Etiquette

Service Charge vs Gratuity

If your venue charges an 18-20% "service charge" (pays their servers) did you tip on top of this amount? If so, how much $$ or what % did you tip? Also, we are being charged $300 for the maitre d $300 for the chef team $200 per bartender Would you tip those people on top of the fees?

Re: Service Charge vs Gratuity

  • The service charge is the gratuity, so you don't have to tip on top of it. If someone provides exceptional service, however, you can alway recognize that with an additional tip. But you don't have to.
  • Hell  to the no.
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  • "Service charges, which are mandatory, are subject to sales tax in most states. Service charges don't necessarily go directly to employees, either, at least not in their entirety. They are often used to offset other expenses and cost increases."From an article on the difference between gratuity/tip and service charge.
  • Based on what Ndzen just wrote, I would ask the venue where the service charge goes. Make sure it's going to the staff and not to the venue.
  • If it pays the servers' wages but does not tip them then yes, I would tip on top of this. We are being charged a 15% service charge and will need to tip the service staff on top of this charge.
  • The service charge is the gratuity, so you don't have to tip on top of it.This is false.  It can be true, but it varies by venue.  We were told about our 15% service charge and then they suggested $3-4 per guest as a tip.  We had 100 guests and with the service charge and tax it was just under $100 a plate.  People on here will tell you standard tipping rules apply (15-20%), but I suggest you ask your venue for an idea of what they expect.
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  • We have a venue which includes several services in addition to catering, so our venue bill is pretty substantial (the bulk of our budget), making our service charge really high.  Other brides at my venue told me they didn't tip on top of the service charge, but now I'm starting to think I should ask them where the money goes, exactly.If I need to tip additionally, is $3-4 per person a pretty standard amount?  Just trying to get this budgeted...
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  • Yeah, like most people have said it definitely depends on the venue.I am a catering manager at a hotel, and we have a 21% gratuity. Our servers get 80% of the gratuity that is collected, and they aren't exactly struggling on the hourly wage side....they definitely get more than a typical restaurant server.If you ask the catering manager/food and beverage manger they should be able to tell you the truth about what the servers/bartenders are getting.
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  • The Westin charged us 22% service charge plus $100 for each bartender/chef/additional server. All of the service charge goes to pay them; they each made well over $200 for the night, so there was no reason to tip them extra. You should still check with the venue just to make sure, though...
  • we tipped on top of the service charge. My understanding is that is how they are paid, pay their bills, ect. So, therefore, I wanted to tip in addition.
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado
    Moderator Tenth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
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    Ditto it really depends on the venue.   Where I work there is a 20% service charge.  The staff splits 75% of that with the house getting the other 25%. Our venue did not have a service charge, but they charged us $30 per person per hour for 8 hours.  We did tip on top of that because we knew the staff did not get the whole $30 per hour.






    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. 
  • when I worked at a Westin hotel in college, the 18% add-on went to the servers.  guess it depends on the venue, but I would not be inclined to tip on top of these very large service charges.
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