• Home
    Home We Serve America's Restaurants Representing nearly 500,000 restaurant businesses, we advocate for restaurant and foodservice industry interests and provide tools and systems that help members of all sizes achieve success.
  • Foundation
    Foundation Building & Retaining Talent The NRAEF is focused on developing a stronger workforce and building the next generation of industry leaders through education, scholarships and community engagement.
  • Show
    Show May 18-21, 2019 As the international foodservice marketplace, the National Restaurant Association Show provides unparalleled opportunities for buyers and sellers to come together, conduct business and learn from each other.
  • ServSafe
    ServSafe Minimize Risk. Maximize Protection. For over 40 years, ServSafe® training programs have delivered the knowledge, leadership and protection that have earned the trust and confidence of business leaders everywhere.

National Restaurant Association - Serve alcohol responsibly this holiday season

Skip to navigation Skip to content

Manage My Restaurant

Serve alcohol responsibly this holiday season



Many diners spend the holidays with family and friends, and alcohol is often a part the celebrations. If people get caught up in the excitement, they may consume too much alcohol. Because of this, be especially vigilant when serving drinks during the holidays.

ServSafe Alcohol shares these tips for responsible alcohol service:

Take the time to talk to your guests. This will help you determine the purpose of their visit as well as their intoxication levels. If guests are determined to become intoxicated, you want to know about it. Continue talking to each guest throughout his or her visit.

Watch for changes. You can learn a lot about your guests’ intoxication levels by watching for physical and behavioral changes. Examples include:

  • Being overly friendly, unfriendly, depressed or quiet
  • Using foul language or becoming loud
  • Drinking faster or switching to larger or stronger drinks
  • Talking or moving slowly
  • Staggering, stumbling or bumping into objects

Watch the count. Some guests may not show physical or behavioral signs of intoxication, so counting their drinks can help you keep track of their consumption. Each of these beverages contains approximately the same amount of alcohol and should be counted as one drink:

1 drink = 5 ounces of wine; 12 ounces of beer; 1½ ounces of 80-proof liquor; 1 ounce of 100-proof liquor

Avoid over-pouring. Over-pouring liquor makes it difficult for guests to accurately track their consumption. Follow drink recipes closely to ensure each drink contains the intended amount of alcohol. If your establishment allows you to free-pour, test your accuracy periodically by using a pour test.  

Offer food. This is one of the most important things you can do to prevent intoxication. Food helps keep alcohol in the stomach, slowing the rate alcohol reaches the small intestine where most of it is absorbed into the bloodstream. The best food items for this are those high in fat and/or protein. These items are not easily digested, which slows the movement of alcohol into the small intestine.

Offer water. Drinking alcohol can lead to dehydration, making guests thirsty and potentially prone to consume more alcohol than they normally would. You can help by offering water with their drinks and refilling water glasses often. This will help keep the guest hydrated and can reduce alcohol consumption.

▲ Back to Top

Online Reviews: The New Word of Mouth

Online Reviews: The New Word of Mouth

Featured Products & Tools



We're glad you're here!®

® 2012-2017 National Restaurant Association. All rights reserved.

2055 L St. NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20036
(202) 331-5900 | (800) 424-5156