What is Responsible Beverage Service Training?

In California, Responsible Beverage Service (RBS) training is required for all alcohol sellers and servers. The purpose of RBS training is to prevent sales of alcohol to minors and obviously intoxicated persons and to reduce problems related to excessive alcohol consumption. Servers learn how to check IDs, refuse sales to minors and cut off customers who have had too much to drink.

The Law Behind RBS Training

In California, all alcohol sellers and servers must be trained in accordance with Section 25503 of the Business and Professions Code. This section requires that all licensees who sell or serve alcoholic beverages complete an approved RBS training course. The ABC is responsible for approving RBS training courses and provides a list of vendors that provide the training.

Failing to Have An RBS Certificate

If you are caught selling or serving alcohol without an RBS certificate, you can be fined up to $1000 and your license can be suspended for up to 30 days. If you are a business owner, you can be fined up to $5000. In addition, if someone is injured or killed as a result of underage drinking or excessive alcohol consumption, you can be held liable.

RBS training is not only required by law, but it is also good for business. By preventing sales to minors and intoxicated persons, you can avoid liability claims and save money on insurance premiums. In addition, RBS trained employees are less likely to make mistakes that could cost your business money.

Who Needs An RBS Certificate?

In California, all employees who sell or serve alcohol must be certified within 30 days of being hired and must maintain their certification by taking a refresher course every three years. This includes waiters, bartenders, clerks, security personnel and owners/operators of establishments that sell alcohol.

What Does RBS Training Cover?

Topics covered in RBS training programs include:

  • The effects of alcohol on the human body
  • How to check ID
  • Ways to refuse a sale
  • Determining when a customer has had too much to drink
  • Strategies for handling difficult situations

Where Can You Get RBS Training?

RBS training is typically provided by private companies that are approved by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC). Most programs are four hours long and cost around $40. Some employers will reimburse employees for the cost of training. Check with your employer to see if this is an option.

Is the Training Online or In-Person?

RBS training can be taken in-person (where available) or online. Several ABC-approved providers offer the training through online modules. The restaurant / bar employee will watch videos covering RBS requirements and be quizzed on different topics. Once the training is completed, the ABC-approved provider sends the information to the ABC and a certificate is awarded to the employee.

Key Conclusions

  • RBS training is required for all alcohol sellers and servers in California.
  • The purpose of the training is to prevent sales of alcohol to minors and obviously intoxicated persons.
  • Most RBS training programs are four hours long and cost around $40.
  • The training can be taken in-person or online through an ABC-approved provider.

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