Author Topic: Open Bars and Tip Jars  (Read 6559 times)

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Only me

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Open Bars and Tip Jars
« on: January 27, 2012, 12:25:31 PM »
Hi

So I wasn't sure to put this cause usually for me, an open bar means a wedding. But I"m not getting married anytime soon.

If you went to an event with an open bar, say wedding or maybe a work function, is it etiquette for the bar staff to have a TIP JAR at the bar. And does it make a difference if the price the host is paying includes a gratuity already for staff (say 15-20%).
I have seen it, just wondering if its etiquette or not.

Onlyme

nrb80

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Re: Open Bars and Tip Jars
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2012, 12:31:30 PM »
It is my number 1 pet peeve.  As a host it is my responsibility to tip, and I detest it when caterers or venues allow such jars - and I won't do business with anyone who does.  In the same vein, if I see a guest giving a tip (even without the jar) to someone in my employ for the event (i.e. a bartender), I'm likely to write that guest off my list going forward, or at least socialize with that person less, as I find it insulting. 

And I am a really, really good tipper.

SisJackson

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Re: Open Bars and Tip Jars
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2012, 12:33:46 PM »
If the bar is open, then my presumption is that the host is paying a tip, so I don't give an additional gratuity to the bartender.  For me to tip extra implies that the host doesn't know how much to properly tip.  The only exception might be if a bartender did something above and beyond just for me, but that's never happened up to now.

If I am hosting and paying said bartenders, and they want to put out a tip jar, I request that they put the jar away.  If they refuse, I then give them the opportunity of receiving my (guaranteed) tip -or- putting out their jar and taking their chances with my guests.  I have no problem withholding my tip if they are going to shake down my guests for money.

The only time I regularly tip at an open bar is when I stay at a particular hotel chain that has a free happy hour - I don't think any tips come out of anywhere, so I routinely pay $1 per drink there, which is a bargain.

NyaChan

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Re: Open Bars and Tip Jars
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2012, 12:36:02 PM »
I don't know what the official line is for etiquette, but my own opinion goes:

Wedding - no tip jars, guests should not have to pull out money.  The host should pay the gratuities as part of the expense of providing the bar

School functions - I have seen tip jars at some functions & for some reason it doesn't bother me as much if it is an event to buy a ticket to attend.  I suppose the difference was that we weren't being hosted.  Still at a school function where there was no paid ticket, there was also no tip jar - I think this is because at that event, the students were "guests" rather than paying participants

nrb80 - I guess I am a little surprised that a guest giving a tip to an employee at an event would be insulting.  Though if I think about it - is it insulting because it might imply that the host isn't giving them sufficient compensation?  Would it be okay if they came to the host and told them that this particular employee had gone above & beyond in service & they wanted to show appreciation?

ETA:  just remembered, one reason why I do think that tip jars can be troublesome is in situations where attendees are given drink tickets in an effort to encourage responsible drinking (this might just be a student function thing, because the school doesn't want to risk kids getting hurt at their events).  Students will start off by handing the bartender a larger bill for a tip & then suddenly that person's drinks become doubles & they aren't asked for drink tickets.  My school's annual student event involving an open bar has since been canceled after this got out of hand in an embarrassing way.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2012, 12:41:34 PM by NyaChan »

nrb80

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Re: Open Bars and Tip Jars
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2012, 12:41:22 PM »
nrb80 - I guess I am a little surprised that a guest giving a tip to an employee at an event would be insulting.  Though if I think about it - is it insulting because it might imply that the host isn't giving them sufficient compensation?  Would it be okay if they came to the host and told them that this particular employee had gone above & beyond in service & they wanted to show appreciation?

Compensation decisions between the event staff is up to the host.  If there was a bartender in my home for an event, and you wanted to compliment them to me, that's fine.  If one realized the set up of the event, and wanted to give a verbal compliment to a manager - or even a letter to the venue later - that's totally fine.  Of course, a thank you to the employee directly is always correct and a way to show appreciation.

QueenofAllThings

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Re: Open Bars and Tip Jars
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2012, 12:47:13 PM »
Ugh. Tip jars at an open bar? Shouldn't be allowed.

I will say that the King has, occasionally, tipped a bartender under these circumstances - either because the bartender went out of his/her way to do/make something special for him, or because the place is jammed and he wants the bartender to remember him (I am talking about charity functions here, not someone's private party in their home). It would never occur to either of us that this was rude. In someone's home? He would never do it.

