A Dangerous Cocktail – With Prom and Graduation around the Corner, Be Vigilant About Teen Drinking

TAM®-certified hospitality professionals know to always be alert and check IDs year round. However, they should be extra vigilant about preventing teenage drinking going into the spring party season. With both prom and graduation around the corner, some teenagers will be trying to obtain alcoholic beverages through a variety of methods including using fake or borrowed IDs, asking other patrons to purchase liquor for them and even stealing alcoholic beverages when they think no one is looking.

Peer pressure is a constant concern among young people. Teens want to fit in, and alcohol is not only easily accessible to many, it can also contribute to the party atmosphere at end of the school year celebrations. A report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration indicates that 51% of 18-20 year olds in Nevada have engaged in underage drinking within the past month, and 36% have engaged in binge drinking within the last month (SAMHSA). What can you do to help prevent underage drinking and keep things safe?

Reduce the availability of alcoholic beverages to underage drinkers by checking identification carefully or for anyone who appears to be under the age of 30. Always be vigilant about checking identification. Completing your alcohol awareness training with TAM® of Nevada will teach you tips and techniques for spotting fake or borrowed identification.

Off-premise sales professionals should also remain vigilant about alcohol sales. Make sure that ‘alcopops’ such as Four Loko which are popular with teens and sold off-premise are displayed in areas dedicated to alcoholic beverages, not in the soft drink section. Many of these drinks can be easily confused for non-alcoholic energy drinks on quick glance, and it just makes it easier on everyone involved to keep them separate.

A new study suggests that approximately 25% of teen drinkers obtain alcohol from a parent or other family member (MADD). Clerks and cashiers 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. Remember to report any suspicious behavior or activity among patrons to your supervisor or manager.

Be an example to others by promoting safe beverage policies. You can set an example among your coworkers and young people by making it clear that you think underage drinking is NOT ok. In addition to checking identification and keeping a close eye on all patrons, also consider displaying signage in your store or bar announcing that purchasers of alcohol will be carded.

What policies have you instituted at your organization to deter teen drinking?

Resources

© 2012 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

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Patrons Behaving Badly – Avoiding Trouble and Disturbances at Your Establishment

Ask any seasoned security professional, and they’ll tell you they’ve seen some patrons behaving very badly at some point in their career. Donna Hood Crecca for Nightclub & Bar highlights this fact in her article, “Do the Right Thing.” This article focuses on security policies and procedures in place during a January incident at Temple Nightclub in San Francisco that resulted in a fatality and other injuries. A patron was knocked out and later died after a fight inside of the club; a second man was also injured, and another fight outside the club left two others stabbed with broken bottles.

What makes this unfortunate incident worth noting is that security procedures were in place and considered by police to have been more than adequate on the night in question. Club management examined and further enhanced these procedures after the tragic evening.

While these types of incidents are rare, news like this serves as a reminder. Do you have adequate policies in place to avoid trouble and disturbances at your establishment? Remember, bartenders and servers need to be concerned not only with the behavior or state of their direct customer, but how they can effect or interact with others around them. Guests are coming to your restaurant or bar to have a good time and enjoy themselves, no one wants to be harassed or otherwise made uncomfortable.

You can learn more about managing problem patrons from seasoned industry professionals with real-world experience by taking the Techniques of Alcohol Management (TAM) ® course offered by TAM® of Nevada. Here are some quick tips for hospitality workers to use:

  1. It’s easier to stop a fight before it starts.
  2. Keep an eye on your guests.
  3. Always understand and follow company policies and procedures.

You can read more about who you can legally refuse to serve or ask to leave in our blog, “Who Can You Legally Refuse to Serve or Ask to Leave? Know Your Rights!

What are some of your house policies about guest safety and handling disturbances at your establishment?

