Teen Drinking is a Dangerous Business

Each year, approximately 5,000 young people under the age of 21 die as a result of underage drinking; this includes about 1,900 deaths from motor vehicle crashes, 1,600 as a result of homicides, 300 from suicide, as well as hundreds from other injuries such as falls, burns, and drowning (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism). These numbers are alarming, and service professionals should be diligent about ensuring that they are checking IDs and using their alcohol awareness training to avoid contributing to the problem.

Some adults are comfortable allowing their teenagers to drink at home, the thought process often being, “if my teenager is going to imbibe, I’d rather they do it at home under my supervision, and I don’t have to worry about them getting behind the wheel of a car or harming themselves”. Teenage drinking is dangerous, regardless of where it occurs, or who is supervising. Teens can develop dangerous drinking habits, and supervising adults should be diligent about promoting alcohol awareness and age appropriate life choices. Additionally, teens are more likely to binge drink than their adult counterparts. According to the National Society on Drug Use and Health, 72% of 18- to 20-year-old drinkers reported heavy drinking in the past month. (NSDUH).

Also alarming, a new study led by researchers at Indiana University, and summarized by CNN, shows teen problem drinking is not a phase, and could be a predictor of alcohol dependence in adulthood.

It only takes a minute to check an ID and prevent a minor from entering a bar and buying a drink, but what about off-site sales and service? Gas stations, grocery stores and liquor stores are all places that teens turn to in order to purchase liquor, and staffers at those establishments should take steps to ensure they are doing all they can to prevent illegal sales.

Service professionals must be aware of the facts and dangers of teenage drinking. These service professionals are required to obtain alcohol awareness training, and will learn valuable real-world information for dealing with these types of situations in their TAM® training. Off-site premises workers don’t necessarily know that if they sell beer and liquor to a legal adult, the adult won’t provide that liquor to teenagers, but using your best judgment and following store procedures will help to keep things safe and legal.

The national campaign We Don’t Serve Teens makes excellent and common-sense suggestions for helping to curb teenage drinking from off-site sales, “Create and maintain sales and service policies that every staffer should follow.” (We Don’t Serve Teens). Everyone involved in sales should be aware of store policies regarding acceptable forms of ID, when and how to refuse a sale, etc.

Retailers and off-site sales professionals should be diligent about checking IDs as well to make sure teenagers are not trying to purchase liquor with fake or borrowed identification. To learn more about recognizing a fake or borrowed ID, refer to our blog post, “Are Minors Using Fake IDs and Sneaking Past You?” Most establishments also have a guidebook, like the I.D. Checking Guide, for validating various forms of identification. Ask your manager if you have a guide like this in your establishment and refer to it if needed. The I.D. Checking Guide can be purchased from TAM® here.

Taking steps to stop teen drinking is everyone’s job. Parents, teens, workers, communities and others all have to work to make a difference. For more ways to help curb teens’ access to alcohol, refer to We Don’t Serve Teens’ suggestions.

What are some tricks that you’ve seen used by fake ID holders? How else do you think service workers can help curb teen drinking?


© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

You’re Hired! Landing a Job in the Hospitality Industry

We all know the economy is tough right now, and the job market is competitive. However, this year things are slowly starting to turn around, and we can all breathe a little easier. According to the Nevada Department of Employment, Training & Rehabilitation and Clark County Comprehensive Planning, five of the eight largest employers in Clark County are in the hospitality industry, great news for those looking to get hired. (Clark County, NV).

For dedicated job searchers, it helps to stay ahead of the pack and use all of the resources available to you if you want to land a great job in a tight market. In this day and age, it’s not enough to look through the ‘Help Wanted’ section in the newspaper. Employers are using job search websites, word of mouth, and social media tools to reach potential candidates, and connecting has never been easier. Here are a few sites that will help you to jump start the search for your next hospitality career!

Job Listing Websites – There are jobs out there, you just have to know where to look. A great first step is doing a job search on any number of reputable employment websites. Sites like Nevada Job Connect and Recruiting Nevada are great for finding Nevada-area careers. Also check national sites like Monster and Indeed for additional listings, and industry specific sites like Hospitality Job Site. Also, if there is a particular company you want to work for, but sure to check their company website. Casinos, restaurants and clubs often have sections on their websites dedicated to employment listings, and this is one of the first places you’ll find out about available positions.

Social Media Networks – Many employers are now using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and even YouTube to reach out to candidates. If you use Twitter or Facebook, make sure to ‘follow’ or ‘like’ companies you would be interested in working for, and watch for updates. Also, consider connecting with TAM ® of Nevada as we often rebroadcast any job postings or casting calls that we feel may be of interest to those in the hospitality or beverage industry on Twitter and Facebook. There are many individuals and organizations on popular social media platforms that focus on broadcasting job alerts, so you want to make sure to get out there and network socially. Let your social circle know you are looking for work, and don’t be afraid to reach out to others to help with the search; word of mouth can be invaluable.

