Restaurants are one of the largest businesses in America. From breakfast to lunch, the optics of taking out takeout drinks have disintegrated into a complete disaster: Hundreds of thousands of patrons have been openly drinking on the streets, while ignoring other social etiquette, and the government has placed strict new regulations that hold restaurant and bar owners responsible for enforcing rules on public behavior that they say go beyond reasonable limits. While the government does not actively monitor the quality of food and drinks served at restaurants, it does regulate their operation, and this has led to a number of lawsuits against chain and independent operators of popular restaurants around the country. The laws and rules are not so much about preventing harm to consumers as they are about protecting employees and patrons who have the legal right to refuse to be subjected to the establishment’s policies.
While many of the arguments against takeout liquor in restaurants center on the fact that patrons are often under the influence of alcohol or have other problems that make them irresponsible customers, others argue that the laws are an infringement of freedom of speech. For example, a recently-won lawsuit against the owners of a popular New York City diner accused them of having a “no talking” policy, which prohibits customers from talking to the servers and other staff. Some of the diners who were stopped in the process of complaining about the no talking policy were given a tongue bath or other form of punishment for their transgressions, which the owner and other employees say is part of the restaurant’s effort to keep disorderly customers away. Another plaintiff claims that the restaurant’s policy was a violation of his First Amendment rights; he says that by not allowing him to speak to a manager, the restaurant is not exercising the right to free speech.
Both sides agree that restaurant owners and managers can face severe consequences if they fail to enforce the rules. In some instances, owners of establishments are forced to shut down because they are unable to afford the legal fees associated with enforcing the new rules and regulations, which are often imposed on the smallest restaurant owners, most likely to be minorities. Other establishments, such as drive-through restaurants, may face hefty fines and even suspension of their liquor licenses. If the laws and regulations are violated, some owners may have to be evicted from their establishments.
Many restaurant owners argue that they must enforce these new regulations in order to maintain a civilized dining environment and discourage irresponsible patrons from drinking. According to some restaurant owners, serving alcohol to children and customers is a leading cause of children being exposed to harmful substances like drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. Also, serving alcohol to the wrong person, such as a family member, may lead to an argument or even physical violence.
These laws are often difficult for those who are new to the restaurant business, especially if they have never had a run-in with the local authorities before. However, restaurant owners should do all they can to comply with the new laws, because they are meant to help keep patrons in check, but many restaurant owners are left wondering what the best solution is.
The best way for owners to deal with these new laws is through restaurant management training classes. These classes teach restaurant owners how to keep their establishments clean and sanitary without necessarily violating the rules and regulations, and teach them how to address problems with customers who break the law. However, since the new rules have only recently been passed and not implemented in every city, restaurant owners who have not taken advantage of them may find that they are overwhelmed with too much to handle on their own. Even if a restaurant has taken advantage of these training programs, however, they can still use the resources available to them to get the help of experienced lawyers and consultants in filing lawsuits and negotiating new terms and conditions with the city. As long as owners are willing to learn the ropes, they can easily get the necessary training to manage their operations without breaking the new rules and regulations.