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Etiquette

Bartending, tip jars, and how to avoid tackiness

We are having a hosted bar. I do not want the guests to pay for anything. I told the venue that I did not want to see a tip jar on the bar. The planner told me that this is how bartenders make their money. We are already paying a 20% service charge for everything. I asked if the bartender got a cut of that. She replied yes, but that the money is pooled and distributed among all the servers.

So I guess bartenders expect the full 20% of bar sales, and not some slice of the pie, which they'd get if they had to rely solely on their cut of the pooled money.

What do other people do in this situation? Do we tip the bartender after we get the final bill? If so, how much? I don't think it's right to pay a 40% tip, which is what would happen if we were to pay the required 20% of the bill, plus the bartender's expected, additional 20%. 

Re: Bartending, tip jars, and how to avoid tackiness

  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    We insisted on no tip jar and when one was put out, told our planner to remove it. We tipped all servers based on the catering total. The bartenders were employed by the caterers.
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Tell your planner that all gratuities will be paid by you directly and that there are to be no tip jars on the counter, because the guests are not to be charged for drinks or expected to tip the bartenders. Have a provision to that effect added to your contract and have the planner sign and date it.

    If your planner gives you pushback, either tell them that you will take your business elsewhere or will give the venue a bad review if they do not adhere to that provision. But if you continue to use that venue, do pay the gratuities.
    InLoveInQueensSTARMOON44short+sassyMairePoppy
  • We are having a hosted bar. I do not want the guests to pay for anything. I told the venue that I did not want to see a tip jar on the bar. The planner told me that this is how bartenders make their money. We are already paying a 20% service charge for everything. I asked if the bartender got a cut of that. She replied yes, but that the money is pooled and distributed among all the servers.

    So I guess bartenders expect the full 20% of bar sales, and not some slice of the pie, which they'd get if they had to rely solely on their cut of the pooled money.

    What do other people do in this situation? Do we tip the bartender after we get the final bill? If so, how much? I don't think it's right to pay a 40% tip, which is what would happen if we were to pay the required 20% of the bill, plus the bartender's expected, additional 20%. 
    It sounds like the caterers don’t fully tip the bartenders, which is why they put out the jars. Which means you need to cover an additional tip for the bartenders. 

    I dont think you need to do 40%; the bartenders are still cutting a cut of the original 20%. Tip them an additional 10% or so of the bar tab. 
    short+sassyMairePoppy
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    We asked the venue coordinator how many servers and bartenders would be working our reception.  We had envelopes ready for each of them, in addition to what they would receive via the service charge.

    There were no tip jars put out.  However, I have several family members that absolutely cannot order a drink without offering a small tip themselves.  It's almost an "automatic pilot" reflex for them.
    short+sassycharlotte989875
  • We specifically said no tip jars as the gratuity was included in our contract.

    I think some people attempted to tip, but not many. 
  • NowIAmSypNowIAmSyp East Hanover, NJ member
    Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 500 Comments First Answer
    I asked how many bartenders there would be, and gave them each $100 in an envelope.  No tip jars were put out :)
    MyNameIsNot
  •  Out of sight is different from one may not exist because of a belief you have.  The 20% service fee in most cases is not a tip even if they describe it as such, it's a feel-good way to make you think you're paying less for the meal and services you're hiring that company to do instead of putting that 20% on the cost thus you thinking they're more expensive as a vendor over another company.  I'm personally NAF of this whole "Hook you in on a price, then keep hush the 20% Service Fee, 20% mandatory tip for groups above ___, 7.5-11.5% tax, etc." business, but that's who you've hired.  You don't go to a restaurant and see "20+% service charge plus 20+% tip will be added to your bill" (tax you can't get out of), yet this is the way most catering companies unfortunately work.

    O.k. No tip jar in sight, but SNS you're asking people whose livelihood and employment agreement is tips to give up their income because you don't want to see a tip jar and equate the service fee for the rest of the staff with a tip.  What are they suppose to do when people automatically hand them a tip even though you've hosted the event, there isn't enough pocket space to hide it over the span of the evening as this is the way a solid number (and I would think majority) of people still react at a hosted event. 

