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Gratuity? Automatic or let customer decide?
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Joe Bryant
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16 09 3:07 am    Post subject: Gratuity? Automatic or let customer decide? Reply with quote

What do you folks think about the practice of automatically adding in gratuity? If you do this, what % seems reasonable?

Also, can you share a little about how you handle this in the selling process?

Personally, as a consumer I hate automatic gratuity. I can't remember the last time I tipped less than 20% but still, the idea that I have no choice on gratuity rubs me wrong. I wonder if I'm the exception. Assuming I'm not the exception, how do you folks that include it automatically handle it in the sales process?

And for you folks that don't include it automatically, what kind of gratuity do you usually see? Do you do anything to "encourage" voluntary gratuity (outside of doing a great job of course).

Thanks.

J
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SoEzzy
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16 09 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/search.php

Go here and input "gratuity" without the quotes in the top box. you'll find 127 threads that include gratuity, 122 of them in the catering section.

You'll be happy to know that both sides and most positions on this have been covered so you'll have a good read, if you're interested. Wink Laughing Wink
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Joe Bryant
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16 09 4:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks. I'm sure I'm just not seeing it but is there a way to search by thread title only? The reason I started the thread was to try to save time from reading through 122 threads where the word gratuity is mentioned somewhere within the thread.

Thanks.

J
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Jeff Hughes
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16 09 4:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please, take a little time and do some reading, the topic has been beat to death here...
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Joe Bryant
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16 09 5:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Jeff. Will do.

J
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marvsbbq
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16 09 6:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jeff Hughes wrote:
Please, take a little time and do some reading, the topic has been beat to death here...


Yes it has and not sure some want to open that can of worms again... Laughing Laughing Laughing
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SoEzzy
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16 09 7:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some of the worms! Wink Laughing Wink

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=15577

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=10782

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9733

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9428

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4383

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6201

That should give you a start.
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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16 09 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are against having a mandatory gratuity, then don't do it to your own clients, let your conscience decide for you using the same feelings you have when you get charged a mandatory gratuity.

From our experiences if we added a mandatory gratuity onto our bill, we would be cutting ourselves short in most cases. We regularly receive tips in excess of the common 18%-20% mandatory gratuity that some business's charge.

if you want to charge for service as a separate part of the bill you can call it a "service charge" instead of a gratuity.
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Joe Bryant
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16 09 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SoEzzy wrote:
Some of the worms! Wink Laughing Wink

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=15577

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=10782

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9733

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9428

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4383

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6201

That should give you a start.


Thanks a lot, SoEzzy.

J
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Grnmtn BBQ Chef
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16 09 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting topic with a lot to read.

I think what it shows the most is we are all allowed to run our business in the way we feel the best for us. I don't thing there is a right or wrong just what suits the area we practice our craft in.

For my own self and area, I don't add in a grat'. I place at the bottom of the invoice... Gratutity left to the clients discrestion, and point this out during the work up meetings. I also stress that this is where the waitstaff makes their major money for the event.

It would be intersting to start another thread with a question of what do you pay your servers.
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marvsbbq
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16 09 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harry Nutczak wrote:
If you are against having a mandatory gratuity, then don't do it to your own clients, let your conscience decide for you using the same feelings you have when you get charged a mandatory gratuity.

From our experiences if we added a mandatory gratuity onto our bill, we would be cutting ourselves short in most cases. We regularly receive tips in excess of the common 18%-20% mandatory gratuity that some business's charge.

if you want to charge for service as a separate part of the bill you can call it a "service charge" instead of a gratuity.


That is just too cool Harry, You are one lucky man!! (company)

I have talked on this subject to many people in many different areas of the country (different forums) that are in the catering business and NONE of them can say this. Some of these same people are in the "high end" side of catering and still get nothing extra.

So for your company to consistently receive a 20+% tip is just outstanding and certainly gives hope to the rest.. Wink Wink
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FairWeatherSmoker
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16 09 11:53 pm    Post subject: Gratuity Reply with quote

IF they add it it's a gratuity. IF you add it, it's a surcharge.
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Joe Bryant
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17 09 2:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of my other ventures is I own a website that provides Fantasy Football information for folks. Part of the site includes a very active message board. We of course have forums covering football stuff but we also have a non football "Free For All" where other things are discussed.

I threw this topic out to the board today. Made it a poll where folks could vote. They are not caterers but these folks are never short on opinions. No idea if this will be of interest to anyone but thought I'd share here. http://forums.footballguys.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=464715

J
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marvsbbq
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17 09 5:02 am    Post subject: Re: Gratuity? Automatic or let customer decide? Reply with quote

Joe Bryant wrote:
What do you folks think about the practice of automatically adding in gratuity? If you do this, what % seems reasonable?

Also, can you share a little about how you handle this in the selling process?

Personally, as a consumer I hate automatic gratuity. I can't remember the last time I tipped less than 20% but still, the idea that I have no choice on gratuity rubs me wrong. I wonder if I'm the exception. Assuming I'm not the exception, how do you folks that include it automatically handle it in the sales process?

And for you folks that don't include it automatically, what kind of gratuity do you usually see? Do you do anything to "encourage" voluntary gratuity (outside of doing a great job of course).

