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Drinking on the job ó Donít do it!

It may be common practice in many bars, nightclubs and adult nightclubs for bartenders, managers and entertainers to drink alcoholic beverages while on the job. But as bar management expert Bob Johnson suggests, it could be the worst mistake these people could make — and could put you out of business.
If you are an owner or general manager who allows your staff to consume beverage alcohol during the scope of their employment—i.e., “drinking on the job”—you ought to be taken outside and shot!
Okay, that may be an exaggeration.
But when you carefully examine this issue, allowing your staff to drink on the job is the ultimate act of stupidity, irresponsibility, and disrespect for the welfare of your employees and your business. Owners and managers must protect their business from potential lawsuits, and allowing your employees
to drink while they work leaves you wide open. You’re taking the chance of losing it all. So why would anyone put themselves in this position? The mentality of “it’s good for sales” ranks rightup there with …duh-h-h-h-h-h. Does the fate of your business really come down to how much the employees can slug away for you?
Ethyl alcohol affects judgment and impairs one’s ability to rationalize or perform a function that requires effective interpretation or quick reaction. “Misreading” a situation is commonplace for anyone consuming beverage alcohol, regardless of the amount consumed. Counting money, making a judgment call, responding to a pressure situation or settling a disturbance can only be done with a clear mind. Beverage alcohol is not a “performance enhancer”!
Legally, if there are damages or injury to a third party and you were involved in the situation in any way—and it was known that you were under the influence of alcohol at the time—your company and you have no reasonable defense. You just lost the case! You probably don’t have enough money to defend yourself in this kind of situation.

Medically, if there is injury to you while on the clock and you have consumed beverage alcohol in any quantity, worker’s compensation will not pay for your medical treatment. You’re on your own.
Because you work in a heavily scrutinized industry, management and staff must never be under the influence of beverage alcohol when confronted by a representative of local law enforcement or a governmental agency performing a routine

assignment that wants to ask questions.

When you, Mr. Owner, hired a bartender or manager, did you include the consumption of beverage alcohol as part of the job? Of course you didn’t. So why would you allow it? If a bartender or manager chooses to consume a beverage alcohol product for their personal consumption while working, they’re stealing from you! It’s grounds for immediate termination.

It’s no different than working at Wal-Mart and helping yourself to a few DVDs or a pack of gum and not paying for it. It’s called “shoplifting” and people go to jail for stealing company property.

I have too many bartender friends who got into the habit of having a couple of drinks while working. The customer buys the bartender a drink, and the bartender gladly accepts. Now the bartender is up to “quite a few” every day. Then the bartender finds himself “having to have a few” on their days off. Then they have to have several drinks a day just to “balance out.”
This is called addiction. It’s called alcoholism, and they’ve got a problem they’re going to have to battle the rest of their life. As the owner or general manager, are you encouraging these people to have drinks at work? If so, you may be the one responsible for this person’s alcoholism.
Alcohol is for the customer to consume, not the bartender or other

staff members. Bartenders simply prepare it and serve it—that’s it! Why can’t bartenders or servers simply accept a non-alcoholic beverage, like a Red Bull, Frappuccino, cup of coffee, bottle of water, Coke, etc.? Why does it have to be a drink containing beverage alcohol? Police don’t drink alcohol while working, bankers don’t drink alcohol while working, retail clerks don’t drink alcohol while working, emergency room personnel don’t drink alcohol while working, sports teams don’t drink alcohol while working, so why do bartenders and managers feel they’re entitled to consume alcohol while they’re working? It’s stupid, it’s unprofessional, it’s self-serving and in many states, it’s illegal (and it should be illegal in all states).

Charley is on my mind everyday. He was a bartender who worked at a place where I was a regular customer. Charley was allowed, and encouraged, to drink with the customers. He was my friend and I did everything I could to get him to stop drinking at work. “It doesn’t matter what they allow you to do, Charley, stop the drinking!” I would say. “You shouldn’t have to be told. Professional bartenders don’t drink while working—ever!”

Professional managers don’t drink while working either. But if the managers are drinking, don’t you think every staff member is drinking? Of course they are. Managers set the tone. Managers lead by example.
Charley had quite a bit of Patron one night, and then mixed it with a few Jagerbombs. He didn’t make it home that night—nor did the family of four he crashed into on their way to early morning mass. He fell asleep at the wheel from the drinking and crossed over the center line. The case is pending, but a massive lawsuit has been brought against the owner, investors and managers of the club where Charley worked. You see, the owner and managers encouraged their people to drink while working. It’s good for business, they rationalized.
And Charley? He survived the crash (the drinker usually does). But his life is over. Charley has to be sedated

everyday to stop the crying. He can’t eat. He can’t do anything. He was once a really good guy, but today he can’t live with himself for what he did to those innocent people on their way to church. They’re gone.
So go ahead bartenders, managers, servers, security persons, keep drinking at your place of work. It’s not your investment or your liability. Somebody else owns the club, so what do you care?! Yeah! Party down! Continue to show the ultimate disrespect to your owner. Do something for him that could possibly bankrupt his entire investment and land him in jail. Go get yourself another shot of Patron, Mr. Manager! Do a shot with your bartender! Yeah! Follow it up with a Jagerbomb or two! Yeah! You’re the life of the part now, aren’t you?
I wish you knew my friend Charley.

- Bob Johnson, CBM




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