PLCB Compliance Means Risk Management for Your Business

1/13/2020
Operating a well-run establishment in the Pennsylvania Food and Beverage marketplace can be fun, profitable, and both personally and professionally rewarding. But it can also be risky and complicated. Managing all the different compliance requirements of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) and the enforcement regulations of the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement (BLCE) in addition to juggling employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, and public safety, can put a strain on the most experienced operators. So what can you do to make your life (and your business) a little less stressful (and perhaps more profitable?) Risk Management. And if you’re currently in compliance, you’re halfway there.

First, What Exactly IS Compliance?
Let’s be real here - nobody wants to talk about Compliance (except maybe the PLCB). It can be a never-ending chore to constantly stay on top of all the rules and regulations a licensed establishment must legally abide by. For example, per the PLCB: “Act 44 of 2017 allows the PLCB to immediately take away a licensed establishment’s ability to sell or serve alcohol when PLCB analysts find that a licensee doesn’t meet requirements in law or regulation related to seating, food, square footage, rooms, and health license authority.” (This would apply to an On-Premise establishment) And that’s ONLY ONE aspect of licensee compliance. The truth is, you can face fines, penalties, license suspension and/or revocation, even criminal charges for a whole host of reasons. Read our blog “Selling to Minors in Pennsylvania - PLCB Guidelines and Consequences”, and “Undercover Compliance Checks- BLCE Rules and Enforcement Tactics” for information on additional compliance issues. BLCE Enforcement Programs also lists operations for everything from “Nuisance Bar” investigations, Border Patrols, and Gambling in establishments, among others.

Now, what’s Risk Management?
Because operating an alcohol establishment is complex and multi-faceted, paying attention to (and being in) compliance can actually work in your favor. Now you’re asking - OK, HOW exactly? There are so many aspects of compliance to keep in line, how do you turn it into an advantage? The PLCB said it best in its 2018 PLCB Retail Licensee Seminar. “From a risk management perspective, your first line of defense should be RAMP training for ALL employees.” Straight from the horse’s mouth, this is pretty high-value advice. The truth is, if your employees are RAMP Server/Seller trained, or even better, if your establishment is RAMP Certified, you’re proactively defending your license, your employees, your patrons, your community, and your livelihood! Read our blogs “The Benefits of RAMP Certification” and “RAMP Certification vs. Server/Seller Training - What’s the Difference?” for more detailed information on just how important RAMP training and certification is.
Risk Management in this industry starts with being committed to staying in compliance with mandatory guidelines such as training your employees, and evolves into a mindset, or a state-of-being - that values excellent performance above all else, which will keep your staff safe and happy, delight your customers, and transform your business into a safe, enjoyable, and profitable establishment.
How Compliance = Risk Management
1. Business Success - In order to stay legal, keep your doors open, and make money - you have to know and abide by PLCB rules and regulations - pretty simple (and you already know that).
2. Employee Safety - When your employees are Server/Seller trained and/or your business is RAMP Certified, you’re educating and informing your staff on safe and responsible policies and procedures - in a uniform way. Accidents, injuries, and liquor code infractions can be prevented when everyone’s on the same page and playing by the same rulebook. Accidents and injuries can dramatically affect the productivity of your team, increase health insurance premiums, and increase workers’ compensation claims.
3. Public Safety - This one is critical. If your employees aren’t properly trained, selling or serving alcohol to underage or intoxicated people puts the public at risk in many ways - injuries, accidents, and even fatalities can result from improper selling and/or serving of alcoholic beverages. Even if you’re nowhere near the premises, if you’re the licensee, it’s on you.
4. PLCB License Record - Your license record with the PLCB is important (as if you didn’t know that already). Infractions of the Liquor Code can increase your liquor liability insurance and open you up to civil lawsuits based on Dram Shop rules. Word gets around pretty fast when businesses start coming up against PCLB infractions or BCLE busts. If you slip up and serve an underage customer or fail an undercover sting, even ONCE, you could have your license revoked - it’s totally at the PLCB’s discretion.
5. Reputation in the Community - Local news, social media, and hugely popular crowd-based rating forums (e.g. Yelp), (as well as good ol’ fashioned word of mouth) can have a “do or die” impact on your reputation. As mentioned above, just like one bad experience can have an exponential ripple effect on your good name, so can a positive review - increasing your customer base and your profits. If you’re running a tight ship, creating a fun and safe atmosphere, not only will your customers love you, your employees will too, reducing your turnover.
6. Responsible Best Practices, a.k.a “Doing the Right Thing” - Sometimes amid the hustle and grind of daily business, trying to succeed in a competitive marketplace, we might lose sight of this old-fashioned adage. Just being an ethical business owner/operator. Running your business in compliance with laws and regulations and training your employees to do the same isn’t just something we need to do to survive, it’s the RIGHT thing to do!

Conclusion
Achieving and maintaining compliance with PLCB rules and regulations is key to the survival of your business, but it’s also the best way to proactively engage in risk management. By doing everything you can to actively participate with the PLCB programs (RAMP Server/Seller Training, RAMP Certification, and the PLCB Licensee Compliance Program), you’re protecting your employees, customers, and your business from the many risks that can arise from non-compliance. Not only is staying in compliance the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do. Again, PLCB put it best: “From a risk management perspective, your first line of defense should be RAMP training for ALL employees.” Start there and see where it takes you and your business!


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!

   

RAMPtraining.com 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.



Contact Us for Your FREE RAMP Compliance Consultation Sources:
https://www.lcb.pa.gov/Licensing/Pages/Licensee-Compliance-Program.aspx
https://www.psp.pa.gov/LCE/Pages/default.aspx
https://www.lcb.pa.gov/Licensing/Topics-of-Interest/Pages/Liquor-Licensing-and-Enforcement.aspx
https://www.lcb.pa.gov/Licensing/Documents/Licensee%20Food%20Guidelines.pdf
https://www.lcb.pa.gov/Licensing/Documents/Investigation%20and%20Suspension%20Process.pdf
https://www.lcb.pa.gov/Licensing/Documents/License%20Requirements%20by%20License%20Type.pdf
http://paliquorlaw.com/2017/12/plcb-introduces-new-licensee-compliance-program/
https://www.lcb.pa.gov/Licensing/ResourcesForLicensees/Documents/Retail%20Licensee%20Seminar%208.22.18.pdf
https://www.psp.pa.gov/LCE/Pages/Types-of-Enforcement.aspx
https://www.lcb.pa.gov/Licensing/Topics-of-Interest/Pages/Nuisance-Bar-Program.aspx