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More on TABC Guidelines

September 15, 2000

As stated in the June 2000 issue of Food & Service News (FSN), the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) has established new rules for responsible alcohol service, which go into effect September 1, 2000.

Operators should be aware of four major changes in the new rules:
* the immediate supervisors of the seller/server must be trained
* employees can lose certification if they sell to a minor or an intoxicated person
* written alcohol service policies must be posted and explained to employees
* establishments that have two or more violations in 12 months must have their employees certified

Operators can be proactive to insure they comply with the new rules by requiring that all employees read and sign a copy of their alcohol service policy and by creating a chart to document the training of all servers and their immediate supervisors. Included here is a sample Alcohol Service Policy, which provides helpful guidelines.


It is the Company’s policy that no minor or intoxicated person shall be served alcoholic beverages. Employees who willfully violate this policy will be terminated immediately. Any employee who negligently serves a minor or an intoxicated person will be counseled on proper service technique and will be terminated on the second violation of this policy.

Employees must card anyone ordering an alcoholic beverage who does not appear to be well over the age of 27. When attempting to illegally purchase alcohol, minors usually exhibit behavior that should be easily identifiable by the astute server or seller. As with anyone who is attempting a dishonest act, minors may: appear anxious or nervous; stutter, stammer or confuse their words; avoid eye contact with the seller; appear overly or inappropriately friendly, confident, boisterous or outgoing.

When serving alcohol to our customers, you should take reasonable precautions. Taking steps to prevent alcohol abuse in our establishment can help protect the public from harm, and keep you from being named in a liquor liability suit.

As an alcohol server, you should know the laws and regulations concerning the serving and consumption of alcohol within a licensed premise. Serving under aged and intoxicated persons is unlawful and can have criminal penalties. Furthermore if an intoxicated person, after leaving our establishment, should be involved in an accident the injured parties may file a lawsuit against you.

Follow some simple guidelines when serving alcohol and prevent this from happening to you. Serve on drink at a time; never bring two or three drinks at once to a single person.

One method for safe alcohol service follows the same basic sequence of a traffic signal. The levels of intoxication are organized into the red, yellow and green colors.
* GREEN = GO. Everything seems normal, it is OK for this customer to drink at a safe pace.
* YELLOW = CAUTION The customer is showing signs that the alcohol is beginning to affect them.
* RED = STOP The customer is obviously intoxicated and no alcohol should be served.

If you observe a customer reaching the YELLOW level, you need to take steps so they don’t reach the RED level. The following are some steps you may take when a customer is in the YELLOW zone:
* Refill their glass at a slower rate.
* Offer or suggest the sale of protein food or appetizers. Do not offer coffee or other caffeinated drink; this may cover the true extent of the patron’s intoxication.
* Suggest low alcohol content or filling drinks such as ice cream drinks.
* Serve water or fruit juices with all straight drinks.

Despite all your good efforts, a customer may become intoxicated and should not be served additional alcohol. When a customer reaches the RED level, every effort should be made to stop alcohol service. Here are some suggestions to use when “cutting off” a customer:
* Avoid a confrontation.
* Do not attempt any physical confrontation.
* Make the manager and all personnel aware of the problem.
* Bring menus to the table or casually suggest an appetizer.
* Suggest an alternative form of transportation. If the patron insist on driving report this to your supervisor at once.

Source: Texas Restaurant Association

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