How Much Should I Tip the Bartender?
Gratuity is a personal matter. There are those who don’t believe in tipping, those who need to see the waiter spit in their food to justify giving less than 20%, and those who will use a calculator to make sure a 15% tip is accurate down to the penny.
As someone who has years of experience behind the bar and who co-owns This Girl Walks Into a Bar bartending services, I certainly have a bias. The tip should be generous. OK yes, there are exceptions which I’ll get into in a moment. But a twenty-percent gratuity is fairly standard and often added in advance to the estimate for events like weddings, bat mitzvahs, and corporate gatherings to avoid the inconvenient task of carrying around a bulk of cash or chasing down each staff member at the end of night.
Most bartenders and waiters are earning minimum wage and depend on tips to make the job worth their while. Bartenders bring a unique skill set to the job and their ability level or lack thereof can have a huge impact on the success of a party. The majority of bartenders also provide their own mixology equipment to make sure the bar has all the necessary tools to pull off a variety of drinks, which saves you the expense of buying, renting, or borrowing what’s needed for the bar.
We recommend planning to tip at least ten dollars for every hour of work at the very minimum. Most of our clients tip between $40.00 and $100.00 per bartender per event. These are some factors to consider when deciding how much gratuity to give out.
· Did the bartender arrive early to set up and prep the bar or did you do it all for her?
· Did she do any heavy lifting like moving wine boxes and beer cases from your kitchen, down the stairs, across the yard, and into the pool house?
· Was she punctual?
· Did she go above and beyond with her customer service, positive attitude, and work ethic?
· Was she creating specialty drinks that required an advanced bartender’s knowledge?
· Did she come out from the bar when it wasn’t busy to pick up abandoned plates and cups?
· Did she hustle and have a sense of urgency?
· Did she make your party experience more enjoyable?
If you can answer “Yes!” to those questions, then she deserves a twenty-percent tip…or maybe even more.
We’ve all also experienced service that is sub-par or even so bad that it ruins your night. Here are some reasons not to tip twenty-percent or sometimes even at all.
· The bartender is too late to set up the bar in time for the party or arrives after the event has started.
· Her uniform is dirty or there are other hygiene concerns that could pose a health threat to you and your guests.
· The bartender’s attitude is poor and she lacks enthusiasm.
· She does the bare minimum to get by.
· She’s drinking on the job or partying with your guests.
· She texting or making calls on her phone.
Most bartending services, like ours, want to do everything in their power to prevent you from having a bad experience. If it’s clear that your bartender isn’t the right fit, call the company right away and ask for a replacement. It’s important that you’re not left without the high level of service that paid for.
At the end of the day, it’s important that you tip what feels appropriate for your budget. If you wake up the morning after your event with a feeling that you’ve undertipped, just contact the bartending service to make things right. For people in the service industry, any extra amount always goes a long way.