Things to Know About Cutting Someone Off
As a seller-server of alcohol in Illinois, the two most important groups of people you have to watch out for are minors and drunk people. In our humble opinion, dealing with minors is the easy part … it just requires you to be diligent about asking for IDs and checking them properly.
Dealing with drunk people and cutting them off, on the other hand, is usually tough and awkward for many reasons. You’re all about serving your customers, so it’s never pleasant when you have to do just the opposite… cut them off. And yet, there’s no avoiding that obligation when the circumstances require it.
At BASSET On The Fly we’re servers ourselves. We’ve been in your shoes as servers, bartenders, and managers. We know how much is sucks to cut someone off. We also know what tends to work well… and what doesn’t. Let us pass the wisdom of experience on to you with these tips:
If you’ve made the decision to cut someone off, then be confident in the decision and stick with it. No matter how shaky you may feel about confronting a customer, it will much smoother if you keep your head high and hold your ground. Trust us. No wavering. Once you’ve made the judgment call that someone’s had enough, follow through with complete confidence. If customer detects any hesitation, it’s going to make the process more painful for everyone. Regardless of how difficult or awkward the situation is, remember that you play a major role in the customer’s safety and the safety of those who they may come in contact with.
Try Not to Make a Scene
If you’re sure and confident, there’s no need for any bluster. Try to get to your customer’s eye level and let them know you can’t serve them another drink, but that you would love to serve them again tomorrow. You could also offer a good food option.
Get Your Manager Involved
If the customer puts up a fight or is otherwise difficult to deal with, don’t hesitate to get your manager involved and let them step in. Let them be the bad guy so you can deal with your other customers. That’s part of a manager’s job (a good manager, at least), so don’t hesitate to utilize them. Just let them know what’s going on and give them the opportunity to have your back.
Ask the Customer’s Friends for Help
When all else fails, and you’re encountering some resistance, try to enlist the help of anyone else in the customer’s party. If the customer won’t listen to you, they might listen to their sober friends or family members. Or, try a less direct approach that can be just as effective – simply bring the check. For a lot of customers, this is all it will take.
Blame the Law
There’s no need to feel personally responsible because you have to refuse to serve more. You can be super sympathetic about it, and simply explain that you have no choice. The law doesn’t give you one.
And again, be resolved that you aren’t going to feel uneasy about this. You are the one who makes this call, not the drunk guy. You’re right. No question.
Most of the time, the above tips will work, even on argumentative customers. But if you should have a particularly bad experience, remind yourself that you’re a hero! Because you are. You are potentially saving your customer’s or someone else’s life. You are potentially saving your restaurant. You are also potentially saving everyone else in the restaurant the drag of having their dinner disrupted by some obnoxious person who clearly doesn’t know their limits.
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