Resources

Do The Right Thing – Nightclub & Bar

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

Anatomy of a TAM Card® – Find Out If You Are At Risk by Not Having An Official TAM® Card

Often imitated, never duplicated, TAM® of Nevada has been the sole provider of official TAM® Cards to the Las Vegas community for over 25 years. There are several providers of credible and effective alcohol awareness training and drink cards, but TAM® of Nevada is the only authorized provider of the official TAM® card. Also, more employers recommend TAM® of Nevada for their employees’ alcohol education than any other provider. Wonder why? You can learn more about what sets TAM® of Nevada apart and makes our training unique here.

Make sure whatever training program you choose is approved by the Nevada Commission on Postsecondary Education, and be wary of any company other than TAM® of Nevada that promises to sell you a TAM® Card. All training is not created equal, and working with a fake alcohol awareness card can land you, and your employer, in serious trouble. If you already have your TAM Card®, it is easy to check to make sure you’ve received a legitimate drink card and training program. Check out the sample TAM® Card shown here, and make sure yours has the same or similar look. Look for each of the following identifying characteristics which can be found on every card:

  1. TAM® name and registered trademark. Your card should have ‘TAM®’ written across the top in the title with the registered trademark symbol.
  2. Official TAM® logo. Look to the bottom left corner of your card, underneath your photo, and make sure you see the TAM® logo.
  3. Unique Control Number. On the front of your card, you should see a chain of numbers which begin after the letters OE. A different control number is issued to each TAM® Card holder, and is unique to you. Older TAM® cards may have “LVMPD#” followed by a chain of numbers.
  4. Signature on back of card. The back of your card should have the official TAM® logo along with a pre-printed signature.

If you are concerned that your current card may be invalid, or if you’d like to register for an alcohol awareness course, you can reach TAM® of Nevada here. Remember, alcohol education is mandatory for almost all service professionals in Southern Nevada, and you can learn more about alcohol awareness education requirements by reading our blog, “Call It What You May … But There’s Only One TAM Card!

Resources

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

We here at TAM® of Nevada like to promote alcohol awareness and responsible drinking year round. However, we’re happy to help spread the message that April is Alcohol Awareness Month, sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. This is an opportunity to raise awareness of alcohol abuse and encourage people to make healthy, safe life choices.

Drinking too much alcohol can lead to health problems, including alcohol poisoning, hangovers, and an increased risk of heart disease. 3 in 10 adults drink at levels that put them at risk for alcoholism, liver disease, and other problems, and nearly 18 million Americans have alcoholism or related problems (NIAAA). These are “sobering” numbers that heighten the role that servers and sellers have in protecting their communities.

This April, during Alcohol Awareness Month, TAM® of Nevada encourages you to take this time to educate yourself about the dangers of alcohol abuse. Good judgment and knowledge of the Techniques of Alcohol Management (TAM) ® are crucial qualities in a service professional; and Alcohol Awareness Month is an opportunity for you to showcase your training.

Alcohol abuse is a dangerous problem. This month, reflect on your own habits and those of your patrons. Do you recognize the signs of alcohol abuse and binge drinking in yourself or others? You can learn more about the dangers of alcoholism in hospitality workers by reading our blog ‘Warning – Hospitality Workers May Be at Risk for Alcohol Abuse,” and learn more about spotting binge drinkers by reading out blog, “Beware of Binge Drinkers.”

If you recognize a drinking problem in yourself, a loved one, or a customer, it is time to take action by making changes in your life, or making suggestions to others on ways to get help. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has published a helpful guide titled, “How to Cut Down on Your Drinking,” to help you form an action plan to tackle the problem. Some of their tips to cut down include:

  1. Avoid temptation at home. By keeping little or no alcohol around at home, you won’t be tempted to overindulge.
  2. Learn how to say no. It may not be easy to be around other people who are drinking without imbibing yourself, but learning how to politely, but firmly say no can be empowering. You should let people know you’re trying to cut back or quit, and stay away from anyone who pushes you to drink.
  3. Keep busy with other activities. Find a hobby or activity that you enjoy and focus your energy on staying active doing something that doesn’t involve drinking.

Finally, remember one should never be afraid to ask for the help they need. One can ask for help from a friend, family member or doctor if necessary. How will you promote safe choices and alcohol awareness this month?

Resources

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada