POLL: How much should you tip for fancy, pricy cocktails?
Over at the advice section of the New York Times Dining Journal, Florence Fabricant writes:
The dollar per drink you might tip for some “well” alcohol on the rocks is not adequate these days for that Cucumber Basil Crush. Mixologists are becoming chefs and take special care in how their drinks are assembled and served. And for that reason, I’d tip $2.50 to $3 on a $14 cocktail — even if the bartender isn’t a great conversationalist.
Of course, even if bartenders are becoming more like chefs, it doesn’t necessarily follow that they should receive heftier tips—after all, most cooks usually receive a relatively meagre tip-out at the end of the night. Over at the Awl, Alex Balk argues, “If you’re drinking $14 cocktails you should be tipping the same way. Which is to say, stupidly.” We thought we’d put the question to our esteemed readers.
13 thoughts on “POLL: How much should you tip for fancy, pricy cocktails?”
Tipping is an evil custom that should be abolished. Pay your staff what their worth and charge what the food is worth. If the front end staff give bad service fire their asses.
that being said sean, we’ll put you down for $0. the question was about an elaborate cocktail-so a cocktail artist like barchef-how dow you show your appreciation? applause? a kind word? tipping is a great form of expression!
YOU KNOW WHY SERVICE IN CANADA IS SO BAD , BECAUSE CANADIANS ARE …..CHEAP…….
THEY ARE POOR TIPPERS AND THATS WHY WE GET POOR SERVICE
sweeping generalisations aside,as there is good service too-really there is, poor service exists because 1) the wrong people are in the wrong jobs 2) the people who train the servers, train them poorly 3) people who manage and supervise the poor servers tend to be poor managers and supervisors themselves
some canadians are cheap, as are some people from every country in the world.
BULLSHIT. YOU KNOW THE OLD JOKE, “WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CANADIAN AND A CANOE….CANOES TIP! BUT THEN AGAIN $14.00 FOR A OUNCE OF ALCOHOL DOESN’T LEAVE MUCH FOR THE TIP. TORONTONIANS SURE LOVE TO PARADE THEIR MONEY BUT HATE TO PART WITH IT.
well scott, if you’d read the article from NEW YORK and actually visited the states you’d know that a 1 ounce pour is non-existant there…
plainly you are an idiot….why don’t you write your manifesto on service standards the way you would have them in your restaurant…educate us on your worldly vision….
To the comments that say Canadian “cheapness” and stingy tipping are the reasons we have poor customer service, it’s our culture to blame.
If you comparing us to the USA, Americans – on the customer end, Americans have an expectation to be served and are assertive about what they like/don’t like. Simultaneously, they have a respect for hierarchy, a service attitude and a much tougher competitive environment to work in. All these factors combine to create customers who speak up when they are unhappy and servers who are motivated to keep the customer happy.
If you’re comparing us to Europe – if you ‘have’ good/great service over there it’s because waitering is a profession that people go into young as apprentices and stay in for life.
If you’re comparing us to other countries, maybe you just found your server’s ‘exotic’ ways charming, when they may have actually been telling you the entire staff spat in your soup…
At the end of the day, we Canadians get the service we deserve and if we want better, need to stand up for ourselves as customers. Complain more. About the snooty waiter who just insulted you and your date. About being the only person at the table who didn’t receive your food (or an apology), about half the meals at the table being served inedible, etc, etc.
Scott has a pickle up his a–
Just like in any industry, just because ONE night you had a group of Canadians not tip you well, doesn’t mean ALL Canadians tip like crap.
Get over it and grow up!
In this space I’d like to make you all aware that you think you are leaving a tip for your server – or even believe it is going into a pool that is shared by all servers/bar staff who contributed to your meal and pleasant evening – – -W R O N G !!
Greedy management/owners take a cut right off the top of all tips before they pay it out to the staff! The establishment OWNERS ! That’s right. In addition to their profits they in effect steal the tip money from their staff. This is a practice that is common and ‘accepted’ in the industry only because you are forced to adhere to it and say nothing if you want to work. It is criminal, amoral, and absolutely disgraceful that in this sophisticated city we put up with gluttonous financial bullying of this sort. It smacks of ‘insurance’ in the bygone era of gangsters. No one speaks about it or writes about it. I know about it – first hand – because a family member is in the industry and has worked in some of our finest establishments in Toronto. Remember next time you tip – – you may be unwittingly putting money right into the owners’ pockets to tally and distribute at THEIR discretion and timing, (often weekly..the money is all put into the owner’s bank and then distributed ONCE a WEEK) rather than the entire amount going to where YOU intend it to go, and WHEN you intend it to be given.
