Tipping The Bartender

TIPS : To Insure Prompt Service

This is what bartenders and waitstaff live off of. Americans seem to be tip crazy but for good reason. Most servers are paid a very low (below minimum wage, sometimes called restaurant wage) hourly wage. The bulk of their paycheck is through tips provided by the people they serve. In many other countries, the waitstaff is paid a decent hourly wage and tips are just a bit of gravy on the top. Americans tend to over tip when traveling overseas.

I have traveled to many countries outside of the USA. Not many of them can even come close to the speedy service we receive in the states. The basic reason is simple, servers in the US are motivated. Motivated to provide fast, friendly and efficient service. On a recent trip to South Africa, although service was usually very pleasant, it was agonizingly slow. The same is true for many other countries I’ve visited (France being one of them).

American servers have more at stake. Their livelihood depends upon it. Yes, of course there are exceptions. We’ve experienced bad service. This could be for any number of reasons: inexperience, understaffing, bad management or a server just having a bad day.

A few tips of our own “To Insure Prompt Service”:

  • If the bar is crowded and the staff is a bit overwhelmed, step back for a few seconds and survey the situation. Check out where the bartenders are headed and try to get in just a head of them. Stay away from the pack that is all waiting for a fresh drink. Get in with the folks that have full drinks in front of them.
  • Don’t have money in their face. Don’t call out to them with something like “Hey Buddy, over here!”. You will just be ignored. They know you’re there.
  • Always tip well on the first drink if you’re planning on staying a while. They will usually remember that and keep a better eye on you. (My favorite)
  • Know EXACTLY what you want before approaching the bar. It’s also wise to have a back up drink plan in case the keg is kicked or they don’t stock your brand/flavor of liquor.

Bottom line is, take care of your server/bartender and they will take care of you.

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