Customer Disturbance Handling
My 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.
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 vital that you do not
"engage verbally" or react to disruptive customers in a way that might
escalate the "situation". Remain calm, do not argue, and never engage
Your Initial Approach
Your initial approach will have a tremendous impact on every
interaction. Be friendly! Smile! Greet your customer
with a genuine "how can I help you" attitude. A
sourpuss restaurant worker is not starting out on the right foot.
Identifying Disruptive Behavior
On occasion, there are individuals 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 beg for food or
money from customers or employees
- Vagrants: 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 do not order anything,
just "hang around", or who have been served but remain in the
premises for an excessively long periods of time
- Loud/Unruly: Individuals who are boisterous or
unruly to the obvious detriment of an enjoyable experience for
- 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
Again, your initial reaction will have a tremendous impact on the
situation. Making proper decisions early will ensure a positive
outcome. Whenever you approach such an individual:
- 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 your odor is
disruptive to others, we can't serve you. 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 premises. Out!
- 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. (Use good judgment. There is a
difference between someone who remains in the restaurant reading
or working on a laptop, versus someone who is just idly hanging
- Loud/Unruly: I'm sorry but you'll have to
be quieter in order to be served
- Intoxicated: I'm sorry
but you seem intoxicated. You'll have to straighten up before I
can serve you
Taking Further Action
- This is a warning, I am sorry but you will have to leave.
- I am sorry but I will call the police if you do not leave, stop,
- 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
Physically Threatening Customer
Your safety is our primary concern. NEVER intervene in the event of a
fight or other threatening behavior. NEVER touch or attempt to
restrain an individual. If the customer's behavior escalates to
threats of violence, or becomes violent, this is a crime, so dial 911.
Successful Late Night Customer Handling
Working the 3rd shift, especially on Friday and Saturday can
present some challenging situations. The obvious reason is that some
customers, especially between the of 2-4 AM, will patronize us after
having consumed alcohol. Most customers are just nice people out for
a good time. However, 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
- Break the ice with a smile and ask if they had a good time out
- 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 for 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
Late Night Complainers and Agitators
During bar time (typically 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
- Speak with authority, but do not yell. Sounding angry or
yelling will likely escalate the situation.
- Say "Sorry... I can't take your order until 'the behavior'
- Say "Sorry but this behavior must stop or you'll have to
- Give a refund if necessary if the situation seems to be
Calling the Police
If undesired behavior continues or escalates after your efforts
described in this guide to resolve a situation without police
intervention, call the police non-emergency number.
Excessive Police Calls
The police is not your private security guard service. Learn to
utilize the suggestions and methods describe in this guide before
resorting to calling the police.
Sometimes, the difference between an emergency and a non-emergency isn't
easy to decipher. Ask yourself... is this a life threatening
emergency or serious crime in progress?
Examples of life threatening emergencies or serious crime in
- An immediate threat to a person or property
- Screams for help
- Weapon displayed
- Fire emergency
- Medical Emergency
Our business can be deemed a nuisance if we make an excessive
number of 911 calls or make 911 calls that are not for life
threatening emergencies/crimes in progress. If the police receive an
excessive number of 911 calls, or if they deem our 911 calls to be
"911 abuse" (such as hanging up on a 911 operator or putting one on
hold), the city can impose fines or even take action to revoke our
So again, call 911 for life threatening emergencies or crimes in
Police Call Incident Report
Every police call, whether a non-emergency call or to 911, fill out
a "Police Call Incident Report" immediately after the situation is
under control. A"Police Call Incident Report" form is posted on
the employee bulletin board.
Certification of Training
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