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Reducing alcohol harms in the hospitality sector

Reducing alcohol harms in the hospitality sector

By Elaine Hindal, Chief Executive, Drinkaware

Last December, Drinkaware became a partner in a new initiative in Nottingham to keep young revellers safe on nights out. The ‘Stay with Your Pack’ scheme, which runs throughout 2018, involves the largest-ever training programme for bar and door staff, including McDonald’s outlets and Nottingham BID taxi marshals as well as pubs, clubs and bars.

Visiting Nottingham for the launch, I was impressed by the responsible approach shown by operators in the city’s nighttime economy. They are making great efforts to help their customers to moderate their alcohol consumption and support those who become vulnerable after drinking too much.

To support these venues, Drinkaware has developed two tools: Drinkaware Crew training, for bars and clubs with a 500+ capacity and, for smaller sites, an Alcohol Vulnerability Awareness e-learning course.

Drinkaware Crew are additional members of the venue’s staff team who are specially trained to support young people who may be vulnerable. They now operate in 17 areas and clubs and bars who have introduced them are unfailingly positive about their impact, reporting that they help to improve the safety and wellbeing of customers, as well as freeing up time for other venue staff.

For smaller venues, the Drinkaware Alcohol Vulnerability Awareness e-learning course gives customer-facing staff the same skills and knowledge that underpin the training for Drinkaware Crew. It includes scenarios with different types of vulnerable customers to illustrate how staff should respond to them and asks questions after each of the three modules.

Operators can also take steps to create an environment where customers are better able to moderate their alcohol consumption, by implementing a few simple measures:

• Stock a good selection of soft drinks for customers who choose not to drink alcohol and to encourage people to swap an alcoholic drink for a soft one during the course of the evening.

• Include no or low alcohol options on your drinks list. Drinks that are low in alcohol don’t have to be low on taste and many brewers, for example, have focused on the lower alcohol sector lately, producing flavourful beers that are alcohol-free or lower ABV.

• Food slows the absorption of alcohol, so serve food for the same hours as you serve drinks, or as close as possible.

• Make it clear to customers that you will not serve alcohol to anyone who is drunk, or who is attempting to buy alcohol for a drunken friend. Drinkaware has produced two posters to help communicate this to customers – ‘Can’t Get Served’ and ‘Mate’s in a State’, both of which can be downloaded from the Drinkaware website here
The vast majority of hospitality operators share our aim of minimising alcohol related harms and many are among our 100+ funders. We’re grateful for their continued support, which is vital in helping us all to reduce harm from alcohol misuse.”