The answer is NO.

I have heard every reason why Owners, managers even server think that they don't need to be trained in responsible service. Head shaking, the twists and turns that people will tell themselves.

Trevor Estelle, HCI’s V.P. of Sales & Marketing recently wrote a terrific article about all the objections people use. This was first printed in the TIPS newsletter. I"m reprinting it here because I think it's important to do the right thing. So let's bust some myths right now.

"Over the past 12 years I have come across many objections for why a corporation, owner, or manager fails to certify their employees in TIPS. None of them have any merit, but I thought I would share my list of the most frequently used excuses for why establishments don’t use TIPS. I have also included my own commentary.

I don’t need TIPS.

My staff consists of seasoned veterans in the hospitality industry and they already know all there is to know about responsible service. I have yet to meet a certified TIPS participant that didn’t tell me at least one skill or piece of new information that he or she took away from a TIPS session.

Alcohol accounts for less than 10% of my establishment’s overall sales. TIPS training isn’t necessary.

Establishments that have limited alcohol sales or a BYOB policy usually lack experience on how to handle difficult alcohol-related situations and lack knowledge of alcohol laws and regulations. They need TIPS just as much, if not more, as other licensed establishments.

We have our own in-house alcohol server training.

I often hear this one from very large chain establishments. It might seem easier to create an in-house training program, but the TIPS program has been evaluated and proven effective by third-party studies. Will an in-house program hold up in court? Is the program approved by state agencies? Is it proven effective?

My town, county, city, or state doesn’t require alcohol server training.

While more and more jurisdictions are mandating alcohol server training, most still do not. Regardless, establishments are expected to make reasonable efforts to prevent intoxication, underage sales, and drunk driving. In addition, establishments should always protect their assets and be able to provide examples of how they are part of the solution, not to mention the insurance premium discounts, improved customer service, and reduced penalties that may come with training your staff in TIPS.

My establishment uses a different alcohol server training program.

What program? In most cases, the establishment is either using a fly-by-night online provider or a local liquor law course. Neither should be confused with quality training. While TIPS does have some national competitors, none of them are able to provide the support, service, and effective programs that TIPS offers.

It isn’t my responsibility if an individual is intoxicated in my establishment. People need to be responsible for themselves.

Believe it or not, we still hear this one.

I already use TIPS (when, in fact, you DO NOT use TIPS).

Since we keep permanent records of all certification credentials, you can’t get away with saying that you use our program when really you don’t. You would be surprised at how often we run into this situation.

I’ve never been sued, nor do I have any violations. I will use TIPS only if I get into trouble.

A lot of TIPS training is court ordered or a reaction to a recent violation. If it has reached this point, you are already TOO LATE!

I plan to get my staff certified soon.

I honestly believe that they have good intentions, but there is no time like the present, especially when that underage compliance check or difficult refusal situation could occur any day or night.

I don’t have the time or money to get my staff certified in the TIPS program.

Okay, so you know the right thing to do, yet you simply can’t invest in protecting your community and establishment. This is never a good reason and courts WILL close your doors or suspend your liquor license when you sell or serve alcohol.If funding TIPS training is truly a problem, go to your local alcohol wholesaler, community prevention group, or police department. They usually have access to resources that can assist you.

I have heard many more excuses for why establishments don’t certify their employees in TIPS. Visit our website ( www.gettips.com) to read case studies and success stories, and to get more information about our different programs and the benefits of TIPS. ATTENTION Independent TIPS Trainers: Please share some of the excuses you hear and how you overcome them. You can email them to me at estellet@gettips"