What is the best way to refuse alcohol service?

Refusal of service
Why you must refuse alcohol service?

Ian recently visited our long time clients Pormpuraaw United Brothers Sports club to assist them with their liquor training needs including refreshing their team on how to refuse service of alcohol. Which is one of the fundamentals of our Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) course and of any RSA worker in Australia who has duties of serving, selling or supplying liquor. As throughout your job you will face with demonstrating refusal of alcohol service due to a variety of factors:

  • continuing service may be an offence under specific State or Territory liquor acts – The law requires it!
  • customer is showing signs of being unduly intoxicated
  • safety of the customer
  • the safety of other customers and staff
  • civil liability risks – the licensee may be held responsible if an unduly intoxicated customer endangers their life or the lives of others
Tips to use when refusing service

The ‘Do’s’ of refusing service to a customer.

  • Obtain agreement from your supervisor and notify security, if available before speaking to the customer
  • Always be polite and avoid value judgements
  • Point to posters or signage displayed to reinforce your decision i.e. ‘No More It’s the Law’ poster
  • Explain the reason for refusal of service i.e. continued bad language
  • Offer (if appropriate) non-alcoholic beverage or to phone a taxi or a friend to drive them home – it is harder for the customer to get angry if you are offering to do something for them
  • Report the refusal of service to your manager or supervisor
  • Make sure the customer leaves the premises safely, check they are not hanging around outside
  • Enter your refusal of service in your log book or incident register, especially if the refusal involved threats or aggression

One of the best things you can do is to practice beforehand what you would say and how you would say it so you will feel more confident in delivering the refusal when the time comes and you need to do it for real.

That’s why when Ian was in Pormpuraaw he asked everyone to take turns in being the customer and the staff member in role plays. This way everyone could get familiar of what they were going to say and how they would say it, plus get to practice in safe environment when dealing with a customer who is complaining or disputing the refusal.

In our online RSA course we have developed the course to allow for verbal demonstrations of the three different scenarios of refusal of service that you might face whilst at your workplace. You can submit the verbal demonstrations via ZAC’s online recording tool similar to voice mail ring our special number and record your responses. This allows our learners to become empowered as a RSA worker and have the tools to bring into the workplace. 

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