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How to Manage Underage Servers and the Holiday Bustle

During the holiday season, many restaurants and bars must hire extra staff to meet increased demand. This is good news, of course, but it can be complicated if you can’t find enough people to hire who are 21 or older.


So what about hiring that influx of college students home on break? Is it legal for people under 21 to sell and serve alcohol? And what special considerations do you need to make if you do hire underage bartenders and servers?


Rules for Underage Servers in Colorado


Colorado has a law that allows people over the age of 18 to serve and sell alcohol. Generally, the rule is that servers and bartenders who are between the ages of 18 and 21 may serve wine, beer, and spirits, but there must be a manager on the premises at all times. We recommend checking with your local restaurant association for more specific rules and regulations. In certain instances, underage servers may be restricted to taking an order but not actually pouring and delivering the drink.


Don’t Let the Busy Season Affect Compliance


Between holiday parties and general merriment, you are likely anticipating a busy few weeks. But that doesn't mean compliance should slip by the wayside (in fact, the frequency of stings often increases during the holiday season!).


Your specific compliance program must be stressed to all new employees, but we recommend taking special care to communicate your ID-ing practice to underage servers. Some may feel uncomfortable asking for ID from older customers, so it is critical that they know the potential consequences of a failed sting.


Please contact us at any time if you have questions about how to continue enforcing a compliance program during the holiday rush. You can reach us at or 1-877-540-5500.

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