How to react

Do yResponsible Service of Alcoholou know how to react to conflict? Staff within a licensed venue will need to know how to react to certain situations and how to deal with customers when they become agitated. Alcohol can make people react differently to alcohol, and as a staff member, you need to know how to act quickly to diffuse any situation.

Most conflict situations can be diffused or dealt with quickly within the early stages. However, if the situation has gotten to a heated situation before you arrive, it can be difficult to control. Therefore, the earlier you recognise the situation – the easier it will be to prevent. But as a staff member, you must always take into consideration yours and others safety.

When you can clearly identify that a situation is getting to a point where it needs to be dealt with, confront the person/s  calmly and slowly try and figure out what the problem is, making sure that you listen. It is important to try and find out the problem so that you may be able to find a solution. However, you should always keep in mind the word REACT and the stages that are associated:

R – Request: ask the conflicting parties to calm down or leave the venue.

E – Explain: that their behaviour is unacceptable, and list any laws that may have been broken due to their behaviour.

A – Appeal: remember to say “please,” turn it around and say things like “if you keep this up, I won’t be able to serve you anymore,” or “you don’t want me to get in trouble, do you?”

C – Confirm: if the customer/s continue to act and behave the same, explain to them the potential consequences and ask them if there is anything that you can do to stop them from acting the way they are at current.

T – Take action: here you have to ask them again to leave. However, if they refuse to leave. you will have to contact the police and request that they be removed from the premises. Only use physical force to remove them if, other than yourself, there is more than one person available to assist. Also, while talking to them, you should try and direct them towards the door.

Once the incident is over and has been dealt with, you should try and reconcile your customers, stating that everything is fine and is back to normal. You should also, if possible, take a break to regain composure. In addition, you should also take the time to record the incident in the incident register while it is still fresh in your mind. You should record the following:

  • Date

  • Time

  • What happened

  • Who was involved

  • How it was dealt with

  • Whether the police had to be called

  • You may also want to note the names of the people involved and, also, the names of witnesses to the incident.

The incident register is important as it can be used as a learning tool, prepares an accurate record for the police, and can prevent similar incidents from occurring. Being able to react in any situation promptly within a licensed venue is a key to keeping a calm and fun environment. This is as you want to be able to react and stop the situation from escalating.