Sticky Note

Should Employees Be Allowed To Drink Where They Work

If you own or manage a restaurant that serves alcoholic beverages, there are two questions that you should be asking yourself.

  1. Should I allow my employees to have a shift drink?
  2. Should I allow my employees to drink in the restaurant while not on duty?

Many restaurants adopt the concept that allows employees to do just that.  I’m guessing that they feel as though this builds moral and unifies the team.  This notion is certainly true.  The team members begin to hang out at work, get to know each other much better, bringing them together as a team of friends.

I would like to share with our readers what team 101 has learned collectively over our many years of experience on this matter.  If you have the policy in place that allows one or both of these practices, chances are pretty high that you are having issues in the following categories:


When you allow your employees to drink in your restaurant problems begin to arise that you cannot control.  The employees will take full advantage of the situation between the bartender and themselves by pressuring their “friends” to serve them free drinks.  There are times when the pressure doesn’t even have to occur because the bartender knows when they give free drinks away to the employees, “their friends”,  they will get a huge tip.  The employees benefit because the huge tip ends up being much less than the 5 free drinks they received. Your alcohol cost goes through the roof, and it seems as though nobody is the wiser.

When your employees build this tight friendship through time spent drinking together in your restaurant, they start coming up with great ideas on how to better themselves, such as stealing liquor after closing down so that they can continue the party elsewhere.  After all, no one thought to go to the liquor store before they got drunk in your establishment.

We have fired many bartenders for giving away free alcohol to employees, and for stealing bottles of liquor.  Not only do you have to fire the bartender, but you have to let go of the server as well.  If the drinking policy never exists, your alcohol cost and turnover will be much lower.

We have also learned through lower repeat guest counts and guest complaints that it is just not a good idea to implement a policy that allows team members to drink off duty.    Guests never want to see the person that is going to be serving them drinking, getting loud and possibly saying or doing something that might offend them.  If a new or even a regular guest sees something that offends them they will certainly not return.

In the end we all agree that employee drinking never increases sales, but decreases sales, and that it is best that the team members take their drinking elsewhere.

See also:  12 Tips To Prevent Bar Theft


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