Employees at Red Lobster, 2579 Cobb Parkway, and Discount Tobacco, 2387 South Cobb Drive, were the only people out of 17 checked Tuesday to sell to an underage informant, Smyrna Police Officer Michael Smith said. Anika McCoy of Red Lobster and Arman Khaleghi with Discount Tobacco are charged with selling alcohol to a minor.
“Since this doesn’t appear to be a pattern with these locations, they are not currently in danger of losing their liquor licenses,” Smith said.
Employees at the 15 other businesses did what they are supposed to, Smith said, which is check identification and not sell to minors.
The alcohol compliance check was performed in conjunction with the Cobb Alcohol Task Force, which works with most of the county’s law enforcement agencies on preventing underage drinking. Task force coordinator Cathy Finck said 91 percent of businesses checked for alcohol violations in Cobb are found compliant, which is up from 45 percent in 2005. That’s when the task force started working with police.
“That’s really quite good,” Finck said. “Certainly we’d like to be at 100 percent.”
Smaller businesses tend to violate underage sales laws more than larger chains, Finck said.
“The biggest difference is that smaller businesses that don’t have managers supervising clerks and servers on a regular basis are more likely to have problems,” she said.
Heidi Schauer, spokeswoman for Orlando-based Red Lobster, said the company takes steps to prevent underage drinking, including making sure employees know specific dates and years required for alcohol service to be allowed and checking ID on all guests who appear to be under 30.
“We take the responsibility that comes with serving alcohol very seriously,” she said. “This situation was due to one employee not following our strict operating procedures. We have zero tolerance for failing to follow those procedures and will take appropriate action.”
The legal drinking age in Georgia is 21.