Predicting Service of Alcohol to Intoxicated Customers

James C. Roberts, The University of Scranton

The service of alcohol to intoxicated customers is recognized as an important predictor of barroom aggression. In an attempt to identify features of barroms that promote service to intoxicated customers, researchers spent six months, and nearly five hundred hours, conducting systematic observations in twenty-five venues in Hoboken, New Jersey. An analysis of observation guides used in this study identified number of secondary servers of alcohol as the strongest predictor of service to intoxicated customers. It was found that incidents of serving intoxicated customers increased with the number of secondary servers. Secondary servers of alcohol include shot-girls, tub-girls, waitresses, and service bar attendants. These servers supplement traditional bartenders by distributing alcohol in areas away from traditional bar stations. Observations of Hoboken barroms revealed that secondary servers cater primarily to intoxicated customers who are either unable or unwilling to wait in long lines at traditional bar stations. In barroms that employ shot-girls or waitresses, customers need not move from where they are sitting or standing to be served. While completely eliminating secondary servers from barroms may not be feasible, local governments may consider placing restrictions on their use so as to prevent problems associated with serving intoicated customers, such as increased aggression.

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Updated 05/20/2006