Dram Shop Law: Can Bars Be Held Legally Responsible for Drunk Driving Accidents?
Drunk driving is responsible for nearly one-third of all traffic fatalities worldwide. In the vast majority of drunk driving accidents, the driver is found intoxicated with a blood alcohol content (BAC) above the legal limit. To protect the general public, many countries, including the United States and Canada, have enacted dram shop laws that prohibit alcohol-serving establishments like bars, restaurants, taverns and retail stores from serving or selling alcohol to intoxicated customers or minors who may later cause death, injury or property damage to others. Under the law, victims and their families have the right to sue negligent alcohol-serving establishments and their employees for compensation for injuries, medical expenses, damages or wrongful death caused by an intoxicated person. Before we get into the meat of the issue, let’s go over some basic information on dram shop legislation. Any establishment that serves or sells alcohol, such as bars, taverns, restaurants or retail outlets, is referred to as a “dram shop. “Dram shop cases are divided into two types: first-party dram shop cases and third-party dram shop cases. A first-party dram shop case is one in which an intoxicated customer injures himself and sues the bar for over-serving alcohol. When adults file first-party dram shop cases, they are almost never accepted and if they are, they are extremely difficult to win because the judiciary believes that individuals must drink responsibly and accept personal responsibility for their own actions.”
Bars, Restaurants Caught Between Inflation, Supply Crisis and Labor Crunch
As revival ‘runs its course. Restaurant operators and workers across the U.S. are struggling to rebound from the pandemic, and are battered by a lack of staff, skyrocketing prices and supply shortages. Paula Tejeda is one of them. Even after mass vaccinations, customer traffic is “still very shaky,” Tejeda, the owner and founder of Chile Lindo, a deli and coffee shop in San Francisco, said in an interview with Yahoo Finance. “The hospitality business, which is restaurants, small coffee shops and bars, are not back. We do not have enough foot traffic,” the business owner added. The worldwide outbreak delivered a massive shock to the restaurant industry — which now employs one million fewer workers than in 2019 and has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels. Meanwhile, COVID-19 infections are threatening a new surge ahead of the winter: on Friday, news that Austria would reimpose a broad lockdown rattled investors, and fanned concerns about how the U.S. might be impacted if cases spike. For the leisure industry, the recovery has been anything but smooth. Restaurant and bar sales were flat in October versus a month earlier, according to the Commerce Department’s latest retail sales data.
The Future of Restaurants Looks a Lot Like E-Commerce
It’s time to reimagine our digital stacks for the future. For restaurants, a generalized national worker shortage amid demands for more pay is dampening what may otherwise have been a booming return to in-person dining. It’s just the latest challenge along a long and bumpy road for foodservice in the last year and a half. But there is a silver lining: while labor pools showcase one of the main ways the pandemic is not over, soaring demand for in-person dining showcases one of the main ways it is. And with that surging demand, regardless of staffing, comes the opportunity to capitalize. Nowhere is this truer than in the use of digital tools. In a rush to survive the pandemic, restaurants adopted digital tools at an incredible rate. They learned delivery programs and curbside pickup, to-go and third party. And now that we’ve arrived in this first summer of a post-pandemic economy, with its rich consumer demand, the time has come to turn those tools from the defensive positions we fortified to keep our restaurants alive during COVID and retool them as offensive weapons built to expand our share of revenue. So how do we reimagine our digital stacks for the future? By starting to think (and behave) more like e-commerce companies.
Restaurant Gift Cards are the Holiday Present
Everyone will devour. Shoppers worried about finding the perfect gifts that won’t get delayed in transit should stock up on restaurant gift cards because according to new research from the National Restaurant Association, more than 60% of people are hoping to receive a restaurant gift card this holiday season. “Whether they want to eat out or order in, gift cards will work for everyone on your list; you can get them in any amount and technology makes them easy to share so you never have to worry about them being late or getting lost,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of Research for the National Restaurant Association. “People may be reluctant to give a gift card because they feel they’re too impersonal, but what you’re giving is the flexibility and opportunity for them to choose what they want. Plus, they’re a great option if you’re looking to give an experience rather than a material item.” While you’re making your shopping lists over the next few weeks, keep these numbers in mind:
- 62% of adults would like to like to receive a restaurant gift card
- 62% those people would prefer one for their favorite restaurant
- 20% want to try a new spot
- 18% want to try a place they would never pick on their own.
Bad Yelp Review?
Here’s how to respond. Customer service starts the moment someone walks into your establishment. If your greeter fails to acknowledge the guest with a smile, that’s the start of a downward spiral that’s hard to reverse. Very often the greeter or host is doing many things (delivering drink orders, bussing tables), but the one thing they’re not doing is their main job which also happens to be the most important job in the restaurant! The minute the customer has to speak first, you are on the defensive and in the position of trying to win them back throughout their entire experience in the restaurant. Let’s say you, your kitchen and waitstaff have an off night. It’s happening more and more because of the difficulty restaurant owners and managers are experiencing hiring and training staff. But like I said, the honeymoon is over. And the next day there’s a scathing Yelp review complaining about your customer service, the quality of food or both.