The only way we can put a stop to it and control who gets OUR MONEY is if each time we receive our bill – we ask the owner how tips are handled in his restaurant – force him to tell us and explain himself. We must stand up to the highway robbery of these men and women who receive minimum wage, little or no benefits,(yes…their choice) but look to the gratitude of the people they serve for the lion’s share of their income. Just try it….ASK.
Tipping is like sex and the provider and the recipient will make the judgement on performance so put away the calculators and the protest signs and remember these people are handling your food doing so out of your sight
This is ridiculous — to compare what a bartender does to serve a drink to what a server does to serve a meal makes no sense. One takes 5 minutes. The other, two or more hours. Reality check, people.
Comment to Stephanie,
First of all, clearly you have never been either a server or a bartender. If you had, you would realize that bartenders are more like chefs in a restaurant in the fact that drinks and cocktails are recipes that have to be learned, memorized, and recalled quickly for each customer. Making a Midori Sour is completely different than making a Cosmopolitian. Both have an exact way to make them as well as recipe ingredients in varying amounts. The bartender usually multi-tasks by making multiple beverages at the same time and usually under 3 minutes for an order. They must also remember which customer ordered what with lots of people at the bar. If you have ever been to a nightclub, where there are 60+ people waiting for drinks at the bar you know how amazing this can be. The same can be said for serving tables however with tables there are at least ways to know what table ordered what via table numbers. The same can not be said for bar-tending in a club. A bartender is also similar to a barista at at coffee shop who makes your drink in the fact that there are distinct ways and recipes for each beverage. An Americano, Latte, Carmel Machiato, Mocha, and A Misto are all very different drinks with different ingredients and ways of prepping.
On the other hand, a server visually inspects the food from the kitchen, adds appropriate garnish or sauce to decorate the plate, insures that the food ordered by each person at the table receives what they ordered, refills beverages sometimes however in restaurants with a bar, the bartender does this. The server also clears the table and offers desert. In your comment about a server taking 2 or more hours to do their job, What do you mean? A server should never take 2 hours or more for one table to serve a meal. Usually 30 minutes to maybe an hour and a half if the customers are relaxing. Until you have the ability to see these for yourself please don’t demoralize workers who absolutely bust their butt for you to enjoy your experience.
While I haven’t ever paid more than $8.00 for a drink at a bar or club, I do always give at least $1.00 for each drink at a coffee shop or at a bar and the server as long as they are remotely competent gets 25-50% depending on service. I have been a server and a barista and have done some bar tending so I am informed on these items and feel confident commenting here. I do not wish to upset anyone but please think of these jobs and how well you think you would do before being so hard on others. BTW, If you are eating a meal in a small place with a server busting their butt and your order comes to $6.00 please DO NOT LEAVE THEM $.90 because it is a 15% tip. Servers who have people like that on average make way less. I was a server in a small town that would run deals every Monday night for $1.00 burgers and $1.00 fries. I hated those nights because we would be super busy and I would be lucky to leave with $25 a night in tips how can a server survive on that?
Thanks for taking the time to read my comments
i will tell you from a bartender/mixologist point of view, 1. a $14 cocktail will likely have 2-3 oz of booze in it, or if it’s only 1oz, be a premium spirit where the cost is higher.
2. like that stupid #$%^ bartender say video, i do make my own bitters, syrups, and special garnishes, that all take extra time, care and effort to make, so your drink tastes fantastic. These things oyu cant buy in stores, and are an extension of the care and passion we as bartenders put into our work(for those that do).
3. if you’re at a high volume night club drinking vodka/sodas etc, for sure, tip your surly $1 per drink, because its volume for them, and the faster those club bartenders pump out drinks, the more they make!, as for crafty bartenders/mixologists/barchefs, we take extra time, effort, care into making you drinks… you should respect that fact.
4. premium spirits cost more than your typical rail stuff, so if a drink costs $14 and you’re getting a premium spirit, chances are, the cost to actually make your drink is higher, thus they charge more to make sure they can make money off of it..
5. bartenders/mixologists work just as hard, if not harder than most bartenders, take pride in their work, love what they do and are happy to spend time explaining your drink.. it can be a rewarding and fun experience and you might learn something, again worth tipping them for…
6. tipping well does get you better service, its a fact of life.. you tip your hairstylist because they do a great job and you trust them, there are many other examples to pull from..
in the end, perhaps consider that bartenders always work hard, sometimes never getting a break on shift… the industry is not your typical 9-5 type job, and those working in it know this.. those who’ve never worked in it, will never really grasp it..
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