Reception Ideas

Tip vs. Administrative Fee? Tip + Admin Fee?

My fiance and I are looking at a place that charges a 21% administrative fee.  OK, fine, whatever.  I assumed that this was the tip, but I read the fine print (today, pre-contract signing) and they make sure to say that it is not. 

Are we socially required to pay the tip on top of this?  If so, we will be adding something like 50% (21% admin+20%tip+8% tax) to the actual cost of the event. 

Is this normal?

Re: Tip vs. Administrative Fee? Tip + Admin Fee?

  • Quote from contract

    "The administrative fee referenced herein is for administrative overhead, documentation, preparation, and other management of the event; such Administrative Fee is not, nor is it intended to be, a service charge, tip or gratuity, for wait staff, service employees or service bartenders."
  • if it isn't uncomfortable, ask if the servers get paid a base hourly wage or are payed by the price of the plate.  i was a banquet server for 4 years in undergrad and we started out getting paid by the plate (i.e. if it was a $30 per person dinner, we got paid more than a $15 per person dinner) and for those events we'd get tips on top of our pay.  then our pay got switched to just a flat hourly rate regardless of the price per person.  we heard about people giving us tips, but the sales staff always kept them or denied getting tips at all.  (we got paid alright anyway, but tips in college definitely helped!) just something to keep in mind.
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  • aragx6aragx6 member
    2500 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited April 2012
    If you go with this venue you'll have to tip as well. It's pretty clear that the staff doesn't see that. Shouldn't their overhead costs be included in their pricing? I hate places with hidden fees like this.
    Lizzie
  • I was a catering server when I was younger.  Now that I realize that the 20% never makes it to the wait staff ($60 on a wedding was a good night), would it be out of line for me to just hand them $100 cash each instead of writing the check out to the venue?

    I like the venue, but I don't really want to give them another $4000, knowing that the servers may not see it.

    This is sort of the compromise that I have in my head, but I'm not sure if it's OK.
  • A lot of people will tip on the subtotal when they go out to dinner, so I can see a similar situation here that you could tip on the pre-fee cost rather than on the aggregate total.  I would also say, however, to get a detailed line-item list of what that admin fee covers, because you want to know!  If it doesn't include the tip, what DOES it include?  And if this venue/caterer isn't at a competitive rate to other vendors (including the fee) then I would seriously think about going elsewhere. 
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Tenth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    In Response to Re: Tip vs. Administrative Fee? Tip + Admin Fee?:
    I was a catering server when I was younger.  Now that I realize that the 20% never makes it to the wait staff ($60 on a wedding was a good night), would it be out of line for me to just hand them $100 cash each instead of writing the check out to the venue? I like the venue, but I don't really want to give them another $4000, knowing that the servers may not see it. This is sort of the compromise that I have in my head, but I'm not sure if it's OK.
    Posted by karakaroo
    Yes, I think this is fine. 

    We had to pay $30 per person, per hour for min of 8 hours.  We did not tip 20% because we knew they were not getting the standard $2.30  per hour rate.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • That is totally normal. I am a catering manager at a hotel and we have this too, you'll find it at all big venues. Its to cover costs of running the event and in the event of food cost fluctuation.
  • Thanks for all of your imput.  I asked when I saw the event planner the other day, she said that there is no tipping allowed, staff payment is covered under the "administrative fee" that I posted about.   Good thing I asked!
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