California Responsible Beverage Service Training Standards

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Responding to and building on interest in the field of responsible beverage service, the California Coordinating Council on Responsible Beverage Service (CCC/RBS) was created in 1992. Founded as a three-year statewide project, the CCC/RBS is funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety through the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs, and is administered by the Responsible Hospitality Institute. Comprised of diverse representation from traffic safety, law enforcement and public health, the hospitality and retail beverage industry and community groups, the project seeks to develop program standards for responsible beverage service training. The creation of a Standards Committee to develop draft standards was among the first actions taken by the newly formed group.

The Standards Committee wanted first to determine if there existed relevant models of program standardization that may be duplicated in California. After developing a national survey and reviewing the data garnered from over forty-nine states and jurisdictions, committee members invited consultants experienced in RBS program development to attend a three-day meeting to begin the process of defining and developing the framework for standards.

That December, 1992 meeting articulated four significant concepts which provided a foundation for standards development:

1. Improve public health and safety

2. Enhance professionalism of those in hospitality service occupations

3. Improve the business viability of responsible licensed establishments

4. Establish community norms for responsible beverage service practices

With regard to curricula, three levels of training were identified as necessary. These levels would correspond to the type of beverage service provided by the trainee, and are defined as:

1. Non-professional servers/volunteers

2. Professional servers

3. Managers

Management training is seen as an area that represents the most important and potentially most significant focus for RBS training. Meeting participants were of the opinion that all levels of training must also be made available in languages other than English, and should be presented in a manner that is culturally sensitive.

Included in the standards development are qualifications for instructors and RBS program providers. The value of an instructor's experience versus education was acknowledged, as was the importance of a provider's general fiscal viability and program integrity.

These initial standards were subsequently reviewed by the full Standards Committee, which agreed that some method of evaluation must be developed in order for the consumer to assess the relative worth of a potential RBS training program. Draft assessment forms for curriculum, instructors and providers were then developed as a means for the consumer - retailer, certification body, government, etc. - to generally gauge the overall program quality and make an informed decision.

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