What is TIPS Certification For Restaurant Employees

Know How to Serve Alcohol Responsibly

Marco Maru

Any restaurant that serves alcohol should have its staff trained in the TIPS Certification. This program teaches staff how to know if a patron has had too much to drink and how to deal with drunk customers. It helps protect a restaurant owner from potential lawsuits stemming from alcohol related accidents. Some states, such as Utah, require that all employees who serve alcohol undergo some type of alcohol service safety training.

What is TIPS Certification?

TIPS stands for Training for Intervention Procedures. It gives advice on how to identify if someone has had too much to drink, and how to deal with them effectively. It also helps identify is someone isn't of age to drink alcohol.  

Why should I have my staff TIPS certified?

There are many benefits to training your wait staff in the TIPS program, including:

• More protection against alcohol liability lawsuits

• Lower insurance premiums

• Increased customer service

• Better understanding of both local and state liquor laws

How do I set up a TIPS Certification at my restaurant?

Contact a local TIPS trainer, which you can find through their website. The trainer can come to the restaurant and give a 3-5 hour session and administer the certification test. You can also send employees to a TIPS training at another location. A third option is eTIPS, an online TIPS training course that allows employees to work at their own pace.

All you have to do is purchase an eTIPS training passport for each employee you want to have alcohol training. It's important to note that not all states accept the online version of TIPS certification. Be sure to check with your local alcohol licensing agency for more information about the rules and regulations around TIPS certification.


How much does TIPS Certification cost?

Depending on the type of program you want to have offered, a TIPS training can cost between $15 and to over $30 per employee. For example, if you have a TIPS trainer come to your restaurant, a class can cost $300 for up to 20 employees. Contact your local state liquor enforcement agency to find out what type of TIPS training would be best for your restaurant. In some states, public health agencies offer TIPS and similar training programs free of charge to employers, as a way to ensure better public safety. 

Do I have to pay my employees to attend a TIPS Certification?

If you require that your restaurant staff attend a TIPS training in order to work at your restaurant, then yes, you should pay them. Remember that all staff need to be paid the full state minimum wage. So if your waitstaff are attending a TIPS training, you cannot pay them the tipped minimum wage.