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Behind the Scenes: Keeping Tabs on the Drinks You Serve

June 29, 2023

Bartending and serving is a fun and fast-paced job, and a lucrative one. But we earn that cash by shouldering a significant amount of responsibility. One of the most critical aspects of a bartender’s job is keeping track of how many drinks they serve to each customer, especially on busy nights when things can get hectic.

It’s important to keep the customers safe, as well as those with whom your customers may come into contact. We don’t want anybody getting intoxicated. But it’s also important to protect yourself and your bar or restaurant from liabilities that could arise if a patron leaves the bar drunk and gets into trouble. In this blog, we ask the experts at BASSET On The Fly to give us their best tips and tricks for keeping track of their customers’ drinks to avoid any potential dangers or other issues.


Count It Up

Counting the number of drinks you serve to each customer can be harder than it seems, especially on a hectic night. If you’re able to integrate your tally with the patron’s tab, all the better, although it’ll be more difficult if they’re buying rounds. You can tally drinks on a notepad or with one of the specialized tracking systems available, like wristbands or hand-stamps after each drink. These durable systems can help you keep track of how many drinks each customer has had even if you step away for a bit.


No Heavy Pours

Another useful technique is to always pour a standard amount of alcohol in each drink. This can help ensure each drink has the same amount of alcohol, making it easier to keep track of how much each customer has had to drink. Pay attention to the size of the glass you’re using, as this can also impact the amount of alcohol in each drink. Remember, your patrons are (hopefully) counting their drinks, too, and a heavy pour could throw off their own tally.


Keep an Eye Out

Use your best observational skills to keep track of customers’ drinking habits. Watch for signs of intoxication like slurred speech, stumbling, excessive loudness or aggression, and slow them down or stop serving them altogether. Watch for suspicious activity around your patron’s drinks, especially if strangers are giving someone unwanted attention. Engage with your customers and monitor their behavior to gauge their level of intoxication. In a way, they’re counting on you.


Cutting Them Off

It’s crucial for servers and bartenders to know when to stop serving a customer alcohol. A great technique for slowing things down is to offer water or food, but there will be times when you must take it one step further and refuse to serve them more alcohol. It can be difficult and awkward, but you don’t have a choice. When it comes to cutting someone off, you have no discretion. If a customer is exhibiting signs of intoxication or you have reason to believe that another drink will cause them to be intoxicated, then you’re required by law to cut them off.


Ask The Experts at BASSET On The Fly

It’s far better to err on the side of caution and stop serving a customer, even if they get angry or loud about it, than to risk a dangerous situation. An overserved patron is capable of causing harm to themselves and to others, as well as to yourself and your bar or restaurant. Bartenders have a significant responsibility to keep track of their customers’ drinks and prevent intoxication. They can use various techniques such as counting drinks, using tracking systems, sticking to standard pours, and observing and engaging with customers to monitor their behavior.

Your bar may be held liable if a patron leaves drunk and gets into trouble, so every server and bartender must take this responsibility very seriously. But by being proactive and responsible, you can ensure that everyone has a fun, safe night. For more information on this and other behind-the-scenes topics, visit our blog and see how the pros at BASSET On The Fly do it.

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