3 a.m. is the new 2 a.m, with the exception of Arizona and Hawaii. That’s right, this Sunday, March 11, 2012 is the day to spring ahead and set all your clocks ahead one hour.
The practice of setting clocks back in the fall and ahead in the spring was born from an idea that Benjamin Franklin had when serving as the U.S. ambassador to France. He realized that working with the hours of day light would be beneficial for maintaining optimal work results, hence the famed term he coined “early to bed and early to rise.”
However, he wasn’t sure how to make that happen.
It was an idea that wasn’t fully realized until World War I when conserving coal for the war effort was in high importance. Germany adjusted their time to coincide with the natural hours of light, thus reducing the public need for burning coal. Other countries on both sides of the war took notice and soon followed. In 1918 the United States standardized a time and date for daylight savings and left the choice of practicing these measures up to each state, with the exception of a time period during World War II. In the same effort to conserve natural resources, the federal government mandated that every state follow daylight savings from February 9, 1942 to September 30, 1945. The federal government then gave states back the power of deciding whether or not to follow daylight savings, with the rare exceptions of a few occasions: The Arab oil embargo from 1973-1974, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and an extension of daylight savings in 2007 followed federally mandated daylight savings calendars, and each time restaurants and bars across the country have had to adjust.
Much like the state’s choice to follow the practice of daylight savings, it is also the state’s choice to regulate how the time change affects food and beverage establishment’s alcohol service. Some states allow service to continue for a set amount of hours after midnight, while others require all pouring to be stopped before the 2 a.m time change.
Here are some tips to keep your service running smoothly:
- Check with your local liquor license to assure your restaurant or bar is in compliance with the law.
- Post signs near the bar area announcing when the bar will close.
- Communicate with customers who arrive later in the evening about any restrictions in service hours.
But even if you are in one of the non-observing areas of daylights savings this is also the perfect time of year for annual maintenance and check ups around the kitchen.
Consider utilizing this weekend as a reminder to conduct the following:
- Test or change all smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries.
- Clean the kitchen’s exhaust system.
- Schedule a thorough spring cleaning for the front of the house and the back of the house.
- Review and restock your restaurant’s first aid and emergency preparedness kit.
Be ready, inform and prepare your staff and enjoy the longer hours of daylight ahead.