low-proof beverages or mocktails to go with their meals. A mimosa with orange or pear juice is a popular choice for brunch service. For recipe ideas for brunch-themed mocktails, head to the Martha Stewart website.
- Customers should eat and stay hydrated if they are consuming alcoholic beverages. If customers want to linger after their meal and continue beverage service, try suggesting a special brunch appetizer or snack to go with their beverages. Food helps keep alcohol in the stomach for a longer period of time which means that it will be absorbed into the bloodstream at a much slower rate. Try offering an appetizer to go with their drinks. A simple, “Would you like to try some of our brunch crostini or chips and salsa to go with your cocktail?” is always a good tactic.
- With each drink order, also offer to bring your guests a glass of ice water. Offering water is one of the easiest ways to help customers stay hydrated. That goes doubly for brunch served poolside or on the patio. The hot Las Vegas sun can speed up dehydration. Enjoying an alcoholic beverage on a hot day can be a refreshing treat, but it can also accelerate dehydration and can lead to heat-related illness.
- Remember, it is a myth that the caffeine in coffee will sober a person up faster. A person cannot consume multiple alcoholic beverages and then polish it off with a cup of coffee to ‘sober up.’ Coffee certainly goes hand in hand with eggs and potatoes, but it isn’t going to lower someone’s BAC. The body needs time to metabolize alcohol and then return to normal. There are no quick cures, only time.
- No matter what time of day, use the Techniques of Alcohol Management® to keep an eye on guests, use good judgement, and serve them safely. You have an obligation to serve responsibly. To and learn more and get your TAM Card®, register on our website.
What other brunch service and day-drinking tips would you share with hospitality workers? Tell us in the Comments below.
Good news! We’re the only authorized TAM Card® provider in Nevada, so we know how important it is to provide great service to you. Along with providing training that is compliant with state laws, we want your experience to be memorable, meaningful, and convenient. We welcome customer feedback and review their requests. We can’t change the laws, but we can respond to suggestions. Our customers asked and we are answering by rolling out a new and improved classroom schedule.
Starting on Friday, February 1st, we’re offering a new schedule for in-person, instructor-led alcohol awareness classes. Join us for the only instructor-led TAM Card class offered in in Las Vegas.
One of the benefits of training in our classroom is the interaction with others. You’ll get the chance to interact with fellow students and our instructors. Our class groups are fun AND informative. Working together is a great way to make sure you understand all of the information. Our instructors are industry experts, and will be happy to share their tips and industry insights.
Our full classroom schedule is:
- Monday 2:00pm
- Tuesday 10:00am
- Wednesday 2:00pm
- Thursday 2:00pm
- Friday 2:00pm
- Saturday 10:00am
- Spanish class – Third Thursday of every month at 10:00am
You can register at our office before class starts or register on our website.
We also offer online TAM Card training, available 24/7, at the TAM® of Nevada website. We look forward to seeing you soon!