Implement Compelling Marketing Ideas
To drive traffic and boost sales. While the past two years have been a challenging time in the restaurant industry, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for restaurant owners. Falling Covid-19 numbers and the lifting of mask mandates in many cities is helping give restaurateurs hope for increased traffic this holiday season. However, restaurant operators are now encountering a new set of challenges. Supply chain issues, high food costs, and labor shortages are cutting profits at restaurants nationwide, the National Restaurant Association reported. At least 95 percent of operators said their restaurant experienced supply delays or shortages of key food or beverage items in recent months, according to a September survey of 4,000 restaurant operators. Supply shortages have also resulted in operators having to change their menus on the fly. Additionally, 91 percent of restaurateurs said their total food costs are higher than they were prior to the pandemic. Finding reliable staff is also a challenge. With all the challenges on your plate, implementing a robust marketing plan might not be on your radar. However, taking steps to increase your loyal customer base will ensure your restaurant flourishes during this difficult season. Here are a few unique marketing ideas designed to boost customer traffic and develop loyal customers.
Want To Get Through the Labor Shortage?
Get creative. Jim Balis, managing director of strategic operations for the investment firm CapitalSpring, has been in the restaurant business since he was 14. Like many experienced operators, he’s never quite seen anything like the dual labor and supply chain challenges currently facing the industry. “If somebody would have told me a year ago that 2021 would be more difficult than 2020, I would have told them they were crazy, but here we are,” he said on a recent episode of the RB podcast “A Deeper Dive.” “It’s a tough situation between staffing challenges, prices for commodities, supply chain shortages, trying to build new stores when you can’t get walk-in equipment. It’s very difficult.” Overcoming these challenges, he said, takes creativity, especially on the labor side. Consider, for instance, cryptocurrency.
Hi Neighbor Restaurant Group Used an Incubator Series
To help its furloughed chefs create their own restaurants. Hi Neighbor faced a difficult decision during the pandemic: How could it care for its furloughed workers while also sustaining business? Its solution was to launch the Hi Neighbor Incubator Series, which allowed furloughed chefs and bartenders to start their own virtual brands in San Francisco. The idea sprung from Hi Neighbor’s own furloughed chefs in the early days of the pandemic, when dining was closed in California. Hi Neighbor partner Ryan Cole (the group is also led by partners Tai Ricci and Jason Halverson) decided to help his furloughed workers by creating a program using the kitchen space at Hi Neighbor concepts Trestle, Corridor and The Vault Garden. During this program, chefs were provided the space free of charge and fronted initial ingredients, then split all profits among themselves. The chefs were tasked with creating a menu and logo for their concepts.
NYC Restaurants Get One Step Closer
To firing up propane heaters again. NYC restaurants should be able to legally reignite last year’s propane heaters after all, at least according to one local politician. Council member Keith Powers, who represents areas of Manhattan including the Upper East Side, Times Square, and Murray Hill, recently introduced legislation to the City Council in late November that, if passed, would reinstate propane heater usage for outdoor dining. “Throughout the pandemic, outdoor dining has been one of the most successful and innovative measures to support local restaurants and allow New Yorkers to safely socialize with one another,” Powers said in a statement. “The use of propane heaters has played a quintessential role in that success, particularly during the colder months. With winter on the horizon, COVID-19 cases increasing, and restaurants still desperately in need of support, this legislation will ensure the survival of local eateries, strengthen small businesses, and keep New Yorkers safe.”
Did You Know?
Best practices for portable heater safety. The demand for outdoor patio heaters has increased significantly since the onset of the pandemic—and this trend is expected to continue. Because propane is a leading fuel choice for outdoor heating products, the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) created a portable heater safety fact sheet to educate consumers and keep them safe during the colder months. Outdoor propane heaters work by different methods and emit heat by convection, forced air, or through infrared heating. They also vary in capacity, output adjustability, size, and capability to heat areas of differing square footage. Whether being used by homeowners to enhance their backyard patio or by restaurants and hospitality venues to expand their outdoor spaces, safety is of the utmost importance.
Restaurant Managers: Do you know the difference between being strict & being mean? The restaurant industry has hit many roadblocks lately. The latest bump in the road is staffing. Many restaurants are struggling to find staff, much less keep them. Adding to that, the people who are willing to work in our industry don’t have the experience we’d like for them to have, which is leading to frustration, tension, and disappointment. How many times have you gotten so frustrated with your team not doing what they are supposed to that you literally just wanted to scream, “That’s it! No more playing Mr. Nice Guy (or gal).
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PRICE REDUCED – MIDDLESEX COUNTY TAVERN – ASSET SALE
Buddies Tavern and Banquet Hall has been a staple in the Sayreville/Parlin community for 2 generations. The building unfortunately had a fire and needs renovation. The sale consists of an approximately 4,100 square foot building, a liquor license and a 3 bedroom/1 bath house. This is a perfect value-added investment for the right buyer.
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For more information contact Dan Lynch, Bielat Santore & Company, 973-886-4411
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