Your Hawaii liquor license is an important piece of your business plan. Your ability to turn a profit may even depend on it. But getting a license is only part of the deal—you have to protect it, too.
The island’s liquor commission enforces the laws around selling alcohol for consumption. They actively check for compliance around the state. They may make inspections or be undercover. You don’t always know when they are checking you out.
Breaking the rules can result in a warning, a large fine, or even losing the liquor license! On top of that, you are open to a lot more liability if an accident happens to one of your customers.
But if you know what to look for, and how to protect yourself, you can minimize your risk. Let’s start by taking a look at the common ways establishments get into trouble.
Many things can happen that affect your license. But the majority of compliance issues fall under three situations.
It’s almost a rite of passage for teens to try to sneak some drinks for themselves. Unfortunately for you, you can get into real trouble if they succeed.
Some parents think that as long as their kids are with them, it’s okay for their underage children to have alcohol. It’s not true. The laws don’t provide any exceptions to underage consumption, even if mom and dad are there.
Events, too, can be a challenge. All ages events that offer alcohol have to have a foolproof system separating those who are old enough to drink from those who aren’t. If an underage person manages to cheat your system, you’re still on the hook!
Being able to identify and avoid serving minors goes beyond checking IDs as those can be faked. Be aware the Liquor Commission hires underage people to go into establishments to see if they can get served and then report the business if they do.
When it comes to protecting your liquor license, people under the age of 21 present your greatest risk.
A liquor license comes with a set of conditions. These include where you can sell and where people can consume drinks. In Hawaii, the sidewalks, streets, and beaches are off-limits. Even if you have a beautiful Lanai that overlooks the ocean, any patrons who take a drink onto the beach are putting your license in jeopardy.
It’s important to keep a close eye on your customers. If you are hosting an event at a venue, there may be important rules to follow about which areas of the property people are allowed to have alcohol. Family-friendly and nonalcoholic sections need to be supervised and enforced. This will make your customers who use those areas happy and reduce your risk.
See that drunk guy in the corner? He’s a threat to your business! Serving someone to the point of intoxication, or serving a customer who has already had too much is a big no-no.
The regulations in Hawaii state that once someone has been identified as intoxicated, they must leave the premises. Your staff has to watch over your customers and make a judgment call when they believe someone has had enough.
You should also be aware that anyone who has been drinking at your property is a potential liability when an accident happens. Lawsuits tend to cast a wide net. If the accident victim can tie your establishment into the chain of events, you will probably find yourself in court.
A good way to mitigate this risk is to have clear policies for your staff on serving and documentation that they are being followed. Not everyone looks “drunk” when they are intoxicated, and knowing the subtle signs can be the difference between a happy customer and a lawsuit.
Here are five ways to tell if someone is drunk, even if they don’t look like it.
Training your staff is important. They are your first line of defense in protecting your liquor license. But it’s good to have a second set of eyes. A professional security company can help protect your license in four specific ways.
A properly trained security professional can help your staff with age verification. They could be stationed at the door, near the serving area, or even moving around the property.
They look for anyone trying to beat the system. Fake IDs are a big part of that challenge, too. The techniques used to create counterfeit IDs can fill a small book. Knowing what to look for can be the difference between a nice night of business and being fined for a violation of the regulations.
We’re back to the “drunk guy in the corner” again.
Your staff must remove intoxicated patrons. This can be very unpleasant for your workers. When customers are asked to leave, this often results in a confrontation which can sour the mood in your establishment and even put your staff in danger.
Professionally trained security can handle this for your wait staff if you work it into the protection plan. If stationed near the door, they can stop intoxicated people from even being on the premises. If a problem does occur inside your establishment, security will deal with it and keep your staff safe.
You will want to look for a security service that emphasizes de-escalation techniques but also provides specific training for working with intoxicated people. No one enjoys an encounter like this, and you will want the best chance to have it handled quietly.
You want lots of energy and people at your business. More people having more fun is a recipe for a good night at the till. This can make it hard for your serving staff to keep track of everyone.
Take a look at your liquor license and make note of any places that people shouldn’t be if they have a drink in their hand. Brief your onsite security professionals and let them take on the primary responsibility for watching the boundaries.
This lets your wait staff focus on making your customers happy. And happy customers are good for business.
The best way to work with security is to have open communication. A reputable security service will work with you to create a site plan. They will walk through your property or venue, discuss what you need, and make notes of areas that need special attention.
Make discussing your liquor license a part of that walkthrough. Being on the same page and defining what duties your security professional is expected to perform on-site will make a difference you will notice.
For event venues and other establishments in Hawaii, KT Protection Services understands how important your liquor license is. It’s a vital part of your business plan.
When we provide a security professional, you can be assured that they have undergone a unique training program. We also have two ID specialists on staff who provide enhanced training and solutions for your needs.
Finding an experienced and reliable partner is important, too. Our ownership group has over 60 years of experience in the security industry. When we come to do the walkthrough and create your security plan, you can rest assured that it will be comprehensive and address your risks.
We’re local to Hawaii, and we want to see our communities thrive. Helping to keep your establishment out of lawsuits or from paying fines benefits the places we live and play.
Check us out today and give us a call when you’re ready to talk.