Make it home for the holidays…

Dale J. Venturini
President/CEO, RI Hospitality Association

With the holiday season upon us, stores and restaurants are full, our hearts are full and there is a good chance that our cups are too. ‘Tis the season of indulgence, and in the hospitality industry, that means servers and bartenders are as busy as they will be all year. Somewhere between taking orders and delivering food and beverages to their guests, servers must always be cognizant of their guest’s level of alcohol consumption. Office holiday parties, Secret-Santa swaps and family reunions provide the perfect environment to toast to the holidays but with proper training and a watchful eye, an experienced server or bartender will be monitoring safe consumption. The Rhode Island Liquor Liability Act requires anybody who serves alcohol in the state to do so responsibly. This means that servers must check identification to verify legal drinking age, recognize and prevent intoxication, and sometimes handle difficult situations.

Men and women metabolize alcohol differently, and there are standard low-risk drinking limits for each gender. In addition, factors such as food, medication, body weight, and the type of alcohol being served can all have different effects. To limit the risk associated with the overconsumption of alcohol, men are advised not to exceed four alcoholic beverages on any day and fourteen per week, while women should have no more than three drinks on any day and seven per week. It is also recommended that everyone refrain from consuming alcohol for at least two consecutive days per week. The effects of alcohol can creep up on you after just a couple of drinks, so always remember to pace yourself, avoid mixing different types of liquor and make sure you always identify a designated driver or third-party ridesharing option, otherwise you will need to limit your intake to ensure your ability to drive.

In last month’s column, I discussed Rhode Island’s Liquor Liability Laws and explained the importance of abiding by the law when it comes to serving alcohol. For anyone who is unaware, it is required by law that any individual who holds or is applying for a retail liquor license in the state of Rhode Island to be insured for general liability, liquor liability, and property damage in the minimum amount of $300,000. Liquor liability insurance protects your business, your employees and you personally should a patron that you served liquor break the law or cause any type of damages while at your establishment, or after leaving. If you are unsure whether or not you are adequately insured, RIHA encourages you to ask your broker for a quote from Hospitality Mutual Insurance – all RIHA members are eligible for 20% off of liquor liability insurance through them.

RIHA frequently hosts public ServSafe® Alcohol Training Programs for servers and bartenders. The course covers the trends and risks related to the responsible sale and service of alcohol and meets current requirements for alcohol certification mandated by the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation. Any person who sells or serves alcohol, any valet parking attendants at an establishment that sells or serves alcohol, and anyone who is responsible for checking identification related to the purchase of alcohol, must be trained by a state-approved training program.

This holiday season, enjoy yourself, but please do so responsibly. RIHA proudly provides the necessary resources designed to protect hospitality business owners and consumers alike; please utilize them. We hope that your holiday season is filled with good food and drinks, great company and plenty of Yuletide Joy!