Designated Driver Ideas for Bar Owners

Did you know that a person dies from an alcohol related traffic incident every 48 minutes? If you own a bar, this statistic is especially troubling. You want your patrons to have a great time at your establishment, but you want to be sure that they stay safe. You and your staff are responsible and stop serving those who need to be cut off, and you call the police if needed. Beyond that, there are a few things you can do to make sure your customers get home safely while making sure they have fun. Changing the perception of the designated driver’s role at your bar will encourage more individuals to be responsible, sober drivers for their friends.

House Rules

Make it a requirement for groups of patrons to have a designated driver before they even enter the bar. As your door person checks IDs, have him or her make sure that a designated driver has been determined. Your door person can facilitate a short straw game or something similar for groups who have not decided. Once the designated driver is chosen, have your door person give that person a VIP wristband that will give him or her access to special perks all night.

Determine how your VIP wristband program will work. Do you want to reward drivers with free non-alcoholic beverages? Maybe a snack at the bar? Consider discounting the designated driver’s cover charge, or even handing the DD a coupon for a cab ride for the next time they come in. Make the rewards clear to your patrons as incentive to be designated drivers in the future.

Test the Limit

How can you be sure that the VIP designated drivers aren’t sneaking drinks? Purchase a breathalyzer (they cost between $100 and $150) or some single-shot breathalyzers ($2 to $5) and require designated drivers to blow when they are ready to cash in on their rewards. Make sure that your staff sticks to the same standard for alcohol tolerance. The legal limit is 0.08%, but considering that the designated driver needs to be sober, your limit should be much lower.

Saying Thanks

Having special incentives and rewards for designated drivers makes their experience more enjoyable. Not only will your VIP designated drivers have fun, they will also be more likely to volunteer for the role again—if their friends don’t step up first to take advantage of the rewards you offer!