That’s the idea laid out by a story in USA Today, anyway. After some after-shift drinks at Charleston’s Husk resulted in a restaurant employee causing a fatal car accident, and the subesequent ruling that the restaurant’s parent company was responsible, restaurant owners are, in theory, cracking down on staff drinking. The problem is, there isn’t much evidence to support the claim.
The president of Neighborhood Dining Group, the company that owns Husk, says they’ve had a zero-tolerance policy in place since 1991. "I don’t believe that staff should consume alcohol in the workplace, period."
And yet, the attorney representing the crash victim’s family says, "In depositions, the majority of non-management employees … drank during or after their shifts." And anyone who’s ever worked in a restaurant knows this isn’t exactly "news," since it’s a very common practice.
Anyway, Neighborhood Dining Group introduced "an even harder-line policy" that includes sercurity cameras, but that’s about as far as the story goes. The National Restaurant Association refused comment; there’s little else to indicate that any restaurants have toned down staff drinking. So, whether this tragedy will actually cause restaurateurs to reevaluate staff drinking remains to be seen. Given that it’s a huge part of the industry’s culture, we’re going to go out on a limb and say it won’t.