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How to keep your guests merry this festive season

Posted by Mike Walmsley on Dec 16, 2020 4:40:58 AM
Mike Walmsley

In 2020, for obvious reasons, the festive season is playing out a little differently than usual. But social distancing or not, there is one mainstay of the holidays that even a pandemic can't stop - guests getting a little carried away with boozy celebrations. 

Understanding what to do if things start to get out of hand can not only prevent accidents from happening within your business, but also ensure the safety of your guests and staff for the entirety of the night.

keep guests merry

Throughout many jurisdictions, the responsibility is on you - the food and beverage professionals. It will be your duty to monitor guests’ beverage intake, food consumption and behavior. This is most likely a task you regularly find yourself doing on your shift, but, during the festive season it’s best to be vigilant and aware every step of the way.

Here are some tips and things to watch out for to help your customers have a good time and avoid conflicts or safety concerns this Festive Season.


1. Chat and connect with guests

Your main priority is serving your guests and keeping them happy which means being aware of what they are drinking, eating and how they are behaving.If a guest becomes loud and aggressive or sullen and quiet, these could be signs of potential over service. If you are concerned be sure to inform another member of staff or your manager so that they are aware of the situation.

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2. Stick to prescribed drink recipes and quantities

If your staff are serving alcohol they must of course be accredited with the relevant responsible service of alcohol certification, but the festive season is a great time to refresh you staff’s knowledge.

Ensure you and your staff are aware of what one standard drink is. In the United States, one ‘standard’ drink contains roughly 14 grams of pure alcohol, while in Australia a ‘standard’ drink contains 10 grams of alcohol and in the UK it's just 8 grams.

If you are not sure your staff are aware or up to date on the local rules and regulations regarding on beverage service, it could be time for a training update such as Typsy’s Gin Cocktail course.

Also, have non-alcoholic drinks on offer as well as plenty of water. This provides your guests with other options throughout the stay with you.


3. Offer complimentary snacks and accompaniments

Have an inexpensive food menu handy to help encourage customers order snacks with their drinks. In fact, studieshave shown that without food in the stomach alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream quicker causing an increase in blood alcohol concentration and loss of control.

If your guests aren’t ordering food or are holding off on food for a while, try slowing down the service a bit. By casually avoiding a customer’s table it can delay them from ordering more drinks and decrease the intake of beverages.


If a customer has become intoxicated

If you find that a customer has become intoxicated there are a few actions, you can take:

  1. Calmly approach the guest who appears to be intoxicated
  2. Inform the guest you will no longer be serving them alcohol. Explain the laws around serving alcohol and show them relevant signs around your venue that explain further
  3. Listen and be empathetic with your guest
  4. If appropriate, offer non-alcoholic beverages during the rest of their stay
  5. Ensure you inform your manager and the rest of the staff on shift that the guest is intoxicated and shouldn’t be served alcoholic drinks
  6. If the guest is in a state where they are not able to stay at your venue, offer to phone a taxi or friend to take them home
  7. If the situation becomes violent or the guest becomes aggressive, call the police for help


Working over the festive season doesn’t mean you have to be stressed out or miss out on the fun. But it is important to be aware of what is happening while you are on shift to avoid any mishaps or overly excited guests. Just remember to be vigilant and professional at all times and wear the brightest holiday accessory you can - a smile.


Mike Walmssley_blog Mike Walmsley, is the author of '69 Tips For Better Food & Beverage Profit'Stay tuned for the next book in the series, '101 More Tips For Better Food & Beverage Profit'.


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Topics: Hospitality managers, Hospitality staff