Owning a bar or a nightclub can be a highly profitable enterprise, but there are any number of variables that can quickly tank any enterprise with even the best business plans. Like so many other companies, one of the biggest causes of nightclubs and bars end up getting shut down – aside from poor management – is due to lawsuits. Due to the nature of Bars and Night Clubs (being that they are regularly filled with intoxicated people who don’t always display the best decision-making skills) bars and night clubs can be lawsuit magnets. Many a lawsuit has driven otherwise highly profitable enterprised right into bankruptcy. Knowledge is power, however, and understanding where bars and nightclubs are the most vulnerable can help protect owners from some of the most likely lawsuits.
Here are the top 6 lawsuits regularly filed against Nightclub and Bar Owners:
#1 Slip and Fall Accidents
In large, crowded rooms where almost everyone is carrying a drink, drinks get spilled. When this happens, it can sometimes create hazardous walking conditions. It’s important to be sure that your staff is constantly vigilant, reports trouble spots immediately and that you have cleaning staff on hand to deal with spills. Not only will this keep your customers safer, it will keep your wait staff that has to carry large trays of drinks over these same areas safer as well.
#2 Patron Disputes
Bar fights are another unavoidable and regular occurrence in the Bar & Nightclub industry. The key is to be vigilant about watching for flaring tempers before fights break out and don’t hesitate to call Law Enforcement when necessary.
#3 Alcohol Violations
The two main violations in Nightclubs and Bars are serving alcohol to a minor or to an obviously intoxicated person. Most bars work hard to keep from serving to minors, but it’s hard to know where to draw the line sometimes when it comes to intoxication – particularly as your business is essentially dependent on people buying as many drinks as possible. Continuing to serve alcohol to a seriously intoxicated person is not only the basis for a potential lawsuit, however, but it can also bring heavy fines and the temporary (or even permanent) suspension of your liquor license.
#4 Reckless Guest Behavior
Owners can be sued if unruly guests are not controlled and end up injuring another guest. Just like with fights, make sure your employees are vigilant and encouraged to report potentially threatening incidents to management immediately so they can be dealt with before things get out of control and people get injured.
#5 Food Prep / Service
Any bar that serves food needs to take the same food safety and handling precautions as any restaurant, as they are liable for all the same suits that can be brought against any other establishment serving food.
#6 Unforeseen / Tragic Events
Recent events have shown that extreme violence can break out anywhere. While no amount of security may ever be able to prevent these instances from happening, Bar and Night Club owners have greater liability when they don’t have adequate security on hand to protect their customers from the normal fights and altercations that regularly break out in drinking establishments, let alone heightened events.
A Good Offense is the Best Defense
As a business owner, one of the best protections you have against lawsuits is to be able to prove that you are concerned enough about the safety of your clientele to take appropriate measures in advance to protect them. Training your employees how to spot, report, diffuse or correct various situations they may encounter is a great start, but having great insurance is even better. Call the professionals at El Dorado Insurance today to make sure that you have the type of Hospitality Insurance you need to protect you and your business in the event of unforeseen incidents or damaging lawsuits.