Shoo

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Re: Open Bars and Tip Jars
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2012, 01:18:22 PM »
Having hosted a wedding reception with an open bar, I know first hand that there is a 20% gratuity included in the total bill, which is to be paid out to the staff.  Knowing this, I would not tip on top of that, and I think it's pretty darn tacky for there to be a tip jar sitting out.  I hate tip jars in general.

Only me

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Re: Open Bars and Tip Jars
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2012, 01:35:05 PM »
Hi All,

Great replies and stuff to think about. I am throwing a house party this summer and never thought about having a bar tender, but that might class up my party a little. :) Espcecially since I just got a Glass and chrome bar that everyone seems to compliment.

Onlyme

hobish

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Re: Open Bars and Tip Jars
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2012, 01:36:26 PM »
I have no problem with them. Especially after working in catering i know that most of the time that added gratuity is rarely seen by the staff. If someone was going to stop being my friend and go out of their way to not spend time with me just because i was so crass as to leave a tip in a tip jar at a function - well, good riddance. I would hope they would be honest enough to let me know right away and up front, at the very least, so that i might remove my rude self from their event.


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Only me

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Re: Open Bars and Tip Jars
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2012, 01:44:51 PM »
Hi Hobish,

If the tips don't get seen by staff, then what happens to it? Really curious.

Onlyme

hobish

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Re: Open Bars and Tip Jars
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2012, 01:47:50 PM »
Hi Hobish,

If the tips don't get seen by staff, then what happens to it? Really curious.

Onlyme

At one place i worked the owner just kept them, at another they said that is what made up our hourly wage. I don't know about the legalities of that, but i was young and not in a position to fight it.


It's alright, man. I'm only bleeding, man. Stay hungry, stay free, and do the best you can.
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nrb80

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Re: Open Bars and Tip Jars
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2012, 01:55:50 PM »
Hi All,

Great replies and stuff to think about. I am throwing a house party this summer and never thought about having a bar tender, but that might class up my party a little. :) Espcecially since I just got a Glass and chrome bar that everyone seems to compliment.

Onlyme

It can make party logistics so much easier!  A single bartender and a single server can be worth their weight in gold at an informal house cocktail party - it really helps give the hostess freedom to socialize rather than check on the buffet or get drinks.

nrb80

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Re: Open Bars and Tip Jars
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2012, 02:03:19 PM »
Hi Hobish,

If the tips don't get seen by staff, then what happens to it? Really curious.

Onlyme

This is something to go over in detail when doing a catering or venue contract.  There's often a "service charge" that might be a percentage which goes to pay for the labor costs, and a "gratuity" that is a tip that goes in some form to the service staff - potentially pooled, or to certain staff but not others (for example, captains with managerial authority may be excluded, etc.)  Caterers and venues are used to this question, and should be able to tell you exactly where each charge goes - if they can't, that may be indicative of a lack of professionalism and experience in other areas as well.  Good caterers and venues want their staff and customers happy - I do a number of events at a nice hotel in town, and much of the serving staff has remained the same for the last decade, because they are well compensated and treated like professionals.  It is really reflected in the service. 

I also always have cash with me for tip outs at the end of the night *or* I get the event manager to give me a list of all people who worked my event and what they did, and then drop off cash or checks in envelopes with the event manager.  I really believe in showing at least some monetary gratitude, even if small percentage-wise, to the people who make my event a success. 

WillyNilly

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Re: Open Bars and Tip Jars
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2012, 02:20:08 PM »
I dislike tip jars, anywhere. They are tacky in that essentially they are asking for tips. Tips should be given, never requested.

That said I *always* tip my waitress and my bartender at a wedding, discreetly and just once. 15 years in the event industry for 3 different companies has taught me a tip stays in the hand its put in. Regardless of verbal instruction or labelled envelope, whomever the host hands it to, keeps it. I trust my friends to *try* to tip staff as hosts, I just doubt ther success.

At events other then weddings, like pay at the door, sponsored open bar inside, or a corporate event, community organization fundraiser or a private party I tip/don't tip on a case by case basis.

Venus193

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Re: Open Bars and Tip Jars
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2012, 02:37:55 PM »
I consider it to be rude.

In my industry there are parties in clubs and bars where the host company takes the venue over for the night (or until some pre-determined hour) and the bar is open.  Most of those bars have had tip jars and it galls me that the bartenders -- with no regard for how long a guest has been waiting for a drink -- will serve a later arrival if he has a $5 bill in his hand or if she is pretty and carries a designer purse.  I've left a number of those events earlier than usual because of this.