Industry Websites and Blogs – It’s a great idea to stay up-to-date on what’s going on in your industry while you’re searching. Visiting hospitality industry blogs and websites will keep you in the loop with updates on what’s new in your industry and local area. Sites like Vegas Chatter are great for learning about new restaurant and bar openings in Las Vegas; you can easily get a heads up on who might be hiring new workers. Also check blogs like Hospitality Job Site’s blog or sites like Nightclub & Bar for tips and industry news.

Searching for a great position that you’ll enjoy and excel in can be a daunting process, but having the right tools to help you get started can greatly boost your chances of success. What are your favorite sites when searching for a job?


© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

Keep Things Safe, Don’t Over Serve – Warning Signs a Guest May Be Becoming Intoxicated

Servers, bartenders and anyone else responsible for service and sale of alcoholic beverages has a very important job on their hands… knowing how to spot an inebriated guest, and knowing when to intervene. As a server, it’s important to make sure that your guests and patrons are having an enjoyable time, are served exactly what they ordered, and remain respectful of the establishment and others. On top of all of this, it’s imperative to watch for any warning signs that they may be intoxicated. As such, a bartender or server should always be closely monitoring their guests.

To learn the warning signs to watch out for take the Techniques of Alcohol Management (TAM)® course offered by TAM® of Nevada.

Good judgment, a strong moral compass and knowledge of the Techniques of Alcohol Management (TAM)® are all crucial qualities in a service professional; we have a strong obligation to make sure guests are well taken care of, and can make it home safely without injuring themselves or others.

What warning signs do you watch for when you are working? How do you handle situations involving intoxicated patrons?

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

Call It What You May … Alcohol Awareness Card … Alcohol Education Card … Drink Card … But There’s Only One TAM Card!

Did you know that Nevada is one of only 18 states with mandatory alcohol awareness training required for service professionals? (Alcohol Policy Information System). Training classes and drink cards are required here for just about anyone who deals with the sale of alcohol on the job. It is important for service professionals to know the basics of the laws governing the training that they are required to take.

A business can face serious fines for not complying with alcohol education laws, so making sure your training is legit, and that you’re in compliance, is crucial. Service professionals often have a list of common concerns. Is my awareness program state-approved and does the training delivery and content meet state requirements? How often do I have to renew my card? And, taking it a step further, how do other states handle liquor sale laws and training? We’re happy to spill all the details!

In comparison with the rest of the United States, Nevada has relatively liberal alcohol laws. According to Wikipedia, “bars are permitted to remain open 24 hours, with no “last call”. Liquor stores, convenience stores and supermarkets may also sell alcohol 24 hours per day, and may sell beer, wine and spirits.” Local governments in Nevada may have more restrictive regulations than the state. Additionally, Nevada is one of only 10 states that does not impose dram shop liability – what that means is that a service professional or business that over-serves an intoxicated person cannot be held liable if that person injures themselves or someone else after leaving the bar. (Marin Institute). To compare and contrast Nevada’s laws regarding alcohol sales and service with those around the country, you can refer to this chart supplied by Wikipedia. Laws vary greatly not only by state, but sometimes from county to county, so a server should always be aware of the regulations where they are working or planning to work. TAM® provides you the scoop on the local regs whether you work in Clark County or in Sparks.

Given the liberal laws mentioned above, Nevada made a decision to ensure service professionals act as the gatekeepers to sales and service. Nevada’s approach ensures that a well-educated server is familiar with alcohol’s effects on the body and can recognize the dangerous signs of over-intoxication. Just because you cannot legally be held liable for over serving someone, does not mean that you are not morally responsible if someone gets killed or injured. Furthermore, a responsible server knows when to refuse a sale, and that can be one of the most important steps to preventing alcohol-related accidents and fatalities. You wouldn’t want your pharmacist to not be trained in the medications he prescribes you, so why not apply the same thought process to a bartender? Alcohol is a regulated substance too; those who dispense it should be trained about its effects.

Alcohol Awareness Training is required in Nevada Counties with a population of 400,000 or more for almost all service professionals. You can refer to the Nevada Legislature website to read the laws, and for details on who is governed by them. The Nevada Commission on Postsecondary Education is the agency charged with approving and regulating schools to provide alcohol awareness training. You should ALWAYS check with the Commission to see if a program you are considering is approved, a list of approved programs is available on their website.

For additional statistics and information on what to look for in a training program, you can read our blog post, “Did You Know That In Nevada Alcohol Education Cards Expire After Four Years?” For more information on beverage service training programs regulated around the country, you can refer to the Alcohol Policy Information System provided by the NIAAA.

There are several providers out there of credible and effective alcohol awareness training, but TAM® of Nevada is the only authorized provider of the TAM card®. TAM® of Nevada has been an approved provider of alcohol awareness education and a provider of alcohol education cards for more than 25 years, and we hope to continue educating Nevada’s sales professionals for a long time to come!

Are you compliant with Nevada’s alcohol and hospitality laws? Do you think Nevada should be doing more to regulate sales and service?


© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada