Sample Essay on The Liquor Control Reform Act 1998

The Liquor Control Reform Act 1998

Introduction

This report focuses its attention on Sezar Restaurant. The restaurant is located at the central business unit of Melbourne city in one of the Nonda Katsalidis’ buildings. For the first time, the restaurant was opened in Melbourne city in November 2013 (Sezar, 2016). Since that time, the restaurant has served many people that consider it as a contemporary Armenian restaurant at the heart of Melbourne. The business is registered under its brand name and it has between twenty and thirty-five employees. Majority of these people are waiters and waitresses. The restaurant occupies two floors of the building and it can serve 40 guests in a private dining, 150 guests in an exclusive standing mode and 100 guests in a sit down mode. In this sense, then the restaurant is relatively big. Majority of its cuisines are Armenian ones and they include michag, bzdig, kove, and medz. The cocktails include bubbly Armenian; hayk’s arrow; the battle on Lake Sevan; Sezar express; good fortune; bachik; song of the Italian girl and spiced espresso martini. The mocktails include peach fizz, once upon a thyme and yarkhushta. The restaurant is licensed to serve both dishes and alcoholic drinks. The restaurant is owned by the Black Toro (Sezar, 2016).

The liquor reform act

Liquor control reform act 1998
Obligation How the business actually complies
Providing free drinking water to the patrons – part 7, section 99A – under this obligation, the licensee has the responsibility of ensuring that there is free drinking water in the premises. Besides doing this, a licensee has the responsibility of providing that water to patrons whenever they request for it (The Chief Parliamentary Counsel, 2013). The obligation does not specify the manner in which the process should take place. As a result, the manner in which the water is provided to the patrons is upon the licensee to decide. This being the case, the licensee might provide the patrons with free drinking water whenever they request for it or place the water on the table for patrons to serve themselves. Although this is the case, the most important aspect of this obligation is that drinking water should be considered available. To comply with this obligation, the waiters and waitresses provide customers with water whenever they request for it. At other times, they just place the water on the tables for customers to serve themselves.
Registering the business –part 7, section 98A – under this obligation, the owners of the business are mandated with registering their business with the commission. In doing so, the owners of the business are also expected to register the addresses for their businesses with the commission (Trifonoff et al., 2011). To comply with this obligation, the owners of the restaurant have registered their business as Sezar restaurant. This is evident from the business permits hanging on the walls of the restaurant. As for the addresses, it would not be possible to possible to tell whether the owners of the restaurant have registered them or not. However, based on the fact that they have registered their business, it would be reasonable to believe that they have also registered the addresses of the restaurant.
Notifying the commission of the changes made to the addresses – part 7, 98B – in case the addresses of the business are changed, business owners have the responsibility of communicating the changes to the commission as soon as possible. The time within which business owners must notify the commission is not specified. Since the restaurant was opened in November 2013, it is highly likely that the addresses of the restaurant have not been changed.
Providing refreshments – part 7, 99 – once a licensee has been licensed to conduct the liquor business, the licensee is responsible for stocking the business with the liquor ready for sale. Upon doing this, the licensee should provide that liquor to customers whenever they request for it (The Chief Parliamentary Counsel, 2013). However, this is dependent on the availability of the liquor in the premises. This means that the obligation ceases to operate whenever the liquor is not in the premises or in supply. To comply with this obligation, the restaurant is stocked with a number of drinks and customers are provided with these drinks whenever they request for them.
Displaying copies of licenses on the premises – part 7, section 101 – Under this obligation, a licensee has the responsibility of displaying the most recent business permit within the licensed premises. The obligation does not specify where the permit should be displayed, but it states clearly that the place should be conspicuous. It further states that the permit(s) should be displayed in a manner that invites public attention (The Chief Parliamentary Counsel, 2013). To comply with this obligation, the restaurant’s business permits are well displayed at the counter.
Providing a plan of the licensed premises to the commission – part 7, section 101A – under this obligation, the licensee has the responsibility of providing the commission with a current depiction or plan of the licensed premises. In order for the licensee to do this, the commission should write to the licensee and specify the form of the plan or depiction. Once the licensee receives the written requirement, the licensee should comply with the requirement as soon as possible. Upon receiving the plan or depiction, the commission may certify that the plan or depiction received is in the right form. However, the commission is not under any obligation to do so. Therefore, he/she may certify or not certify (The Chief Parliamentary Counsel, 2013). At the time of conducting this study, it was not possible to tell whether the restaurant had complied with this obligation or not because at this time it was not possible to tell whether the restaurant had received a written requirement from the commission requesting for the plan or not.
Retaining and producing premise’s plan for inspection – part 7, section 101B – Under this obligation, a licensee has the responsibility of keeping a copy of the plan or depiction of the premises that was submitted to the commission. This copy should be kept in the licensed premises meaning that business owners should not keep it in their homes and claim to comply with the act. Besides doing this, a licensee must produce that copy whenever asked to do so by either a member of liquor inspectorate or the police force (The Chief Parliamentary Counsel, 2013). At the time of conducting this study, it was not also possible to tell whether the restaurant had complied with this obligation or not because at this time it was not possible to tell whether the restaurant had received a written requirement from the commission requesting for the plan or not.
Displaying notices required by the commission – part 7, section 102 – Under this obligation, a license has the responsibility of making sure that all the notices that the commission requires to be displayed in the licensed premises are displayed. While doing this, a licensee has the responsibility of complying with the format, manner and size of the notice as imposed by the commission (Trifonoff et al., 2011). To comply with this obligation, the restaurant has displayed a number of notices.
Letting the premises should not take place without commission’s consent – part 7, section 105 – Under this obligation, a licensee has the responsibility of making sure that if any part of the licensed premises is let or sub-let to other business people, then the practice should be consented by the commission. The same case should apply if a licensee was to assign the rights of supplying liquor to any other business that is not authorized to conduct liquor business. For the above to occur, a licensee should request the commission for permission to do so. Such a practice would attract a fee that would be specified as per the regulations (The Chief Parliamentary Counsel, 2013). This obligation does not apply to the restaurant because the restaurant has not assigned the rights of selling liquor to other businesses. At the same time, it has not sub-let any part of its licensed premises.
Control over supply of liquor – part 7, section 106 – under this obligation, a licensee is mandated with ensuring that another person or business does not engage in liquor business within the licensed premises without the consent of the commission. At the same time, a licensee is mandated with ensuring that a person who is not an employee at the premises does not engage in liquor business within the licensed premises. If a licensee was to allow this to happen, a licensee would have to pay a fee that would be specified by the commission (Trifonoff et al., 2011). To comply with this obligation, the restaurant does not allow other businesses to engage in liquor business within its premises. More importantly, the restaurant does not allow non-employees to sell liquor within its premises.
Responsibility

