At IDScan.net we take pride in being a one stop source for bars and nightclubs ID verification and scanning needs. If asking yourself, “Is my ID verification process cutting it?” take note of these 5 steps to ensure that it is.
1. Contact your state’s regulatory body for guidelines and advice.
In Louisiana we have Alcohol and Tobacco Control. In Mississippi there is Alcoholic Beverage Control. These administrative bodies serve the same purpose but have different policies and preferences on how to follow alcohol and tobacco regulations. By contacting your state’s policy enforcing group, you ensure that you have the most relevant guidelines and information to help you stay in compliance.
Familiarize yourself and your staff with both federal and state policies towards alcohol and tobacco sales. Is there a minimum age a client must look to avoid being ID’d? How do you verify the authenticity of the ID? Do you need an electronic record of having verified the ID? How long must you maintain client data proving your customer base was carded and of age? How do you record underage offenders? The first step to achieving and maintaining compliance is knowing how to define compliance.
2. Create specific, achievable practices to follow the regulations and suggestions provided by your regulatory body.
Sit down with your staff and discuss the most effective ways to comply with set alcohol and tobacco sale policies. How will you deal with invalid ID’s? What scanners will you implement to verify the authenticity of said IDs? Where will these scanners be located and who will have training and access to them? There are more steps to compliance than “look at every ID,” although that is certainly a good place to start.
3. Find a solution that is both secure and efficient.
While security and effectiveness should be your priority in developing you ID verification system, try to be as efficient as possible. When your establishment is busy the last thing you want is a cumbersome identification process. Take the weight off of bartenders and bouncers by implementing an automated electronic system. Regulations have become stricter, but technology has come a long way since manually inspecting each and every ID. Take advantage of this and make your verification process as painless as possible.
For a list of recommended scanners and software please see idscan.net/solutions.
4. Train your staff in best practices for alcohol and tobacco sales.
There are plenty or resources that can be found through regulatory bodies and attorney general offices.
For example the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office released this useful guide that educates managers and staff on best practices for accountability: http://www.ago.state.ms.us/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Guide-to-Prevent-Underage-Alcohol-Tobacco-Sales-to-Minors.pdf
Although Mississippi’s laws and policies may not be identical to your state’s, the information contained is still relevant as it explains important overall policies (e.g. how to calm, handle belligerent customers, how to diffuse tense or heated situations).
5. Be consistent and thorough.
Don’t fall into bad practices such as assuming someone’s of age because the bar is packed. Incentivize your staff into checking IDs regularly. Many managers have had success by implementing a rewards program for the confiscation of fake IDs.
A major pitfall many bars and nightclubs experience is the prevalence of the idea that more customers equal more tips. This unfortunately translates into underage customers also equal more tips. Make sure that your staff understands the severity of regulatory punishments. IT DOES NOT PAY TO SERVE MINORS. Hold your staff accountable. Otherwise everyone will pay the price.
If you have any questions about the steps listed above, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’ve been helping businesses implement and execute ID verification programs for over ten years. We’ll help you take the steps necessary as well.