    Even if it's hosted I still tip because I've worked the job years ago and yes, it really IS how bartenders make their money/living.  It's only a small window of time they can work in the span of a week.  Asking for no tip jar in sight is significantly different from one may not exist anywhere near the bar.  It's also not a hill to die on.  
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  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    MesmrEwe said:
     Out of sight is different from one may not exist because of a belief you have.  The 20% service fee in most cases is not a tip even if they describe it as such, it's a feel-good way to make you think you're paying less for the meal and services you're hiring that company to do instead of putting that 20% on the cost thus you thinking they're more expensive as a vendor over another company.  I'm personally NAF of this whole "Hook you in on a price, then keep hush the 20% Service Fee, 20% mandatory tip for groups above ___, 7.5-11.5% tax, etc." business, but that's who you've hired.  You don't go to a restaurant and see "20+% service charge plus 20+% tip will be added to your bill" (tax you can't get out of), yet this is the way most catering companies unfortunately work.

    O.k. No tip jar in sight, but SNS you're asking people whose livelihood and employment agreement is tips to give up their income because you don't want to see a tip jar and equate the service fee for the rest of the staff with a tip.  What are they suppose to do when people automatically hand them a tip even though you've hosted the event, there isn't enough pocket space to hide it over the span of the evening as this is the way a solid number (and I would think majority) of people still react at a hosted event. 

    Even if it's hosted I still tip because I've worked the job years ago and yes, it really IS how bartenders make their money/living.  It's only a small window of time they can work in the span of a week.  Asking for no tip jar in sight is significantly different from one may not exist anywhere near the bar.  It's also not a hill to die on.  
    1) She did tip the bartenders. 
    2) Tip jars at weddings are rude. It is the responsibility of the host, not the guest, to appropriately tip the staff. If a guest wants to tip more, that's their decision. But the tip jar shifts the responsibility, which is not ok. 
    ShesSoColdInLoveInQueenscharlotte989875
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    You should press the issue with the venue's wedding planner to find out exactly how much of that 20% service charge will be used to tip the bartenders. Probably not much. Who else is getting a cut? The planner? Food servers? I have a feeling that service charge =/= tip.


                       
    charlotte989875ShesSoColdInLoveInQueens
  • @MesmrEwe, I worked as a server. I still do, although in a volunteer capacity these days. I get that tipped professionals make their living from tips because of a very messed up tipping economy. 

    But as the host of this event, I also get that my guests should not have to pay a dime to be at a party to which I invited them. So my post wasn't about how to get out of tipping, or how to be cheap, but how to fairly compensate the bartender without making my guests pay. 
    ShesSoColdshort+sassySachaBeeMyNameIsNot
  • @MesmrEwe, I worked as a server. I still do, although in a volunteer capacity these days. I get that tipped professionals make their living from tips because of a very messed up tipping economy. 

    But as the host of this event, I also get that my guests should not have to pay a dime to be at a party to which I invited them. So my post wasn't about how to get out of tipping, or how to be cheap, but how to fairly compensate the bartender without making my guests pay. 


    FWIW, that was exactly what I understood from your post :).

    I agree there shouldn't be any tip jars out.  And to talk to the venue about where that service charge goes, ie who gets tipped what.  From that, think about if the bartenders should be tipped extra.  If you all think so, it should be based bar/alcohol total.

    From my own experience, before I'd spent any time on TK, I was invited to a cocktail party by a vendor I did business with at my job.  It was nice!  Lavish spread, the whole nine yards.  I went to get a cocktail and tried to hand the bartender a dollar I had ready for a tip.  Because.  That's what I always do, lol!  You could have knocked me over with a feather when he thanked me, but very politely refused to accept it because "tips had already been taken care of for the evening".

    Wow!  The hosts weren't even going to let people tip the bartenders.  I felt very VIP, lol.

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    MairePoppythisismynickname2SachaBee
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