Whether you work in a bar, restaurant, or convenience store, your business relies on people that make repeat visits, your regular customers.
Regular customers can mean income, sales, and even big tips, but having that connection with a customer can sometimes make it more difficult to follow and enforce responsible selling and serving policies.
Responsible serving practices apply to all customers, including regulars and friends. Here are some tips to make following those polices and practices a little easier:
- Practice responsible serving® and selling, every time - Know your establishment policies and your local and state laws. If customers are treated fairly and consistently each time they come in, they'll know that you don't serve minors, over-serve or sell during times when sales are illegal.
- Avoid the temptation to let something slide "just once" - whether a big tipper brings his underage nephew to the bar or your favorite customer has had a little bit too much to drink and is about to drive, don't convince yourself that it's okay if it just happens once. If you break the law you could face termination and fines, your employer could be fined and lose their liquor license, and someone could get hurt. Also, bending the rules once will make it that much harder to enforce them in the future.
- Like all customers, treat regulars politely and respectfully - Use the skills you learned from your responsible serving® course, including focusing on your responsibilities and the laws, speaking clearly and directly to the customer without drawing additional attention to the situation, and getting assistance from management when necessary.
- Give customers the benefit of the doubt - they may be having a bad day or have something else going on that's bothering them. One issue doesn't need to negatively impact the relationship that you have with them. However, be willing to address any issues with customers who are consistently rude, disruptive or damaging to you and your workplace with management.
- Know that following the law is more important than any customer's business. Do not break the law, break the rules, risk your job, or risk the health and safety of others for any customer.
- The most important thing you can give your regular customers is your attention, hard work, and the very best customer service. Pair responsible serving® with a smile and a listening ear, and you'll have them coming back for more.
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