7 Things to Look for When Hiring a Bar Security Company

7 Things to Look for in a Bar Security Company

When you run a bar, how can you protect both your patrons and your property? The best step you can take is to hire a quality security company to keep your establishment safe. Here are seven characteristics you need to look for in order to ensure that you hire the best bar security company.

1. The Number of Staff Must Be Adequate for the Venue

One of the first things to think about when planning for bar security is how big your bar is and how many patrons you have on a given night. Your security team must be staffed accordingly.

A good rule of thumb is to have one security guard for every 50 to 75 patrons that are in your establishment. For example, if your bar holds 125 people and you typically fill to capacity on the weekends, you need at least two guards, and you may even want three. On less busy nights, you may be able to get by with just one guard.

When you are considering which bar security company to hire, ask how many guards they can provide your establishment. Inquire about their availability for both weeknights and weekends. If the company can't guarantee enough staff to keep your security at adequate levels, look elsewhere.

2. The Employer Must Complete Background Checks

Security guards must themselves be secure individuals. In other words, you need assurance that the security staff members do not have a history of shady behavior. Otherwise, they could be a liability to your business.

A reputable security company will run background checks on all of the guards that they hire. They may also perform drug testing. Although the results of these checks are probably confidential, you should receive assurance from the company that their hiring process is rigorous and that all of their employees have passed their checks.

If their promises seem empty or they cannot provide details about how checks are conducted, it is wise to turn to a different company. A reputable security company will welcome your inquiries about their hiring process.

3. The Guards Must Be Familiar with Legal Issues Related to Bars

It's not uncommon for difficult situations to arise in a bar setting; many times, these tough scenarios involve legal issues. A security team must know what is expected in the establishment so they can take the right course of action. The reputation of your business and your own legal standing as a business owner can depend on it.

For example, underage drinking is a huge issue that can get establishments into a lot of trouble. The security team must know the legal age for entering a bar in your state and be prepared to enforce it.

They may also need to be willing to dismiss underage patrons who try to drink on-site. In the video "Camino Real Restaurant Loses License After Underage Drinking," see how serious the repercussions of allowing underage drinking can be. Security guards must be familiar with official identification used in your state and be able to spot fake IDs.

In some states, a bar can get in trouble for continuing to serve patrons who are clearly intoxicated. Your security team must understand the implications of these laws and be able to remove patrons who should no longer be served. This may require helping people find a safe way home instead of driving.

4. The Security Personnel Must Look in Control

Patrons will take seriously a security guard with an impressive presence. This has more to do with being calm, cool and collected than it does with being muscled and hulking. Confidence goes a long way in maintaining control.

Security guards do not need to draw extra attention to themselves. Instead, they should look clean and put together. A neat, well-groomed appearance can contribute to how seriously patrons take the guard.

Your security company should be able to present information on their guidelines for employee appearance. They should also be able to explain how they train their personnel in maintaining an authoritative presence.

5. The Company's Training Procedures Must Emphasize Good Communication

Being a security guard is about more than just being tough. Often the best way to handle a tense situation in the bar is not with physical force but with effective communication.

A security guard who is good at interpersonal relations knows what to say to an upset person. The ability to communicate calmly and clearly to an intoxicated person can be extremely effective in a bar setting. The guard may even be able to use humor to ease tensions.

A good security company will train its employees in effective communication practices. When interviewing companies, ask what value they place on communications skills and how they demonstrate that commitment.

6. There Must Be a Focus on Both Hospitality and Security

Bars are a part of the hospitality industry, so every person who works in the bar must make serving patrons a priority. Security guards are often the first people patrons see as they enter your establishment and the last ones they see as they walk out the door. Their demeanor toward customers will set the tone for people's perceptions of your bar.

As a measure of hospitality, security guards should be willing to answer questions or provide directions. They may also need to see patrons into a cab or help arrange a safe mode of transportation. Of course, they shouldn't let these tasks interfere with their primary responsibilities, but they should always be willing to lend a hand.

How does a security company encourage their guards to provide excellent service to clients and customers? Find out before welcoming their team into your establishment.

7. The Company Should Be Licensed and Bonded

When you hire a security team, you are trusting them with the safety of your business. Your future is in their hands. If something goes wrong on their end, you could be left holding a bill that sends you into financial ruin. Hiring a security company that is licensed, bonded and insured protects you against such a scenario.

Not every state requires licensing, bonding and liability insurance for security businesses, so don't just assume that the company you are considering has all of these bases covered.

Which of these characteristics in a bar security company is most important to you? Hiring the right company is one of the best things that you can do to help your bar run smoothly. Please leave questions in the comments, and share this article with your fellow bar owners.

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About the Author Richard Allen

Mr. Allen is the Founder & President of American Protect Bureau (APB). APB is a licensed, bonded and insured private security company. He is a well respected industry expert with extensive knowledge and over 25 years experience in all aspects of security and protection. Having personally provided security for some of the hottest nightclubs and highest profile people, he understands first-hand what it takes to ensure venues are protected and people are kept safe. Richard conveys this point to every single security guard employed by his company.