Businesses need to take the proper preventative measures towards protecting their establishments, especially within the hospitality industry. Businesses that serve or sell alcohol should be aware of the possible dangers that are associated. Liquor license holders need to take active measures toward protecting their licenses.  Owners should be aware of the risks associated with selling or serving alcohol and other types of risk. This can be detrimental to their businesses because it may result in a revocation of their licenses or civil liability. It is recommended that businesses define their procedures and policies for their employees, as this can assist them with minimizing future issues. Such practices and policies can be described in employee handbooks for making employees aware of the risks associated and setting expectations, to comply with Michigan Liquor Codes, Administrative Rules, and Related Laws. Preventive measures may include establishing on-site identification scanners, visible signage, and employee education programs.

Employee Education Preventative Measures

Employee handbooks can be an effective way of informing employees of the policies and procedures set in place for the specific establishment. It is important that employees have an understanding of applicable rules and procedures that are associated with serving alcohol. Employee handbooks can include specific rules from Michigan Liquor Codes, Administrative Rules, and Related Laws. Such rules prohibit sales or serving alcoholic beverages to a person under 21 years of age. The handbook may include methods of verification of one’s age. This can include always checking identifications and keeping an eye out for false identifications that individuals may use to get into restaurants, clubs, bars, etc. It would be helpful for the handbook to include methods of detecting a false identification and examining the identification. It can be useful to include examples of Michigan’s licenses to guide the employee when they are checking identifications. Also, if employees needed additional information, as it relates to the legitimacy of a Michigan identification, they can refer to the Secretary of State’s Office for officially valid identification types.

Additionally, employee handbooks may include the consequences of prohibited activities on licensed premises. According to MCL 436.1801, a license holder shall not sell or serve alcoholic beverages to anyone under 21 years of age. There are possible consequences to this rule for those who sell or serve alcohol, including a misdemeanor, liquor control commission violations, loss of license, and possible civil suits. These are serious penalties that business owners and employees should be aware of because it can affect the business. Also, such policies can include not selling or serving alcoholic beverages to one who is intoxicated, according to MCL 436.1801. It is important for employees to keep an eye out for those individuals who are visibly intoxicated. It would be helpful to include specific ways of being attentive to possible intoxicated persons at the licensed establishment. Similarly, there are serious consequences of selling or serving to one who is visibly impaired, including a possible misdemeanor, MLCC violation, and other civil suits. However, employees need to be aware of these results, so they are taking these issues seriously. These employee handbooks can hold employees accountable for their actions.

Staff Training Preventative Measures

Moreover, several businesses have faced violations due to a lack of proper training for their employees. Preventive measures to avoid such violations may include employee educational programs. Employee educational programs may be a useful way of taking proper actions towards protecting your business. Such programs should be completed prior to starting at the establishment. Employers can set up training periods with specific criteria that the employee needs to learn and understand. This can be a sufficient way of staying organized and allowing employees to understand crucial rules, especially as they are dealing with alcoholic beverages. Educational programs should address common violations that are associated with liquor codes. This can include the sale or serving of alcoholic beverages to minors, sale or serving alcoholic beverages to those visibly intoxicated, selling or serving alcohol beyond permitted time, and others. This would educate employees on the various types of liquor violations that are common and what to look for. Not all employees have worked in hospitality, so it can be beneficial to educate them on the applicable laws. These programs can assist with job performance and efficiency. It may allow employees to build trust with their team, as they work through issues and learn along the way. Training policies can be an effective way of building skills and promote a better work environment. These policies are important to all employees, as they all have the same policies to follow.

Additionally, the programs can include specific procedures for identifying patrons to confirm their ages. This can be an important way for employees to have guidance when it comes to verification of identifications. These programs can also include employee consequences. Such consequences may hold individuals accountable for their actions. These penalties need to be known to the employees, so they understand the severity of their actions. Having a liquor license is a major responsibility and it is important to take the proper steps towards protecting businesses and the well-being of people.

Technology Preventative Measures

Another preventative measure to take is identification scanners that can be an effective way of following Michigan Liquor Codes. This allows your establishment ease of mind by not selling or serving alcoholic beverages to minors. Such scanners can help establishments with verifying identifications. This technology can be helpful to humans, with efforts to prevent issues. Bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and other types of businesses can be extremely busy and full of many individuals. It may be easier for licensed locations to use such scanners for efficiency purposes. There are many benefits to having these scanners at establishments. This includes specific types of programs that may assist with detecting false identification. The scanner may be a reliable way for all employees to use when needed to verify one’s age. Business owners can implement the use of scanners in educational programs and employee policies, so there is consistency when verifying one’s age.

Proper Signage Preventative Measures

Preventative measures your business needs to take is visible signage of prohibited behavior. It is important for patrons to be aware of the liquor codes, as it relates to establishments. Such signs can indicate that individuals must be 21 years old and over to be served alcoholic beverages and that each employee will check their identification. It is essential that business owners implement policies that will protect their business and their liquor license. Posting signs all over the establishment can be an efficient way of appropriate business practice because the safety and welfare of all individuals is important, especially when alcoholic beverages are involved. These signs remind patrons that the use of illicit drugs are not permitted on the licensed premises. The customers of the licensed establishments need to be aware of the potential laws they would be breaking. Business owners should stay informed of the laws and regulations, in order to protect their establishments. The use of signs may assist with avoiding civil suits and misdemeanors, as the business has proof of their due diligence when it comes to following these rules and regulations.

Special Events at your Establishment

It is important to note that additional preventative measures should always be taken if you are interested in providing entertainment on site at your establishment. According to MCL 436.1916 (1) a licensee shall not allow monologues, contests, closed circuit television presentations, motion pictures or still photos in a public speaking setting. Unless the licensee has applied for and been granted an entertainment permit by the commission. Things like hosting a trivia night, live performances, or even a movie viewing requires the establishment to attain a entertainment license alongside the applicable on-site licenses. Additionally, MCL 436.1916 (2) bans any dancing on the premises unless the licensee has been approved a dance permit from the commission.


In conclusion, liquor license holders should take these appropriate preventative measures towards protecting their license and the lives of customers, employees, and themselves.  If rules and procedures are not followed, this will impact your business in a negative way. Such consequences may include civil suits, penalties, and loss of licenses and permits. It is important to have an understanding of local and state laws, as this affects all aspects of your business within the industry. Preventive measures to avoid liquor violations may include employee handbooks, on-site identification scanners, visible signage, and acquiring proper special licenses as appropriate. Taking proper steps and following these preventive measures to protect your license and establishment can be an effective way of minimizing any legal issues, especially as it relates to the liquor codes from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission.

Our Services

The Law Offices of Barton Morris has experienced and dedicated attorneys ready to help you with all of your liquor license needs in the state of Michigan. Following these preventive measures will help your hospitality and restaurant industry business, but having a legal expert on your side should any violations or citations occur will set you apart for your competitors. Whether you have an established restaurant or are looking to begin a new business venture in the industry, our attorneys have guided individuals just like yourself through the process. Schedule a Consultation with us today to find out how we can help your hospitality or restaurant business thrive. For more information on the services we provide visit us at