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In 1982, Dr. Morris Chafetz, founding director of the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, developed the first TIPS program. His goal was to create a program that would give bartenders and waiters the skills and confidence they need to prevent their customers from becoming too intoxicated.
TIPS for On Premise was born.
The response to TIPS first program was so overwhelming that they very quickly developed other commercial versions of the program: Off Premise, Concessions and Social Functions. (The latest commercial program, TIPS for Casinos, was released in January 1998.) The hospitality industry was so excited about this new approach to responsible service that TIPS couldn’t schedule workshops fast enough.
The feedback from the trainees was overwhelming. They were grateful to finally have a program that went beyond just telling them the laws and scaring them about over-serving someone. But they also raised an interesting point. Why did all the responsibility for preventing intoxication fall on their shoulders? From their perspective, that responsibility lay just as much with the consumer as it did with them.
From that feedback emerged the TIPS for consumers programs: University, Parents and Workplace. While still using the basic format of the original programs, these versions trained people to intervene with their peers and colleagues who were consuming alcohol when out in social settings. With the addition of these versions, TIPS now had a program that approached the problem of intoxication from all sides.
With the format and philosophy of the program well established, TIPS focused their efforts on building the best quality control in the industry. TIPS started by creating the most extensive record-keeping system of all server training programs. The records have been used in courts, by liquor boards and internally by corporate clients to verify training and certifications. TIPS also developed policies and procedures, as well as internal checking mechanisms, to ensure consistent, high-quality training.
These efforts have produced results. The insurance industry grants TIPS certified clients discounts of up to 25% off of liquor liability premiums. Courts recognize TIPS as the standard for server training programs. Liquor boards mitigate fines and penalties for establishments with violations who either use TIPS training or acquire it after the fact.
In 17 years, TIPS has certified over 25,000 trainers and almost 1,000,000 servers nationwide. There are TIPS certified people in all 50 states and 22 foreign countries. All of this has been done with one purpose in mind — to educate and inform the public about the responsible use of alcohol.