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Identify When Service May be Refused

Imagine you are serving drinks at the bar in a licensed restaurant when a customer walks in and orders for a drink. You notice that the customer is already unsteady on his feet and his speech is slurred. Do you think you should serve him the drink?

You may refuse the drink to the customer based on the fact that he is already intoxicated. When a customer in an already inebriated state enters licensed premises and orders a drink, you as an employee or the licensee, have the right to refuse the order while explaining the reason for your refusal.

If you spot a customer who started off sober but is steadily showing signs of intoxication, you can refuse to serve them any more drinks. Often customers do not like being refused service and may react adversely or even begin to pick a fight. In cases when a customer behaves badly or starts quarreling, the management, employee or licensee have the right to get the person physically removed off the premises. This means that if you notice any drunk customers who are making a nuisance of themselves or disturbing other customers, you are well within your rights to ask them to leave.

By law, it is an offense to serve, give or sell alcohol to a minor. Even if you allow a minor to be served liquor or permit a minor to consume alcohol you are guilty of the offense. Victoria is the only state that makes an exception to this law by allowing minors to consume alcohol if accompanied by a responsible adult and if they are drinking liquor as part of a meal. A ‘responsible adult’ may be defined as someone who is above 18 years of age and is related to the minor in some way. The adult could be the minor’s parent, step-parent, guardian, grandparent or even a spouse. This definition also includes a person acting on behalf of the parent, who will be able to supervise the child in a responsible manner.

On your part, while serving drinks, you should be careful if you suspect a customer is a minor. Ask for a valid proof of age, check the document and only then serve them. You need to be cautious simply because you will be committing an offense if you serve liquor to a minor either knowingly or unknowingly.

Practice Test: 

In which of these situations can you refuse service?

A. A customer enters your bar while drinking alcohol from a bottle
B. A customer asks for their seventh drink
C. A group of unaccompanied minors ask for a few drinks
D. A customer consumes a few drinks and starts quarrelling with other customers

Correct answers: A, C and D

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