'Damage Was Done': Bar Owner Suffers After Banning Employees From Drinking

Members of a popular internet forum were delighted after one former waiter revealed how his stingy boss inadvertently funneled a chunk of his restaurant's profits to a bar just around the corner.

In a viral Reddit post published on r/MaliciousCompliance, Redditor u/iamjayjayisme (otherwise referred to as the original poster, or OP) recounted a tale from his mid-twenties and explained how he and his friends found their new watering hole when their last one suddenly dried up.

Titled, "If I can't drink here, neither will my friends," the post has received nearly 18,000 votes and 95 percent upvotes in the last 10 hours.

Writing that he and a couple servers would routinely sit at their restaurant's bar for a few drinks after every shift, the original poster said the group always tipped well and that there was never an issue—until there was.

"One day...the owner out of nowhere decided that employees weren't allowed to drink at the bar anymore," OP wrote. "I asked the manager if we did anything wrong to warrant the rule change. He said the owner was just being a d**k."

Adding that a large group of his friends would routinely fill the bar every Thursday night, the original poster said that when he was banned from drinking at his place of employment, those same friends decided they'd rather drink somewhere else, too.

With his friends opting instead for another bar located "just around the corner," the original poster said their absence was noticed immediately and called into question just as quickly.

"Come [the next] Thursday around 9pm, I'm finishing up my shift as my manager approaches me...and asks, 'Hey man, are your friends on their way? They're usually three drinks in by now,'" OP wrote. "I calmly tell him, 'Well, they want to drink with me, and I'm not allowed to drink here.'"

"I walked out and joined my friends for a fun night," OP continued. "After a few weeks the owner noticed the dip in sales...and said we were allowed to drink at our bar again.

"However," OP added. "The damage was done."

While numerous states have passed laws prohibiting waitstaff, bartenders and other restaurant employees from drinking on the job, states without those laws often rely on other authorities to keep the booze in check.

Though some employees are allowed to drink while working and others—like bartenders—are sometimes encouraged to do so, many restaurants and bars have no interest in the molotov cocktail that is mixing business and pleasure.

Earlier this year, food website On The Line published insights from multiple restaurant owners and bar managers about the potential dangers associated with allowing drinking during and after shifts, and shed light on why strict, no-drinking policies are put into effect.

"With glass breaking, bottles flying, fire flaming, and water spilling, there's no need to add any more risk behind the bar," bar manager Sean Henderson told On The Line. "Any great bar manager knows that there are plenty of ways to accidentally injure yourself when you are completely sober.

"All of which are heightened with the addition of alcohol," Henderson added.

Drinking while working, however, is not the same as drinking after a shift and in some locations across the U.S., post-shift drinks can serve as an effective camaraderie builder for bar and restaurant employees.

But even when the drinks are off-the-clock, there is still the potential for precarity and in 2014, Hospitality Insurance Group reported that for bar staff especially, drinking after a shift can be even more dangerous than during.

"It is certainly not in the best interest of the owner to allow their employees to drink on premises after their shift," the Hospitality Insurance Group website reads. "By the time bar/restaurant employees are done with their shift, sometimes spending 12 or more hours on their feet, they are likely to be exhausted."

"Combine exhaustion with the effects of alcohol and you have a recipe for disaster," it continues.

Despite the dangers of allowing employees to drink, cutting off regular patrons can be costly, though.

Friends gather for drinks at a bar
Members of Reddit's r/MalciousCompliance forum backed one former waiter who rehashed some restaurant drama from his mid-twenties. millann/iStock / Getty Images Plus

Throughout the viral Reddit post, and the viral post's comment section, the original poster and other Redditors pointed to sales dips as reason to allow post-shift drinks and called out the bar owner for alienating a group of top customers.

Responding to the original poster's note that "the damage was done," Redditor u/NatalieTatalie commended OP and his friends for sticking together in the face of adversity.

"That's what I like to see!" they exclaimed. "There's no reason to give a place like that a second chance."

"Nice to see his bad behavior had consequences!" Redditor u/BouquetOfDogs added.

"Both malicious and unintended," Redditor u/KTB1962 chimed in. "Owner f**ked himself."

In a separate commenter, Redditor u/MogwaiChampion shifted focus from the original poster's former boss and lamented over policies prohibiting post-shift drinks.

"Not drinking while you are working - perfectly acceptable rule," they wrote. "Not being able to drink there after you are done working is just a plain stupid rule there for no reason at all."