What Is An Angel Shot? A Quick Guide On Serving It At Your Restaurant or Bar

Imagine that you come across a patron who is in the middle of a bad first date or someone at a bar talking to a stranger with whom they are becoming increasingly suspicious. What do you think will be their strategy to escape the awful situation?

The person may choose to use an accidental wine spill, a fake emergency text, or a sick kid at home excuse to exit the date. However, these old tricks may not work sometimes, and this is when they may need the help of restaurant or bar staff to get them out of that uncomfortable and potentially unsafe situation. This is where an angel shot can come in handy.

If you are unaware of it, here is a complete guide to “Angel Shot”, including what it is, how it functions, how you can implement it at your restaurant, and how to let your customers know about it.

What Is An Angel Shot?

The term “Angel Shot” doesn’t refer to any drink order but rather a cryptic code for “I need to get out of this situation” or simply “I need help.”

It all started in Lincolnshire (UK) with the viral “Ask for Angela” initiative that intended to prevent sexual assault on bar patrons by urging them to indicate unsafe or uncomfortable situations by asking for Angela. Over the years, this initiative gained popularity and made its way to the US, going by the name “Angel Shot.”

If a customer, especially a woman, feels threatened or unsafe because of their date, they can send a secret signal to the bartender by ordering an “Angel Shot.” After receiving the signal, the restaurant staff must take appropriate action to help the customer and get them home safely.

Although the mention of the term “Angel Shot” may be sufficient to grab a bartender’s attention, there are many other variants of the term that convey a more precise message based on the severity of the situation. 

The three most common variants of “Angel Shot” are:

  • “Straight Up” or “Neat” means that the bartender needs to escort the customer to their car.
  • “With Ice” or “On the Rocks” means that the bartender needs to arrange for a taxi for the customer discreetly.
  • “With a Twist” or “With a Lemon” means that the bartender needs to call the police immediately as the customer feels to be in great danger.

Why Should Your Restaurant Or Bar Serve It?

In the US, a woman, man, or child gets sexually abused every 68 seconds. In 8 out of 10 cases, the victim is familiar with the perpetrator, such as a former romantic partner or an acquaintance. 

While it is challenging for you and your staff to prevent these potential sexual assaults, you can offer an extra layer of safety by setting up a system like “Angel Shot,” which is relatively easy and low cost. Its implementation costs next to nothing as your staff simply needs to respond promptly if a customer asks for this drink.

Besides attaining moral satisfaction, you can also do your business a lot of good by participating in this noble initiative. Many customers are more willing to visit a bar or restaurant that takes proactive action when it comes to the prevention of sexual offenses. In this way, you can connect to a customer base that is wary of such sexual violence.

How To Implement Angel Shot?

Implementing “Angel Shot” doesn’t take much time and effort, and you can easily develop the system at your restaurant or bar.

  • Put up signs

You need to create a series of precise instructions explaining how the system works. Please keep the message simple and crisp so that the intended customers can understand them at a glance. Also, limit the number of options, such as “Neat” or “With a twist”, as too many choices may result in confusion.

You can either put up the signs near the women’s restroom or put them on both women’s and men’s restrooms. You can assess your clientele and their issues to see what makes more sense for your bar or restaurant.

  • Train your staff

You need to train your restaurant staff so that they know the steps to take once a customer orders for an “Angel Short.” For instance, if there is an order for an “Angel shot with ice,” the bartender must arrange for a taxi and then cleverly slip the woman a note confirming that the ride is ready.

However, not every staff member should know how to handle an “Angel Short” order. But they should know which staff members are trained for the purpose and should be able to turn to them when someone orders the shot.

How To Inform Guests That You Serve It?

The main objective of “Angel Shot” is to attract less attention and fly under the radar. So, you have to let your guests know that you offer it, but with the help of discreet signages.

In the year 2017, Iberian Rooster (a Florida-based restaurant) used innovative ways to post signs in their women’s bathroom. The signs posted a few basic questions about their dates and then outlined exactly what they should do and how to use the system of “Angel Shot.”

Since then, many bars and restaurants have successfully followed the suit of the Iberian Rooster. Your signages don’t need to be too fancy as long as they convey the instructions clearly to the intended users.

Other Ways To Ensure Guest Safety At Your Restaurant Or Bar

Besides using an “Angel Shot”, you can encourage your guests to follow some simple safety measures at your bar or restaurant to protect themselves against any kind of transgressions. Some of the most common safety strategies your guests should follow are mentioned below.

  • They should never leave their drink unattended. If needed, they should ask a bartender or a trusted friend to watch their drink for them.
  • It is advisable to travel in a group because a lonely guest can be an easier target for potential predators.
  • They should never accept any drinks offered by a stranger. If they allow someone to buy them a drink, they should get it delivered directly from the bartender.
  • They should trust their instincts and should contact a staff member immediately if anything feels off.

What started as a noble initiative in an English pub has transpired into a wide-reaching strategy, enabling many bars and restaurants to protect countless men and women from sexual predators. A system like this has to be implemented differently at every bar and restaurant, depending on the clientele and their problems. At the end of the day, it is a winning solution for both customers and restaurant owners.

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Nikunj is the Communications Lead at Restroworks, a global leader in cloud-based technology platforms. In his role, he oversees global marketing and branding initiatives for Restroworks across APAC, the Middle East, and the US.


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