 

The responsibility of ensuring that the restaurant is registered and that its addresses are deposited with the commission lies squarely on the business owners. These people are also responsible for notifying the commission of any change they make on the restaurant’s addresses. Other responsibilities that lie on the hands of business owners include providing the commission with the plan or depiction of the premises; ensuring that business permits are renewed at the end of their terms; retaining and sometimes producing the copy of the plan of the restaurant that has been submitted to the commission; and ensuring that the restaurant is not let or sub-let to other people without the consent of the commission.

 

The general manager of the restaurant, on the other hand, is responsible for ensuring that the restaurants has sufficient amount of liquor. Besides doing this, the general manager with the help of the front house manager is also responsible for ensuring that customers are provided with the liquor whenever they request for it. Although this is the case, customers have to pay for the liquor either before or after they take them. The fact that the act says that customers should be provided with the liquor whenever they request for it does not mean that they should not pay for it. Instead, it tries to limit the restaurant from hoarding the liquor or selling it in a discriminatory manner. The general manager once again with the help of the front house manager is also responsible for ensuring that the copies of licenses are displayed on conspicuous places of the restaurant. He is also responsible for ensuring that other people or businesses do not engage in liquor businesses within the restaurants without the consent of the commission.

 

The front house manager who works hand in hand with the general manager is responsible for ensuring that waiters and waitress provide patrons with free drinking water whenever they request for it. Although this is the case, customers may buy bottled water if they choose to do so. This does not limit the restaurant from selling bottled water as it does. Besides doing this, the front house manager is also responsible for ensuring that customers are provided with refreshments whenever they ask for them.

 

The waiters and waitress of the restaurant are responsible for providing patrons with free drinking water whenever they request for it. These people are also responsible for providing customers with liquors whenever they request for them. However, because these people might violate these responsibilities, the front house manager usually plays a critical role on these issues. He ensures that customers get what they want by supervising waiters and waitress and sometimes receiving feedbacks from customers.

