How To Deal with Difficult Bar Customers

Customer service is not easy. You will need to create a positive atmosphere to ensure that customers come back to you. However, the situation is somewhat more challenging when you are a bartender and are trying to deal with drunks. Apart from catering to their needs, you must be careful in ensuring their safety as serving them liquor automatically makes them your responsibility.

If an unwanted situation arises, a bartender will be held responsible. The liquor laws vary from state to state, but if a mishap occurs, the owner of the bar is usually held accountable. Therefore, you need to protect yourself from potential lawsuits and ensure that your staff is aware of the importance of dealing with such customers.


  • 1

    Your first task therefore is to understand your state laws. There are certain responsibilities which come with serving liquor and your staff must be aware of them. Although everyone has their own alcohol-consuming levels, there is no clear line of knowing when to stop. Therefore if you think that the customer is overly intoxicated, then don’t serve him any more drinks. With experience, you will obviously understand a customer’s state but try to take help from other staff members in order to deal with those who have entered the bar already drunk.

  • 2

    Know when to stop. That could be immediate if you feel that the customer has entered your bar intoxicated to begin with. If you serve him a drink, even just one, he becomes your responsibility. Your first task is to ensure that the customer does not get behind the wheels. Arrange a cab or tell someone else to give him a ride back home. If your customer is involved in an accident, then you will be held liable. Therefore be careful and never underestimate your customer’s state.

  • 3

    Preferably make some pre-hand arrangements. Designate a driver who will provide his services in such circumstances.  Keep the driver satisfied by serving him non-alcoholic drinks and other complimentary food. However, make sure that the customer doesn’t leave the bar with a stranger.

  • 4

    Contact your local police if the situation gets out of your control. Make sure to escort your customer safely outside your bar and leave the rest to the authorities. However, exercise this option only in unavoidable circumstances as it will leave a bad image on other customers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4 + = twelve