Is RAMP Server/Seller Training Required - and Who Is It For?

If you own or operate an establishment that serves or sells alcohol in Pennsylvania, you already know that your employees must be RAMP trained. But what does that really mean? MUST? Like, if they’re not trained, then what? And while we’re at it, WHO needs to be trained? Do dishwashers, cooks, and hostesses need to be RAMP trained? Bartenders and servers? Is RAMP mandatory for the bouncers and doormen? And what about the managers? (We’ll get to that in a second). It’s time to clear it all up and go over WHO MUST be trained, and WHY.

Who Needs RAMP Server/Seller Training?
Per the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB), “NOTE: 2016 Liquor Code changes now require that anyone hired on or after Aug. 8, 2016, who serves or sells alcoholic beverages and/or checks IDs – including bartenders, waiters, beer distributor sales persons, bouncers, doorpersons, etc. – must complete RAMP server/seller training within six months of being hired by a licensee, unless the person successfully completed RAMP server/seller training prior to being hired.” You’ve probably all seen that up on the LCB website by now. For more clarification on some of the intricacies of RAMP training compliance, read our blog “The RAMP Rules - Let’s Clear Some Things Up”.

In the PLCB’s 2018 Retail Licensee Seminar Presentation, a definition of “alcohol service personnel” is given as such: “‘Alcohol service personnel’ is defined as any employee of a licensee such as a bartender, waiter whose primary responsibility includes the resale, furnishing or serving of liquor or malt or brewed beverages. It also means any employee, such as a doorperson, whose primary responsibility is to ascertain the age of individuals who are attempting to enter the licensed premises.”

So that’s pretty clear (to an extent). Now, what about distributors, convenience stores, liquor stores, catering companies, and other businesses who serve or sell alcohol? Well, the same rules apply. If it’s an employee’s primary responsibility to handle alcohol, they need to be trained. So, let’s take a look at a few examples. We’ll break it down by establishment type and by employee position.

Types of Establishments & Employee Positions
1. Liquor Stores - Cashiers, and doormen if there is an ID check upon entering the premises. (Some liquor stores might check ID at the door).
2. Convenience and Grocery Stores - Cashiers who sell alcohol and check ID at the register. If there is a sampling event at the grocery store involving alcohol, an additional permit may be required.
3. Catering Companies and/or Events - Cashiers, Servers, and Bartenders at catering events.
4. Bars and Restaurants - Doormen or Bouncers checking ID, Servers, Bartenders, Runners.
5. Breweries & Distributors - Anyone involved in transporting, serving (e.g. a tasting event at the brewery), or delivery personnel accepting payment for delivered alcoholic goods.

So, the takeaway here is basically exactly what the PLCB says - anyone whose primary responsibility is selling or serving (or furnishing) alcohol MUST be RAMP trained. The cooks, busboys, hostesses, dishwashers, and restroom attendants are not required to be RAMP trained - UNLESS, for example - the dishwasher is actually a bartender (or other alcohol personnel) who only washes dishes when needed.

Who Needs RAMP Owner/Manager Training?
So now, what about the Owner/Manager training? Well, the PLCB requires that every licensee has a PLCB-Approved Manager on file with the state. Per the PLCB: “Owner/Manager Training focuses on those individuals most responsible for determining daily operations and policies of the licensed establishment — the owner and manager. Newly approved managers of certain license types are required to complete owner/manager training within 180 days of approval of appointment by the PLCB, unless the appointed manager has successfully completed training within two years prior to being appointed a manager.” Now, only the PLCB-Approved Manager must take the Owner/Manager training (other managers besides the PLCB Manager aren’t required to take it) HOWEVER, the owner/manager ALSO must take the RAMP Server/Seller training IF they are going to be serving alcohol or checking IDs.

The question at hand - Is RAMP training REALLY required? And for Whom? Well, we know now that certain categories defined as “alcohol personnel” by the PLCB MUST be trained. For consequences of non-compliance in training your staff, you may want to check out our blog “Selling to Minors in Pennsylvania - PLCB Guidelines and Consequences” which outlines some scary consequences in the event of this type of infraction. “Undercover Compliance Checks - PLCB Rules and BLCE Enforcement Tactics” also explains how the agencies conduct and enforce the liquor code, and what may happen if your employees aren’t trained (or what may NOT happen if you’re totally in compliance). Bottom line - RAMP training is mandatory and required of your staff whose primary responsibility is serving/selling/furnishing alcohol, or checking ID. The PLCB said “From a risk management perspective, your first line of defense should be RAMP training for ALL your employees.” Check out “PLCB Compliance Means Risk Management for Your Business” for more on risk management. So, remember the dishwashers and busboys, the hostesses and restroom attendants? You may want to train them too! If you have an eligible staff member who is not current with their training, it could mean big trouble for your business. So, train your employees. Better safe than sorry!

If you have any questions at all concerning RAMP Certification or RAMP Server/Seller Training, we’re here to make your life (and your business) worry-free. We’re currently offering a FREE 15-minute telephone consultation with our Compliance Expert, in which you can talk about anything and everything RAMP-related and get solid business advice. No Strings Attached. You can grab this opportunity just by clicking here and reserving a calendar spot, or fill out the form below to have us call you directly. Either way is fine - and it’s up to you! is the largest and most widely used online RAMP Server/Seller training provider in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, with over 75,000 people trained. Our team collectively has over 25 years of regulatory compliance training experience and 95% of our users pass the RAMP course on the first attempt. We’re experts in the industry and we’re here to help you and your business succeed.

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