HOW TO CUT SOMEONE OFF
The girl in front of your bar is speaking loudly, stumbling around, and generally looking f**ked up… Maybe she tried to light a cigarette inside – and maybe it was the wrong end of the cigarette. It’s apparent from one glance that she doesn’t need any more alcohol in her system tonight.
She comes up to you and slurs, “Lemmeee get a vodkaa-cranberriess.” What do you do? Hopefully, you realize already that you do not serve her this drink.
When a patron is intoxicated, it is your responsibility, as a bartender, to stop serving her/him. This is for her own good.. and for your own good… and for the good of the establishment you work at. If the unfortunate case arose where something bad happened to this female patron after leaving your bar (e.g. car accident), the authorities may come back and ask if you served her. If you did serve her, you and/or the establishment you work at may be held criminally liable.
So “cut her off”! However, never tell the patron that you’re “cutting her off.” I’ve found the best way to tell the intoxicated guest is to gently inform her, “I’m sorry but management has told me I cannot serve you anymore.”
This takes the blame off of you and informs the guest that it’s not anything personal. Let your manager know before you cut off said patron so that if there is any backlash, you will be covered. Sometimes when someone gets cut off, she will immediate say, “Let me talk to your manager.” If you have notified management that you have an intoxicated guest, there won’t be a problem.
When deciding whether to stop serving a patron or not, use your judgement. It’s not always easy. This is something that will improve with time and bartending experience. But, ultimately, if someone is acting/ looking like they’ve had too much too drink, they probably have. Do what is safe for you and that person: cut them off. —
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