Should more restaurants require employees go through conflict resolution training?

Posted at 4:19 PM, Mar 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-04 14:49:29-04

NORFOLK, Va. - Two recent shootings were the results of arguments around restaurants, police say.

On Saturday night, Virginia Beach Police said a group of people got into an argument and started shooting. Four were shot outside West Beach Tavern, but all have non-life threatening injuries.

On March 19, Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone said an argument over a spilled drink led to five people getting shot and two of them dying on Granby Street.

Should restaurants offer more conflict resolution training? The Virginia ABC does offer free training several times a year. It includes lessons on how to handle confrontational interactions with customers.

The National Restaurant Association began offering video training during the pandemic that also touches on de-escalation.

News 3 spoke with the President of the Mediation Center of Hampton Roads, Dave McDonald, who told us he thinks more employees should go through the training.

"Knowing those steps would be real helpful in having some type of conflict resolution training to be aware of volatile situations and how to diffuse them," McDonald said.

McDonald teaches conflict resolution and has an eight-step plan for people to follow when conflict involves a relationship. Incidents like the ones near the restaurants involve anger management issues, he said.

News 3 asked what a bartender or bouncer could do if they see a situation escalating. "As safely as someone can, get between the two parties," he said. "Use your indoor voices and as you talk calmly, they'll talk calmly and just diffuse the situation."

While both of the shootings happened outside of the restaurants, Norfolk City Manager Chip Filer says restaurants do bear some responsibility when an incident starts inside and winds up on the streets.

"In general, it's fair to say over-serving and overcrowding is an issue that we are aware of with some of the establishments on Granby Street and we're going to take action on that," Filer said during a briefing with reporters on Tuesday.

The city has hired a New Jersey based group called the Newark Community Street Team to try and find ways to cut down on crime. The city will also be making unannounced visits to bars to make sure they're following the rules.

McDonald thinks conflict resolution is another possible solution.

"Certainly, it's very applicable for any type of business that may face conflict," he said.