How restaurants may handle drunk customers

Firm News,Social Host Liability On Friday, July 14, 2017

When Connecticut restaurants serve alcoholic beverages, it is their task to ensure that their patrons are responsible drinkers. A previous blog discussed a restaurant’s liability if a customer caused harm while drunk. This week’s blog will discuss the ways restaurant staff can handle patrons who have had too much to drink.

There are many ways the wait staff can work with their intoxicated patrons. Food Services of America says that waiters and bartenders should typically keep a close eye on customers. This helps them understand when someone has had enough to drink. Wait staff may bring people a coffee or a soda instead of another alcoholic drink, or they may ask if a patron would like something to eat so the alcohol is not absorbed so quickly.

Some restaurant staff may feel uncomfortable when they need to tell patrons that they cannot serve more alcohol. However, it is important to remember that it may be against the law to give a customer another drink if the customer is already drunk. Waiters should typically be respectful when they inform a patron that they will stop serving drinks, and they should also inform the manager so that all of the wait staff knows that a patron has been cut off for the night. Additionally, it is recommended that restaurant staff call a taxi so that drunk patrons can get home safely.

Some wait staff may find that customers refuse the offer of a cab. According to, it is usually best to explain that waiters are not allowed to let customers drive if they are intoxicated. Waiters might offer to call a friend to come to pick up the customer and confiscate the car keys. Sometimes a patron may get behind the wheel despite a waiter’s offers of help. In this case, it is recommended that wait staff call the police and record the way the restaurant handled the customer.

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