How to deal with drunk customers

Illinois BASSET
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Dealing with drunk customers is a crucial skill for anyone working in the hospitality industry, whether you're a bartender, server, or manager. The BASSET (Beverage Alcohol Sellers and Servers Education and Training) program is an excellent resource for equipping yourself with the knowledge and techniques needed to handle such situations effectively. In this article, we'll discuss how to best deal with drunk customers using the principles of BASSET alcohol training, differentiating between what is legally required and what is recommended.

5 points

1. Recognizing Signs of Intoxication

The first step in handling drunk customers is to recognize the signs of intoxication. These signs include slurred speech, impaired motor skills, aggressive behavior, and an inability to maintain eye contact. By law, you must refuse service to visibly intoxicated customers. It is also recommended to offer alternative non-alcoholic beverages or snacks to help them sober up.

2. Refusing Service Responsibly

Legally, you are required to refuse service to customers who are visibly intoxicated. Politely but firmly inform the customer that you cannot serve them any more alcohol. Offer alternative non-alcoholic beverages or snacks as a responsible measure. It's also recommended to document the refusal of service and notify a manager or supervisor.

3. Handling Aggressive Behavior

BASSET training emphasizes the importance of defusing confrontational situations without escalating them. By law, you should never tolerate aggressive behavior. Maintain a calm demeanor, use open body language, and call for assistance from security or a manager when necessary. It is also advisable to document any incidents and report them to your superiors.

4. Preventing Overconsumption

While it may not be a legal requirement in all jurisdictions, BASSET training promotes responsible alcohol service by encouraging you to monitor the consumption of your customers. Keep track of how much they've had to drink and consider offering water between alcoholic beverages as a recommended practice.

5. Know the Law

Understanding the legal implications of serving alcohol is vital. BASSET training covers the specific laws and regulations related to alcohol service in your state. This knowledge will help you make informed decisions and avoid legal trouble.

Examples of drunk customers...

The Overly Happy Drunk:

They may be loud and friendly but could become a nuisance to other patrons. Politely offer water or non-alcoholic drinks and monitor their consumption. By law, if they become visibly intoxicated, you must refuse service.

The Aggressive Drunk:

They may become confrontational or even violent. It is crucial to remain calm, call for assistance, and follow legal requirements by refusing service. Document the incident and report it to your superiors.

The Severely Drunk Patron:

In cases where a customer is severely intoxicated, unable to stand or speak coherently, it is both legally required and highly recommended to refuse service immediately. Call for a designated driver or a taxi to ensure their safe transportation.


Handling drunk customers with professionalism and empathy is a crucial skill for anyone working in the hospitality industry. BASSET alcohol training provides valuable insights and techniques to ensure the safety and well-being of customers and staff. Remember, this article is a guide and not legal advice. Laws and regulations may vary by location, so always consult with local authorities or legal experts for specific guidance. Avail of BASSET training on the Illinois website to further enhance your skills in responsibly serving alcohol. Additionally, consider adding a personal touch to your bar service with unique bar blades available on Amazon (Your Bar Blade, Your Personality. Search for yours now!). "CLICK HERE"
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