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Is Drinking Responsibly a New Trend?

Posted on July 18, 2006

By Arlene Sheff

Many years ago, I attended an attorney’s presentation. His message left a lasting impression on me and I try to incorporate it into my ‘Food and Beverage’ or ‘Problem-free Meetings’ presentations. He asked the meeting planners in the audience…’when your organization is being sued and they put you on the stand, will you be able to prove that you did everything in your power to protect your organization and your attendees?’ Sounds scary, doesn’t it…but oh, so true.

What effort are you putting forth to protect your attendees and limit the liability of your organization?

Here are 10 steps you might take when serving alcoholic beverages. Some of these suggestions might even save you money.

1. Provide pre-meeting information outlining guidelines for drinking responsibly.
2. Serve only beer and wine.
3. Provide sufficient food (avoid salty snacks) and complimentary non-alcoholic beverages.
4. Provide drink tickets to control consumption.
5. Include a dual indemnification clause in your contract.
6. Instruct bartenders not to serve anyone who appears to be intoxicated
7. No self-service - ALWAYS hire a bartender, even in hospitality suites. 
8. Cut 15 minutes off your cocktail party – no one will notice and you’ll even save $$$.
9. Close bars prior to the end of the event. Do not announce a ‘last call.’
10. As a precaution, pre-arrange taxi service and hotel accommodations.

What steps have you taken lately on this subject?


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