Author Topic: Tipping the Caterer  (Read 3589 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

QueenofAllThings

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2921
Tipping the Caterer
« on: September 11, 2012, 12:32:34 PM »
So, the King and I are having a cocktail party, and for the first time in the history of ever, I am calling a caterer (which I am on the fence about - but for once, I'd like to relax and enjoy myself). So - do I tip the bartender and servers individually? Give a tip to the caterer (owner of the business) and ask her to divvy it up? How much/what percentage?

I am assuming that a tip isn't built in.

Hmmmmm

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6265
Re: Tipping the Caterer
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2012, 12:40:35 PM »
Ask the caterer about their standard practice.  Sometimes the service and gratuity charges go directly to the staff nd some take a percentage.

Shoo

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 16393
Re: Tipping the Caterer
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2012, 12:41:32 PM »
So, the King and I are having a cocktail party, and for the first time in the history of ever, I am calling a caterer (which I am on the fence about - but for once, I'd like to relax and enjoy myself). So - do I tip the bartender and servers individually? Give a tip to the caterer (owner of the business) and ask her to divvy it up? How much/what percentage?

I am assuming that a tip isn't built in.

I'd call the owner and ask her what's customary.  If she says it's up to you, then I'd tip each individual separately.  If everything goes smoothly and you're happy with the service, I'd tip 20% on the whole bill, divided among the servers appropriately.  The bar bill should be itemized separately from the food bill, so you will be able to determine how much to tip the bartender v. the food server.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2012, 12:43:03 PM by Shoo »

WillyNilly

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7490
  • Mmmmm, food
    • The World as I Taste It
Re: Tipping the Caterer
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2012, 05:49:30 PM »
It is my experience that money never ever trickles.  If you put cash in the caterer's hands, it will stay there, possibly moving as far as to their pocket.  The servers and bartender won't get it.  Are there possibly some people who distribute tips?  Maybe... but I've never met them or even anyone else who's met that person.  I always tip directly to the person I want to be tipped.

So if it were me, I'd tip the caterer, and any waitstaff, and the bartender each individually.  The handshake tip comes in quite handy for a situation like this.  This also allows you the opportunity to verbally thank each person.

jpcher

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8591
Re: Tipping the Caterer
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2012, 06:08:36 PM »
So if it were me, I'd tip the caterer, and any waitstaff, and the bartender each individually.  The handshake tip comes in quite handy for a situation like this.  This also allows you the opportunity to verbally thank each person.

I agree with tipping waitstaff/bartender individually. I like WillyNilly's approach and agree that it allows you to verbally thank each person. I think this is a nice touch.

Silly question -- would you, then, need to tip the caterer? Isn't that akin to tipping the owner of a beauty salon?

texgalatheart

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 88
Re: Tipping the Caterer
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2012, 02:26:48 PM »
I have been the server and bartender at quite a few catered events. Believe me, the tips rarely if ever filtered down to me. Best practice is to tip individually.

WillyNilly

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7490
  • Mmmmm, food
    • The World as I Taste It
Re: Tipping the Caterer
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2012, 02:43:54 PM »
So if it were me, I'd tip the caterer, and any waitstaff, and the bartender each individually.  The handshake tip comes in quite handy for a situation like this.  This also allows you the opportunity to verbally thank each person.

I agree with tipping waitstaff/bartender individually. I like WillyNilly's approach and agree that it allows you to verbally thank each person. I think this is a nice touch.

Silly question -- would you, then, need to tip the caterer? Isn't that akin to tipping the owner of a beauty salon?

Not silly at all, its an excellent question.

And the answer is, there is no need to tip the caterer if they own the business.  But I would anyway, because I tip all service people* and especially because I would feel so super weird awkward tipping some of the hired help but not all of the hired help; so if I was tipping the waitstaff & bartender, I would feel odd leaving the one person who pulled it all together for me out.


* My general stance is I tip on luxuries - so if I could do it myself but choose not to because I'd rather pay, I tip.  So food service, nails, hair cuts, movers, the laundromat wash-n-fold person, etc I tip because i can do all those things myself, I just don't want to.  I don't tip my Dr or my car mechanic or the help desk folks at Staples, because I see those as professional services not luxury services.

CluelessBride

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1647
Re: Tipping the Caterer
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2012, 03:21:50 PM »
So if it were me, I'd tip the caterer, and any waitstaff, and the bartender each individually.  The handshake tip comes in quite handy for a situation like this.  This also allows you the opportunity to verbally thank each person.

I agree with tipping waitstaff/bartender individually. I like WillyNilly's approach and agree that it allows you to verbally thank each person. I think this is a nice touch.

Silly question -- would you, then, need to tip the caterer? Isn't that akin to tipping the owner of a beauty salon?

I personally would not.  But that's because I've never seen a caterer that didn't tack on a gratuity (18% is standard here) on top of their prices and the tax.  While I'd probably tip the individual servers some additional money (depending on the exact setup), I wouldn't generally tip the caterer on top of the gratuity they are already contracting me for.  If the caterer didn't have a gratuity, I'd be more inclined to tip.

WillyNilly

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7490
  • Mmmmm, food
    • The World as I Taste It
Re: Tipping the Caterer
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2012, 03:39:35 PM »
^ But but but that is tipping the caterer.  A gratuity is a tip, isn't it?  A service charge is different then a tip, but I thought a gratuity was a tip.  So therefore you are tipping the caterer, just not tipping them in cash, or tipping them more.

CluelessBride

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1647
Re: Tipping the Caterer
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2012, 04:15:32 PM »
^ Well yes, that's my argument for not tipping extra.  My point was more that at least for all the caterers I've looked into that fee is there, so it's not really a choice.  Some do call it a service charge while some call it a gratuity and sometime the same place calls it by either name (like service charge on the website but gratuity on the contract or vice versa), but it's always 18% for some reason.  But that's very possibly a regional thing.

I still may choose to tip, say a bartender included with the catering package extra, because I wouldn't necessarily know if they would be tipped out by the company.  But the company is already being paid for the "service" by way of both their pricing and their service charge and/or gratuity.  So I wouldn't feel compelled to tip them extra (unless they went above and beyond).

That said, not all venues think that gratuity = tip.  One venue I looked at actually included an 18% "gratuity" and a line that said the gratuity wasn't a tip.  Plus the per plate prices were higher than what their restaurant charged and higher than most of the other venues of that type.  It read as money grabbing (which I suppose is a business's right), so I didn't even make it past the webpage.