Thanks.

J


To answer your question, the "amount" of gratuity all depends on the part of the country you are in but the "span" (if you will) is 15%-25%
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BBQMAN
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17 09 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wish I had that problem as well Harry. Rolling Eyes

And yes, this topic has been beat to death here on numerous occasions.
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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17 09 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

marvsbbq wrote:
Harry Nutczak wrote:
If you are against having a mandatory gratuity, then don't do it to your own clients, let your conscience decide for you using the same feelings you have when you get charged a mandatory gratuity.

From our experiences if we added a mandatory gratuity onto our bill, we would be cutting ourselves short in most cases. We regularly receive tips in excess of the common 18%-20% mandatory gratuity that some business's charge.

if you want to charge for service as a separate part of the bill you can call it a "service charge" instead of a gratuity.


That is just too cool Harry, You are one lucky man!! (company)

So for your company to consistently receive a 20+% tip is just outstanding and certainly gives hope to the rest.. Wink Wink


I am lucky? how do you figure? 100% of all received tips get evenly divided among the employee's. The only part of me being lucky was being able to get talented cooks and servers that go the extra mile to earn their tips.

Other issues that can create larger gratuities is they way you dress and the way you treat your clients.

Would tip a sloppily dresse, rude waiter very well`at a restaurant?

Earning tips is based on the overall experience that your client experiences while they are being served by you and your company.
I would be willing to bet that if our employees and I typically wore t-shirts, jeans or some other shoddy attire that I consider unprofessional while serving clients. We probably would not receive tips of that percentage.

I was at an event catered catered by another company last year, (we roasted a pig for them to serve to their clients) I showed up near serve time to help my cook Rudy get the pig off the cooker and get it on the serving table.
I looked around and I was very appalled by how this other caterer set up the buffet with the cheap-ass utensils, Dollar store bowls, and how their carver was dressed with his wrinkled-ass yellow stained beat up old chefs coat that was 2 sizes too large and knives that looked like they came from a dumpster at a goodwill store! He is serving food, Not pumping out a septic tank! I wear nicer looking clothes than what he had one when I chage my oil on the truck!
When we were out of hearing distance of the caterer and guests I said to Rudy. "this is what I am competing with? WTF?! We go over the top and make sure everything is perfect in every aspect to compete against this shoddy looking crap like this? Why do I even bother?" Then he said to me, "becuase anything less than perfect is not good enough, You're the one that taught me that."

It is all what you make of every event, Dress for success and make the client feel special. They are the one paying you, it is your duty to make their event the best it can be, then maybe those higher tips may start rolling in.
We are not just cooking food, we are creating an unforgettable experience for our clients.
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BBQMAN
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17 09 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now I know why most of our clients don't tip! Laughing
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marvsbbq
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17 09 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do agree (and comply) as I am sure all the other caterers here, that we should (and do) give 100% of our very best service for our clients and their guests. Anything less is unacceptable...IMO

Last edited by marvsbbq on Fri Apr 17 09 10:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Grnmtn BBQ Chef
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17 09 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe it is all part of the show. If you took a look at the pictures I posted awhile back of my buffet lines, you saw what my staff wears. Black and white and they look professional. I am one of those who wear the crazy Chef pants and different colored jackets. For themes we dress in the fashion from real red neck bibs, to houla shirts depending on what they want. We have even done one where it was come as your favorite SNL character.

When I have servers for the larger gigs, we get a cash tip 100% of the time, but that is covered during the intial interviews but they tip what they want. It could be 10 dollar per server, could be 100. Their choise not figured for them. When it is a smaller gig and just me, it usually depends on the clients back ground. There is a line of thought that I am the owner and I am getting paid already so no tip but that is rare. Most time they do, or slip a case of beer in the back of my rig, or a couple bottles of wine, so there is usually something. One of my gated estate clients gives me exclusive hunting rites on their land... Very Happy how much is that worth?

With that said all the catering houses around me automaticly include 18%. My client base is happy giving what they want not being dicatated to what to pay.

It is your business and set the tone to what you feel fits your style.
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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18 09 1:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

marvsbbq wrote:
I do agree (and comply) as I am sure all the other caterers here, that we should (and do) give 100% of our very best service for our clients and their guests. Anything less is unacceptable...IMO


You bring up a valid point,
Maybe that other caterer we did the pig for was giving the very best that they had to offer with the maximum skill level they possessed.

lets use restaurants as a comparison, You're paying big bucks to be served and treated like royalty. Would you be more willing to tip properly if the crew was dressed professionally as pictured below, or wearing jeans and t-shirts and baseball hats?

I am not in that picture, becuase I was the one with the camera.

How about that guy that comes into your office to maintain that $100K+ digital copier/network printer you have? Are you going to feel better about the cost paying him/her the $130/Hour service charge while they are dressed in a suit and tie and had the correct tools for the job?
What about if they are showed up wearing jeans and a t-shirt, and decided to use a butter knife for a screwdriver and pulled a snotty hand-kerchief out of their back pocket to clean the optics!

This has nothing to do with the question about "Should I charge mandatory gratuities"
it is just and example of how to earn bigger and better tips and make the client feel better about paying the bill, and wilfully adding a healthy tip on top of that.
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