If you own a bar or nightclub, you count on lively patrons to help make a fun atmosphere for everyone. Still, there is a fine line, and when you combine alcohol, egos, and lively crowds, people sometimes get hurt. As a bar owner, you have to deal with the fallout from injuries and fights, including lawsuits. Avoiding problems is always the best approach, to keep the incidents to a minimum and keep your club going strong. Bringing in outside nightclub consultants as a fresh set of eyes can go a long way to reducing and possibly eliminating the potential for some kinds of lawsuits.
Legal Problems You Can Expect
Today more than ever, gun violence can come anywhere. After a shooting in a nightclub, you can expect to see mourning quickly followed by questions. What could have been done to prevent what happened? Who is to blame? Almost inevitably, this turns to pointing fingers at the club and its owners.
Even without guns involved, a crowded club with alcohol and adrenaline involved will sometimes lead to fights. At some point, tempers will flare, and injuries result from it. If you own or operate the club, someone who is injured, or the family of someone who is killed, will eventually come to you for damages.
Nightclub consultants can help you understand the risks and mitigate them, starting with the following approaches:
Keep Trouble Outside
One way to help maintain control is by limiting who you let into your club. Part of this is simply a numbers game. While you profit from every person who comes in, an overcrowded night club is a recipe for disaster. You need room for your security staff to see trouble and get through. Beyond that, you need enough room for people to avoid each other when necessary, and to allow the personal space people need to avoid accidental encounters.
Beyond the numbers, not all patrons are the same. If someone gets in with a weapon, you are opening yourself up for trouble that is not worth what you earn by admitting them. If someone is arriving looking drunk or angry, you may want to stop that person before he or she interacts with your peaceful, fun-loving guests.
Develop a plan for the number of people you can safely take in at one time. Staff your front door with someone who can enforce this policy. Metal detectors or other ways to screen for weapons can also help you prevent problems from coming into your club. Stop trouble at the front door, and you can prevent many legal issues later.
Prepare Your Staff for Trouble
One of the first claims a lawsuit will make is that your staff did not do all it could to prevent violence from occurring. It may be a matter of letting a violent person into the club, or not being equipped to handle a foreseeable problem. If you have bouncers or other security staff on hand and they do not help stop a problem, you can face liability for the incident.
You can help yourself here by giving your staff specialized training. They should learn to recognize problems as they develop, rather than when they are happening. Training them to defuse a situation can prevent many incidents later described as an attack “in the heat of the moment.” Train your team in conflict recognition and resolution, and you can do a great deal to limit violence in your club.
Of course, fights will sometimes still happen. This is when you need security and team members equipped to handle themselves in those situations. A calm, prepared bouncer can often handle a drunk and angry patron without causing or allowing the injuries that come if you let things go.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Prevention gets you a long way, but you will still face legal problems at some point. This is where steering disputes to alternative dispute resolution can help. A legal trial generates publicity that can scare people away, and often become expensive quickly.
Nightclub consultants can provide expert testimony and consulting work that helps you keep your business going strong. They can help you identify problem areas and reduce your risk of legal problems. When and if they do occur, these professionals can aid you in minimizing damages.
Running a restaurant comes with risks. Anytime a customer gets sick, you may face a complaint or a lawsuit. While you can’t control everything, you do have control over many potential problems. Taking care of your kitchen and making sure you don’t invite problems in can go a long way in helping you avoid problems. A restaurant safety expert can help you identify and limit preventable issues in your kitchen.
Avoid Allergy Problems
Food allergies can create serious health problems for people exposed to food products that are dangerous to them. Chances are, you serve foods that have ingredients harmful for someone, whether it is gluten, eggs, nuts, dairy, wheat, or any of a host of other allergens. You cannot create a menu that does not have something in it a person would find unsafe for their needs. You can, however, disclose potentially hazardous ingredients. Good communication can prevent someone from eating something he or she should not, or at least protect you if someone does. A restaurant safety expert can help you identify potentially harmful ingredients and craft a message to help evade or defend against lawsuits related to allergic reactions.
Source Your Foods Carefully
Contaminated foods and ingredients can bring trouble to your restaurant. E. coli and other bacterias that infect your products get passed on–typically to several customers all at once. To help prevent this, make sure you rely on vendors you know and trust. Order meats and eggs that are USDA-inspected and approved. Work with certified vendors and make sure a process is in place to help ensure safety. The more robust your vendor selection and purchasing processes, the less likely your customers will become ill–and litigious.
Tighten Your Receiving Processes
Even foods that come in safely can create problems if your intake process fails you. Your restaurant should use checklists and procedures for safe receiving and handling as part of your restaurant business plan. Both food and materials should be subject to your defined receiving processes, and you should audit regularly to make sure everyone follows them. This includes checking food temperatures, looking for signs of thawing, and storing foods immediately and correctly. Refusing foods or insisting on following processes will not always be easy, but the risks are too great when you deviate from the right way to bring product in.
Sanitize Your Kitchen
You must follow sanitation guidelines for your kitchen area to prevent food-borne contaminants. This includes surfaces and equipment, wherever you are storing or preparing food. Carefully separate foods to avoid cross-contamination with bacteria. Disassemble and clean all of your equipment and preparation surfaces with hot, soapy water and recommended sanitizers. Wash fruits and clean vegetables separately. There is no excuse for failing to keep your kitchen sanitized every day.
Focus on Hygiene
Finally, your restaurant staff must practice good personal hygiene. Use uniforms and keep them clean with recommended procedures for the fabrics they contain. Have them remove aprons and wash hands thoroughly after using the restroom or working around garbage. Require shoes that are both slip-resistant and resistant to transferring contaminants. Your team members should wear gloves, keep hair and nails trimmed, and take all measures needed to avoid creating sanitation problems for your restaurant.
How a Restaurant Safety Expert Helps
The legal and regulatory side of running a restaurant can be complicated and frustrating. Your recipes and the quality of your food and atmosphere gain much of your focus, but you always need to remain aware of baseline health and safety issues. A restaurant safety expert can go through your kitchen and entire restaurant to help you identify the potential hazards you face. Beyond personal expertise, he or she stays up to date on the maze of regulations that affect your business. At Perry Group International, we have the experience and expertise that can help you do all you can to avoid food-related lawsuits.