Letters hit Louisiana Restaurant Association (LRA) members’ mailboxes this week from Louisiana Alcohol Tobacco Control Commissioner Troy Hebert regarding enforcement measures to be taken during the annual Mardi Gras parade season. While Mardi Gras activities are underway, the majority of the parades begin this weekend and will continue through until March 4.
Commissioner Hebert issued the following “friendly reminders” for establishments, particularly along parade routes, that are licensed to serve alcoholic beverages.
Maintain adequate security.
- Develop a plan to ensure that minors are not served alcohol or tobacco products.
- Develop a policy and educate employees on identifying proper identification.
- Ensure that you have obtained special event permits for any events outside your licensed premises (i.e., in the parking lot, etc.).
- Ensure that your alcohol and tobacco inventory is purchased from licensed wholesale dealers
- Ensure that all permits are current and clearly visible.
- Remember that ATC agents may enter your permitted location at any time.
- A K-9 may accompany agents during their inspections.
- Ensure you are in compliance with Trade Practice Regulations (visit the ATC website at www.atc.la.gov).
“ATC agents will be out in full force to ensure public safety during these events by verifying alcohol and tobacco products are sold and served responsibly,” the letter reads. “We will aggressively pursue all persons found selling alcoholic beverages and tobacco products without the proper permits. It is unfair to law abiding and tax paying businesses such as yours to allow others to compete against you.”
With the sheer volume of parade-goers flooding the French Quarter, St. Charles corridor, Veterans Memorial Blvd in Metairie, and other cities across the state, safety of your staff and customers is of the utmost importance during the revelry.
Here are some tips from LRA members who’ve experienced restaurant ownership during Mardi Gras for decades:
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times. This goes for everyone!
- Regardless of the time of year, servers carrying cash are encouraged to leave the restaurant in groups, travel in well-lit areas, carpool if possible, avoid flashing cash and do not walk while using a smartphone/cell phone.
- Managers and staff are encouraged to move their vehicles closer to the building once the shift has ended prior to closing procedures.
- Keep side and back doors locked and alarms set when not in use.
- Trash runs before lunch and dinner shifts and not done by just one staff member.
- Use camera and security systems.
- Don’t leave valuables in plain sight in your vehicle.
If there's a tip we've overlooked, that you'd like to share, please let us know. Have a safe and happy Mardi Gras season.