A much-loved Vancouver restaurant has been fined $7,000 after being caught serving a minor in a Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch sting.
Popular West Broadway sushi restaurant The Excellent Eatery was visited at random by two branch agents March 26. With them was a minor agent under 19.
The minor entered the Eatery first and was seated at a table. The inspectors followed and were given their choice of tables, selecting the one next to the minor.
The inspectors had a clear line of sight of the minor agent at all times.
A server gave the minor cutlery and took their order for a beer.
"When the beer was delivered, the minor left followed by the inspectors,” case adjudicator Dianne Flood said in the newly release Sept. 18 decision.
“At no time was the minor agent asked to produce identification, nor could she have provided any as her own identification was being held by the inspectors,” Flood said.
An inspector then informed a staff member of the alleged contravention and took a photo of the beer.
“The licensee does not dispute that the server did not ask for identification and sold liquor to a minor but claims a defence of due diligence,” Flood said.
Flood said the Eatery’s policy is to request identification from anyone ordering liquor who appears to be under 30.
She said the restaurant co-managers hold staff meetings about every three or four months and topics always include liquor service.
The server was told not to come in for two weeks after the incident.
The branch noted the restaurant had training deficiencies, including a lack of a written policy manual to be provided to staff, a written checklist and tests. The lack of an incident log was also called a failure.
The eatery told Flood training includes information about the harms to minors of the consumption of liquor, and that new servers are given very clear instructions to identify anyone who looks to be under 30.
It said a manual, while not provided to staff, is used as guide in the training. The eatery said they ensure new servers have read and understood the Serving it Right guide and that the guide is pinned on the operation’s Slack for easy access.
Flood found The Excellent Eatery had gaps in its policy system and that an out-dated policy manual was not given to employees. She said testing of employees would assist in employee training.
“I have identified a number of areas where I find the licensee’s training and systems in relation to prohibiting the sale of liquor to minors are not adequate,” Flood said. “On that basis, I conclude the licensee has failed to establish the defence of due diligence at the time of the contravention of the sale of liquor to a minor and find imposition of a penalty is warranted.”
Flood said the licensee has a long history without branch or police warnings.