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The True Cost of a Failed Sting

We’ve frequently mentioned the primary goal of the BARS Program: to prevent ALL of our customers from experiencing a failed sting. If you’re still wondering, “What’s so bad about a failed sting?,” here is a brief outline of the multiple costs that are incurred when a business fails a sting related to the sale of alcohol, tobacco, or other age-sensitive products.


5 Costs of a Failed Sting


If your compliance efforts fail in the context of a sting, here are the costs you can expect to face.


1)  Fine.  Even a first-time offense can come with a fine of several thousand dollars. This must be paid to the local jurisdiction (either city, county, or state).

2)  Legal Costs.  If an attorney is hired to represent the licensee (owner) of an establishment that fails a sting, fees must be paid for legal representation.

3)  Employee Replacement Costs.  If the employee who failed the sting is terminated, there is a cost associated with replacing the store associate, server, or bartender.  The time the manager must spend on interviewing candidates and training the new employee as well as other “onboarding” costs should be considered. Costs may also be incurred if the position remains open for too long.

4)  Lost Sales.  This can be the largest cost of failing a sting.  If your establishment is suspended from selling products for a period of time (whether 3 days, a week, or a month), it can have a very painful impact on your bottom line.

5)  Damaged Reputation.  When an establishment fails a sting, your customers and the public will know.  In most cases, signs are put up inside the store and your business name will appear in the local paper or on the news.  It can take a significant amount of time to recover from this negative PR, and the resulting costs can be substantial.


Some of these costs are fixed while others are hard to quantify. But these five costs of a failed sting make it clear that a lack of compliance can lead to real consequences for your business.

Ready to improve your compliance game and avoid the costs of a failed sting? Join the BARS Program today.

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