Tipping is a subject that is both sensitive and mystifying, especially at private functions where no cash is exchanged. It’s a topic that may not be at the forefront of our clients’ minds, but it is one that affects us and our livelihood and deserves some explanation. So, let us give you some guidelines on what is expected so you can be better prepared the next time you host a party or attend a gathering.
To be clear, tipping is customary and bartenders rely heavily on the generosity of guests during their shift. The tips they earn generally make up 50% or more of the pay from an event. It’s important to remember that we as bartenders are working hard for the people we serve. From setup to teardown, the hours can be long and with very little time for a break. Moreover, the venues we serve may expose us to extreme weather conditions or challenging situations. It’s our priority to make sure guests are taken care of, despite our own discomfort at times. We may encounter an occasional difficult or unpleasant circumstance but we take them in stride to ensure everything behind the bar is functioning seamlessly.
We understand that guests usually have the best intentions to show their appreciation, but they are sometimes caught off-guard by seeing our tip jar displayed on the bar. Since our events are cash-free (open bar), people may not think to bring tip money along with them. Even if they want to, they will not find an ATM at any of the venues we serve. This is unfortunate for the bartenders who would have otherwise received cash from those well-meaning guests.
The solution? As a guest, be mindful of bringing a few dollars along for the staff. If you’re the one planning an event, consider tipping the bartenders at the end of the night to make up for any shortfalls during the event. Or, if your budget allows, you can choose to cover the entire tip for the night to ensure our staff is properly compensated. We’ll then remove tip jars from the bar entirely. This will eliminate any expectations or awkward moments from guests who arrive empty-handed. The standard rate for a Host tip is $2/guest which will be added to your Event Service fee. If you feel the staff went above and beyond, feel free to be as generous as you wish!