Bartender's Beware II
6 Tips for Managing Liquor Liability at Your Business
Written by
Evan Romo
Thursday, March 30, 2023

Although owning your own bar or restaurant can be absolute fulfillment, it still requires a lot of work and holds a LOT of risk. Much of this risk stems from liquor liability, which will stem from serving alcohol to customers who you can become liable for. Having proper risk management in place is essential to running your business long term, so here are 6 tips for managing liquor liability at your business!


A lot of liquor liability will originate from your team. This means training your employees on responsible alcohol service and the signs of intoxication is a key step in managing your liquor liability risk. Different trainings should include information on how to identify fake IDs, how to properly measure and serve alcohol, and how to handle situations when a customer becomes unruly or aggressive. There should also be a clear understanding on the signs of intoxication, so that the team can approach conflict proactively.


In today’s world, delivery services have become the norm. This includes businesses offering alcohol delivery services. You know what else it includes? Much. Higher. Risk. I mean, come on, no kidding. But, there is a way to lower this risk and that is through third party vendors. With a vendor, you can shift away a portion of that risk onto them, but it is just a matter of ensuring that you work with credible third parties and have clear agreements in place between the two of you.


Security cameras offer a ton of collateral. It goes without saying that if an incident is going to happen in your establishment, you’re going to want to get it on camera. Chances are a lawsuit comes around your way, and you will be glad you had any footage that can save you from having to pay out a ton of settlement money. Having that extra set of eyes watching over your establishment is an investment you will be glad you made!


The good ol’ paper trail. One of your best friends or your biggest enemies. If you are hit with a lawsuit and you have no record of your alcohol sales, you can be in deep waters and trust me my friend, you will not have a paddle. Not only should you keep track of your transactions, but you should also be taking record of all incidents that occur in your building. Making sure you keep record of the activity in your bar or restaurant will strengthen your word in the event of a claim.


Arguably the best thing you can do on this list is make sure that you have liquor liability insurance! You can take up all of the best risk management policies in the world, and still have an incident happen. Liquor Liability insurance comes in once those incidents occur. Because you will now be financially covered during these claims. This can include being covered in settlement and court costs AS WELL AS your defense fees. You can learn more about purchasing liquor liability here.


Lastly, you should always have a strong policy in place that establishes your business practices best judgement in conflict situations. If there are signs of intoxication, your team should be trained to take action immediately, and when taking action, it’s done so in a consistent and proper manner. Your reputation is on the line as a business, so this is one thing you don’t want to be taking chances on.

With these 6 tips as a launching pad, you can put a well structured risk management policy in place for your bar and restaurant to thrive. Your team will thank you, your bank account will thank you, and ultimately your customers will thank you for providing a safe, reliable, and enjoyable experience.

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