CUSTOMER DISTURBANCE HANDLING
Our primary concern is the safety of our employees and customers. The
purpose of this document is to prepare employees to effectively handle
typical customer disturbance situations and situations in which safety
is jeopardized, as well the proper utilization of police resources.
All employees are welcome to address safety and security concerns with
their manager or are always welcome to attend the Weekly Manager's
Staff Meetings. All employees must read and receive training in the
following guidelines as part of their initial training. The trainer
will certify by his/her signature that the trainee has been trained in
Equal Public Accommodation
All employees will provide service to all individuals regardless of
disability, age, race, religion, creed, color, sex, sexual
orientation, disability, marital status, national origin, and will not
discriminate under any unlawful basis. No employee will bar from
entry, refuse to provide service, make derogatory remarks, or treat
customers differently based on their race, color, religion, sex,
sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, physical or
mental disability or age.
A positive outcome for any interaction with a disruptive customer is
what we want. It is therefore vitally important that you as an
employee, do not react to disruptive customers in a way that might
escalate the "situation". Remain calm, do not argue, etc.
Identifying Disruptive Behavior
On occasion, there are individual whose behavior becomes a detriment
to building a steady clientele of regular customers. Some examples of
- Odor: Individuals whose odor is such that it is
a disruption to others
- Panhandling: Individuals who enter the premises
and attempt to beg for food or money from customers or employees
- Vagrants: These are individuals who wander from
place to place, appear to live on the street, attempt to enter our
premises to beg for a meal or just to hang out because they have
no other place to go or to get warm.
- Loitering: Individuals who enter the premises
and just want to "hang around" and not order anything; or
customers who after eating, remain in the premises for an
excessively long periods of time
- Loud: Individuals who are excessively
boisterous to the obvious detriment of an enjoyable experience for
- Interferes: Individuals who interfere in the
normal operating procedures of the restaurant employees
- Possession of alcohol or illegal substances:
Individuals who bring in alcohol or illegal substances
- Intoxicated: Individuals who appear intoxicated
to the point of not being able to keep their behavior from
interfering with the enjoyment of others.
Approaching Disruptive Customers
Your initial reaction to any situation will have a tremendous impact
on the overall situation. Making proper decisions early will ensure a
positive outcome. Whenever you approach such an individual:
- Protect your own safety by approaching carefully.
- Remember, other customers will be watching how you handle the
situation. The best policy is to treat everyone with respect.
- Speak quietly and do not embarrass the individual.
- Do not yell at or make threatening remarks.
Suggestions as to what to say in a quiet, non-threatening tone of
- Odor: I'm sorry but we cannot serve you as your
odor is disruptive to others; alternatively we will package your
order for carryout.
- Panhandling: I'm sorry but you cannot ask
others for money or food here. You'll have to leave
- Vagrants: I'm sorry but you cannot enter these
- Loitering: I'm sorry but you must place an
order in order to remain here; -or- I'm sorry but it's time to
leave as you have had your meal and are still here after x period
of time. (Please use good judgment. There is a difference between
someone who remains in the restaurant reading a book, working on a
laptop or visiting with friends, versus someone who is just idly
hanging around for an excessively long period.
- Loud: I'm sorry but you'll have to be quieter
in order to be served
- Interferes: I'm sorry but you cannot interfere
with our operations
- Possession of alcohol or illegal substances:
I'm sorry but you cannot have alcohol or illegal substances in
- Intoxicated: I'm sorry but you seem excessively
intoxicated. You'll have to straighten up before I can serve you
or I will have to ask you to leave
Taking Further Action
- This is a warning, I am sorry but you will have to leave.
- This is a warning, I am sorry but I will call the police if you
do not leave, stop, etc
- Walk over to the phone and pick up the receiver as though you
are about to call the police. This may cause the customer to leave
without further incident.If necessary, call the police using the
Non-Emergency Police # (see the speed-dial list)
Physically Threatening Customer
Our primary concern is the safety of our employees and customers.
NEVER intervene in the event of a fight or other threatening customer
behavior. NEVER touch or attempt to restrain any individual. If a
customer's behavior has become verbally abusive, call the police by
dialing the non-emergency # (see the speed-dial list) If the
customer's behavior escalates to threats of violence, or becomes
violent, this is a crime and dial 911.
3rd Shift Customer Handling
Working the 3rd shift, especially on Friday and Saturday nights,
presents some situations that on other nights or on other shifts, you
probably will not experience. The obvious reason is that a number of
customers, especially between the hours of 2 AM and 4 AM on Friday and
Saturday nights, will patronize us after they have consumed alcohol.
Most of these customers are just nice people out for a good time. On
occasion though, some get carried away and become obnoxious or even
worse. In most situations, a smile and a sense of humor will go a long
way to effectively handling late night patrons.
Important suggestions for successful late night customer handling:
- Smile and ask if they had a good time out tonight. (This tends
to break the ice and build rapport with the group.)
- Offer beverages right away and serve those before taking the
- Take the food order and be sure to repeat it back to avoid any
- Explain that due to how busy the restaurant is, it may take a
little longer than usual for their order to be prepared
- Print the receipt and return to the group for immediate payment
as per the pay-in-advance policy on third shift
- Return frequently to offer beverage refills
- Return frequently to remind the group that their food is coming
- ask for their patience
Call-in Orders 2-4 AM
In order to focus on in-store customer service, inform phone-in
customer's that we do not take call-ins between 2-4 am on weekends.
Late Night Complainers and Agitators
During bar time (approximately 2-4 am on weekends), if necessary,
rather than allow customer behavior that is too loud, too demanding,
- Stop what you are doing no matter what it is and deal with the
issue. (If you just yell at a customer while you continue working,
they'll likely just ignore you.)
- Stop what your doing and go to the customer
- Speak with authority (but do not yell)
- Say "This is a warning... no service will begin until the
- Say "This behavior must stop or they will have to leave"
- Give a refund if necessary if the situation seems to be
Before You Call 911
Ask yourself... is this a life threatening emergency or crime in
This is because we have been put on notice by the Police Department
that our business can be deemed a nuisance if we make 911 calls that
are not for life threatening emergencies or crimes in progress.
Has the individual threatened violence or become violent and/or is
there an actual crime in progress? If yes, dial 911.
However, for issues such as:
- Customer won't pay
- Customer won't leave
- Customer stole your tip
- Customer is arguing
- A vagrant
- Attempt to handle the situation without police intervention.
- If necessary, dial the police non-emergency # (see the
speed-dial list) Only call 911 when it is a life threatening
emergency or crime is in progress!
Examples of life threatening emergencies or crime in progress:
- Shots fired
What will happen if we overuse or abuse 911?
If the police receive more than three 911 calls in a month, or if
they deem any 911 call to be "911 abuse" (such as hanging up on a 911
operator or putting one on hold), the police can invoke a city
ordinance deeming a business a nuisance, which has fines and charges
up to $5,000 per incident. Call 911 for life threatening emergencies.
Otherwise call the police non-emergency # (see the speed-dial list)
Police Call Incident Report
For every call to the police department, whether to 911 or to the
non-emergency #, it is necessary to fill out a "Police Call Incident
Report" immediately after the situation is under control. A written
report must be prepared for every call to:
- police non-emergency #
- pressing of the holdup button
A reminder about when and when not to call 911, along with a "Police
Call Incident Report" form is posted on the employee bulletin board
and under Forms in the Safety In The Workplace Binder. Please
familiarize yourself with the location of these documents.