Open-a-Bar.comArticles 15 Important Guest Signals and How to Respond to Them Articles

15 Important Guest Signals - Section Eight:
How to Deal with Awkward Guest Situations

8. "The Unwanted Guest"

More often than not, certain people, especially when under the influence of alcohol, have a tendency to show up when and where they're not wanted. The list of undesirables goes on and on; exes, drunken strangers, vagrants, personality mismatches that interject their uninvited beliefs on the world's issues into other guests' conversations and blah, blah. It never ends. Or does it?

A well-trained staffer can detect these situations before they escalate into anything more than a giggle and an exchange of amazed looks. Make it a habit to report the most serious incidents to a Manager immediately. Knowing how to diffuse an unusual situation is the difference between guests staying and having a good time or the police arriving ten minutes into the future.

Most importantly, there is never a need to take sides, even though the typical, normal reaction is to protect and stick up for the guests who are not the problem. Remember, they are ALL guests and should be treated as such. Stay out of the debate and encourage unwanted parties to disengage and move to other areas of the Bar or even pay their tabs and leave. Once a situation develops, it rarely resolves itself without a Manager's influence or another outside intervention.

For more serious incidents, it's best to ask problem and/or intoxicated guests to leave immediately as soon as their conduct becomes rude, profane or in violation of house policies. DO NOT OVERSERVE GUESTS and never serve an angry or drunk guest alcohol! Be firm and do not debate with a hostile patron. NEVER become physical or get baited into such a situation by threatening them or attempt to match wits and trade insults. This is totally unacceptable!

Additionally, be sure to never leave any feuding parties unattended, but be mindful of your personal safety and the well-being of your guests. If a situation ever escalates into violence or worse, make sure to CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY, reasonably secure the bar and cash as best as you can if possible WITHOUT endangering your own or your guests' safety then GET TO A SAFE PLACE quickly! NO decent Owner will persecute an employee who looks out for their own safety or the that of their guests! Cash, inventory and possessions can be replaced, people's welfare CANNOT. Security cameras come in handy here and have even been known to deter such escalations.

BEAR IN MIND, Managers are well-trained in diffusing many types of difficult situations. But keep in mind, the first step is to always get the manager on duty involved as quickly as you can. Brief him or her on the matter in private away from other guests and employees. Support the Manager's decisions and resolutions and assist as directed. How you conduct yourself in this situation will directly effect the outcome for everyone involved.

NEXT: Section 9 - "The Litterbug"

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