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

Beware of Binge Drinkers

CNN.com recently reported an uptick in binge drinking. Some speculate that it may be caused by the jobless rate and economic woes. Binge drinking can result in alcohol poisoning, which occurs when a lot of alcohol is consumed in a short period of time. With Vegas being the place where people go to let loose and go a little crazy, binge drinking can be a big problem. If you are serving someone who is college-aged or if you find out that your customer may have been playing drinking games or front-loading before going out, then take precautions when serving. Think about how much more to serve and how quickly. You might also want to suggest food or water to help slow down the rate of consumption and absorption.

Why should you worry about binge drinkers and watch for those who may be headed down the path of alcohol poisoning?

  1. Someone who drinks a fatal dose of alcohol will eventually stop breathing.
  2. People, who survive an alcohol overdose, can suffer irreversible brain damage.
  3. A person’s blood alcohol concentration can continue to rise even while unconscious. Even after someone stops drinking, alcohol in the stomach and intestine continues to enter the bloodstream and circulate throughout the body.
  4. A person who appears to be sleeping it off may be in real danger.

Critical signs of alcohol poisoning include confusion, passing out and vomiting. The Mayo Clinic offers some additional symptoms and gives suggestions for how to help someone that may be suffering from alcohol poisoning.

Have you ever had a situation where you had to respond to alcohol poisoning? What advice would you give to your colleagues for handling binge drinkers and alcohol poisoning?

© 2010 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada