Bar Owning – Bartending

Gratuity – Tips and Tipping


Things to know when it comes to Tips and Tipping

When the subject of tips (the correct word is GRATUITY) and how to get tips is brought up in conversation it is usually argued about in a big way. It is one touchy subject, to say the least, and there are many disagreements about this topic. Whether you work for tips or you are the tipper. It amazes me on how differently people think about tipping.

I have seen tempers flare over this subject. Have you ever seen a couple argue over how much they should leave as a tip? Or one is telling the other you didn’t tip enough or you tipped to much etc.

Have you ever heard a waitress or a bartender complaining about the crappy tips they made? Hmmmmmm, I wonder why that person made bad tips? Well you are about to find out !!!

How to earn more than decent tips:

It is all about your fun bartender personality.

OK, before I go into how to make decent tips, I want to give you an idea of my experience as a bartender. I bartended for many years, and I made EXCELLENT money. Not from those puny paychecks either. It wasn’t hard to make tips, it was very easy. I was just myself and I treated people good. I tried to make everyone feel welcome. I had a bit of a crazy side, that people love. I also had many crazy bartender friends and they had their own way of bartending. You will never find two bartenders alike. They are all unique. I cannot tell you how many times I heard; “I keep coming back to see what is going to happen next.” People love fun bars and fun bartenders. Not boring places. (I think common sense should tell you that, though.)  So if you want customers to come back, talk to them…have fun. Then and only then will you earn good tips. Yes the magic word is EARN TIPS !!!

Tips are usually the biggest part of your income:

I know my paycheck wasn’t diddly squat next to my tips. Due to the fact that most bartenders and cocktail waitresses start out working at minimum wage. Therefore, bartenders definitely need tips to make a decent income/living. Sometimes the owner will get involved in the tip thing if he so desires. I never did that. Some owners make you all split your tips and some collect all tips and divide them up equally (with cooks, bus boys, bouncers etc.) and then put them in your check.  Just so you know in some States the owner is not required to pay minimum wage to people that earn tips. All states and countries do things differently, so make sure you find out what is what where you are. All bartenders should find out the rules of tips as there are some places you just won’t make any money.

I personally felt that the employees could decide if they wanted to split tips or not. Most did if they knew they worked well together and one wasn’t working harder than the other. You have to be very careful about that. You can get some pretty lazy bartenders at times. No fun if you are doing all the work, why split tips. That is craziness. I hate lazy co-workers.

Some ways to get more tips:

Now here is one thing that bartenders will do to get more tips. They make sure when they are giving change that they give the customer plenty of ones back, in hopes to get a few back.  Now here’s the deal, I did not agree with that as I always thought that was forward and pushy. But my colleagues and some of my bartenders did not see it that way.

I was always willing to take the extra step (go back to the cash register) and make change. For instance, a customer would say “Hey you want a tip or not?” “I need some ones to tip you”  I would laugh and then go and get change. Or sometimes I would end up with a bigger tip other than ones or I would end up with change … coins … OUCH, that would hurt or piss me off depending !!!   Other bartenders did real good on tips after making sure they gave their customer plenty of ones back in their change. It all depends on you and how you decide to do the change thing.

Talking about tips:

NEVER…NEVER…NEVER bring up tips to customers. NEVER !!!

Do YOU get that ??? It is rude and it is wrong. If you talk about tips and bitch about tips you will lose customers, and deserve to lose customers !!! Believe me, they do not like pushy bartenders. I have seen many many many bartenders lose good customers because they were complaining about someone not tipping them or not tipping them enough, stuff like that. Trust me, that is not a subject that you should even talk about while you are working. Now keep in mind, I am talking about the hole in the wall kind of bars. (My favorite kind) Nowadays so many places take credit cards and the tip just goes on it.

Just remember TIPS are earned:

You give great service, you will usually be compensated well for it. However, never expect a TIP as that is just wrong! People do not have to tip you unless gratuity is included in the bill of a large group or something like that. All a customer really wants is to be treated well and have a good time and excellent service. Just like you do when you go out. It is pretty simple really. Do your job and do it well, wear a smile on your face and you will go home with some big bucks. Trust me in this … tips are earned.


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