Some owners and managers told the Village Board on Monday they’re frustrated with their attempts to pass alcohol compliance checks.
Three businesses failed the June compliance checks, Senor Peppers, Ace’s Main Tap and Mulligan’s, all for the second time within the last year.
The Oregon Police Department also identified “problematic” behavior in other businesses, such as scanning IDs multiple times before rejecting a sale.
Owners of the three businesses were asked to talk to the Village Board Monday night to discuss how they will take action to prevent this issue from happening again. All businesses said they have revisited policy about how to train new employees and some have even taken the initiative to implement new technology that could help their servers make the right decision.
Magaly Richter, owner of Senor Peppers, said she has gotten an app for the server’s iPads that scans IDs and alerts the user if the customers are underage or not. It can also register if the ID is fake.
The app isn’t free, but she said she doesn’t care if she has to pay extra to keep people safe.
“I don’t want anymore of this; I feel so frustrated,” she said. “I want to cover my business and my license and I don’t want anything to happen to the kids.”
The board didn’t take any action, but trustees offered a few suggestions to prevent compliance issues from happening again. This included increasing signage and reminders for employees, having a manager or owner on hand to help make new employees feel comfortable asking for IDs and adding additional training.
Village attorney Matt Dregne said the village doesn’t have a requirement for how businesses draw a line for which age to not card people at.
“We let business owners make a judgment about where to draw that line, but we do think it’s a good idea to communicate with employees at what point you think they should card,” he said.
While the business owners and managers talked about how they train new employees to check IDs, it was suggested they have a manager give the OK to an alcohol sale for new employees.
Mulligan’s won’t get that chance with the employee who violated the compliance check, as it was her first night on her own after a few days of training at the bar, and she never returned after learning she had failed.
Some businesses have established a policy to card everyone under a certain age and some ask all customers.
Bill’s Food Center was identified as a business with problematic behavior, though it did not fail the compliance check and did not have a representative at Monday’s meeting. Co-owner Mike Faust told the Observer the employee scanned the ID multiple times and then called over a more experienced employee to help and that it is part of the store’s policy to card everyone.
“We train our employees and tell them what the requirements are, that they’re responsible for compliance with the requirement they check IDs, that’s why we instituted the scan policy,” Faust said. “Our policy is to scan every license, and it shows it was denied, and that’s exactly what happened in this scenario.”
The idea of a policy to scan all IDs was praised by village president Jeanne Carpenter during the Monday meeting.
“We have a different culture here; president Steve Stanton worked very hard to have a culture here,” she said. “I’m 47, I expect to show my ID.”
The business owners shared their perspective on the realities of training new employees with a high turnover rate while embracing the suggestions the board offered.
Bridget Ace, of Ace’s Main Tap, said 85% of the bar’s business is alcohol sales, so enforcing safe serving laws is a high priority. She said she employs people who have bartending experience and should know better.
In this case, she said, the employee who violated the compliance check told her she was in a rush and wasn’t paying attention. She said the employee has a mixology degree and prior bartending experience.
“We stress the importance in training to make sure they’re aware of the things that could result from a compliance check,” she said. “I can understand that it’s a fairly fast paced job, I can understand that it gets going so fast, but I also know that’s an incredibly important piece of the job.”
The board suggested implementing quarterly check ins with employees to go over how to check IDs and revisit those policies. Richter said she already has something similar to that, as she goes over with all of her new employees the consequences of selling alcohol to people who are underage, how to tell if someone is already inebriated and how to avoid overserving.
“I am so frustrated, because I pay for the license and the class, I train the employees, and in two months they leave, this is the situation,” she said. “Every day, I have to tell the waiters to don’t forget to check ID.”