The Restaurant

The Restaurant
Formal Dining

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Server Education: Signs of Intoxication

So, earlier we talked about Liquor Liability but now we need to discuss how to identify an individual that has had too much to drink. Many of us can spot a drunk individual from a mile away, but some of the newer people cannot. There are some indicators like knocking something over, but remember just because someone knocks something over doesn't mean they are drunk. Avoid telling someone who has spilled some beer on themself after a single beer that they appear drunk (unless they really do). Here are a few clues:
  • Slurred speach
  • Impaired fine motor skills (drops money, backwards cigarette, knocks over glass, spills)
  • Impaired movements (can't walk, falls out of chair, trips)
  • Mood swings (came in quiet then gets loud, or comes in loud then gets quiet)
  • Extremely tired or falls asleep
  • Overly friendly or agressive
  • Complains drink isn't strong enough/orders higher alcohol drinks
  • Smells like alcohol
These are all good indicators. Often times it is difficult to tell if someone is drunk by first or second glance, but the change in the person is the biggest clue. Just because someone comes in making a ton of noise and yelling and getting everyone's phone number doesn't mean they are drunk, but if shortly there after they go sit alone and drink all by themself it may be an indicator. Almost anyone who has been drinking for some time will develope a tolerance to the side effects or the obvious indicators of intoxication.

WARNING signs:
  • Passes out
  • Throws up
Anyone that passes out or throws up has probably been over served and then some! This is potentially a very dangerous situation. Do not let them leave! Call a cab or designated driver (that has not been drinking at all). Watch for these signs all the time.

Story from the Front Lines
I went out with probably fifteen other employees once, we were all having a good time. We had ordered a few drinks, and one of the ladies in our group was having to go to the restroom constantly. She would take her purse (normal for most ladies) and she explained that while she trusted us, she never left her drink unattended, so she took her glass of vodka with her. Soon we realized that she was filling her glass with vodka from a bottle in her purse. I had to take her home that night and she had dropped her bottle of vodka in my car (when she sprawled out in my backseat!) I walked her to her house, had to unlock her door as she couldn't get the key in, and then she passed out on the sofa. Upon doing some calculations she enjoyed 2 drinks from the restaurant and then emptied a 375ml bottle of vodka all within about two to three hours, I figured she had about 7-9 standardized drinks in her system (aka totally useless hammered). So, even if the waitstaff only served her the 2 drinks she really drank much, much more than that.
A photo from that night out. The woman from the story isn't pictured. I am the one with the wine.

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