Possible penalties  
If the restaurant management team or owners were to allow an unlicensed business to engage in liquor business within the restaurant without the consent of the commission, the restaurant owners would be liable to pay a fine of sixty units. Based on the current penalty unit, the fine would be about $9,327.60. The same amount of penalty would apply if the restaurant management or owners were to allow a person who is not an employee at the restaurant to engage in liquor business within the restaurant.
If the liquor would be in supply and the restaurant would not provide customers with that liquor whenever they request for it, the restaurant would commit an offense and it would be liable to a penalty of five units.
If the owners of the restaurant or its management team would assign the rights of supply of licensed liquors and/or let or sub-let any part of the restaurant to anybody else without the consent of the commission, Sezar restaurant would be found guilty of contravening the act and it would be liable to pay a penalty of sixty units. This would be a fine of about $9,327.60 (Victoria Legal Aid, 2016).
If the restaurant would not provide the commission with the current depiction or plan of the licensed premises, the restaurant would be liable to pay a penalty of ten units. Based on the current penalty units in Victoria, ten units in this case would represent a fine of $1554.60 (Victoria Legal Aid, 2016). However, for Sezar restaurant to be found guilty of this offense, the commission should have sent the restaurant a written requirement requiring the restaurant to comply with it. As a result, if the commission would not send the written requirement, the restaurant would not be guilty of the offense.
If Sezar restaurant would not keep a copy of the plan or depiction of the premises that was submitted to the commission within the licensed premises, the restaurant would be liable to pay a fine of ten units. Going by the current figure of the penalty unit, Sezar restaurant would pay a fine of $1554.60 (Victoria Legal Aid, 2016). At the same time, if Sezar restaurant would not produce that copy whenever asked by the police force or a member of the liquor inspectorate for inspection, the restaurant would be liable to pay a similar amount of fine.
If Sezar restaurant would not display the notices that the commission requires to be displayed within the restaurant’s premises, Sezar restaurant would be liable to pay a fine of five units. If while displaying the notices Sezar restaurant would not comply with the format, size or the manner of the notice, the restaurant would be liable to pay a similar amount of fine.
Suggestions

 

In order to enhance compliance with providing customers with free drinking water and liquors whenever they request for them, it would be important for the restaurant’s management team to consider placing a suggestion box at the exit of the restaurant. Such a suggestion box would among other things enable the restaurant’s management team to receive complaints from disgruntled customers. In the process of receiving complaints, the management team would understand whether its employees do comply with the act or not. If the employees do not comply with the act, the management team should ensure that its employees rectify that issue. If it would not be possible to have a suggestion box in the restaurant, it would be important for the front house manager to consider receiving responses from customers as they exit the restaurant. At the same time, it would be important to consider printing some survey questions on a small piece of paper and place them on the table for customers to fill them. Such survey questions should focus much of their attention on free drinking water and the liquors even if they might address other issues (Roberts, & Eldridge, 2012). Doing so would help the restaurant’s management team to understand whether its employees comply with the act or not.

 

To ensure that the restaurant displays notices as per the commission’s requirement, it would be important for the restaurant’s management team to consider displaying more notices on the premise’s walls. For this issue, the fact that the restaurant sells some alcoholic substances it is highly likely that the restaurant is obligated by the law to display some notices relating to alcoholic substances. For example, it is highly likely that the restaurant is supposed to display a notice indicating that alcoholic substances are not for sale to under aged persons (Voon, Mitchell, & Liberman, 2014). Based on this fact, it would be important for the restaurant’s management team to consider displaying more notices on its premise’s wall. This would help the restaurant to comply with the act and protect it from being found guilty of violating the act.

 

With regard to displaying business permit and other licenses at a conspicuous place and in a manner that attracts public attention, the restaurant should consider placing these documents at a conspicuous place. Right now, although the restaurant’s management displays these licenses on one part of the premise’s walls, the licenses are not at a conspicuous place. Based on this fact, the restaurant should consider hanging the licenses maybe at the entrance of the restaurant or another place that would be conspicuous.

 

At the same time, with regard to ensuring that free drinking water in the restaurant would be considered to be readily available, it would be important for the restaurant’s management team to ensure that each table has a container of water for customers to serve themselves without necessarily asking for it. Doing this would minimize the incidences that waiters and waitresses would violate the act thereby it would put the restaurant on the safe side as far as the act is concerned.

 

References

Roberts, M., & Eldridge, A. (2012). Planning the night-time city. New York: Routledge.

Sezar. (2016). About. Retrieved from http://sezar.com.au/about/

The Chief Parliamentary Counsel. (2013). Liquor control reform act 1998: no. 94 of 1998. Retrieved from http://www.legislation.vic.gov.au/Domino/Web_Notes/LDMS/LTObject_Store/LTObjSt7.nsf/DDE300B846EED9C7CA257616000A3571/70AC1BBE193EBF8BCA257B10001DF528/$FILE/98-94aa067%20authorised.pdf

Trifonoff, A. et al. (2011). A jurisdictional breakdown: an examination of liquor licensing legislation in Australia as at December 2010. National center for education and training on addiction (NCETA): Flinders University, Adelaide, SA.

Victoria Legal Aid. (2016). Penalty units. Retrieved from https://www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/find-legal-answers/fines-and-infringements/penalty-units

Voon, T., Mitchell, A., & Liberman, J. (2014). Regulating tobacco, alcohol and unhealthy foods: the legal issues. New York: Routledge.