Every so often, you’re going to get a patron that has had way too much to drink and just doesn’t know when enough is enough. Sure, you can do your best to spot potential problems before they blow up into a full out fiasco. However, sometimes that’s easier said than done; especially in a busy and crowded venue. Most people who enter the bar and nightclub industry are aware of the potential hassles associated with conducting business before their doors ever open. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s any easier to deal with. Fortunately, learning how to refuse service to an unruly patron with both speed and class to interrupt your other customers as little as possible.

Identifying the Problem

The first thing you need to do is to spot potential problems in the first place. Properly train your bartenders and servers to know when someone is reaching that point of too intoxicated. Immediately, you can reduce the frequency that you have to take more drastic action. If a person is getting close to their limit, you can take your time serving them to try to let the problem work itself out. If you have to cut someone off from drinking, it’s a lot easier to do if they aren’t already way over the limit.

Image of a Bartender Using a POS SystemOptionally, many bar and nightclub owners are choosing to integrate monitoring software into their POS systems. This gives their employees the upper hand. After a certain number of drinks are served to a particular table or patron, you are signaled the next time you ring in a drink order that they are at a “checkpoint”. The bartender, a server, or the floor manager should stop by the table for a “meet and greet” to verify that everything is still good and they can continue enjoying your bar or nightclub without any problems. Usually, this trigger would occur after a table orders bottle service as well.

Dealing with the Problem

Lets assume you’ve done everything you possibly can to prevent your patrons from getting way too drunk. However, somebody has slipped through the cracks and is making it difficult for the rest of your customers to have fun. Don’t panic; this is why you create a plan for how to refuse service ahead of time. Whoever is delegated as the head of security should head over to the table. Many bars and nightclubs have a bouncer on staff on busy nights for this very reason! However, often times this responsibility falls onto the floor manager.

Your best option is to approach the table and ask the person causing trouble to step away and have a word with you. They are much more likely to cooperate if they’re away from their friends; plus it is a less intimidating atmosphere. Make sure you wait for the right moment; you don’t want to do it in the middle of their bottle sparkler show or while they are singing “happy birthday”. Simply ask them to leave, and hopefully they’ll oblige. If not, you can tell them that the police will be called to them off the premises. Also, it’s a good idea to have a server or bartender observing your interaction. Additionally, have a hand signal ready if there’s too much trouble when refusing service. If all else fails, call in the police for reinforcements.

What We’ve Learned About How to Refuse Service

Be sure to stand your ground and keep= your other guests safe and entertained. That way, you can make the experience at your bar or nightclub much better. It’s not always fun and sometimes you don’t want to deal with it these types of issues. However, you should never let one bad apple spoil the fun for every other paying customer. By knowing how to refuse service the easy way, you can get back to business.