Gratuities/Cash Gifts

Many people ask me about gratuities. So I thought I might give you some food for thought when it comes to tipping and cash gifts.

How much should one give for a wedding gift in cash? The rule of thumb is to give the amount that might have been spent on you for the affair. Recently My husband and I attended a very high end wedding in Hollywood. I am certain the family spent more then the two hundred dollars I put in an envelope for the Bride and Groom. Remember if you RSVP that you are attending and then cant go they have to pay for you anyway. So send a nice gift to cover the expense they incurred on your behalf. Most weddings cost the couple anywhere from $75 to $150 per guest when its all done and said. Consider the gift equal to the cost of a very nice evening out. If you choose to use a honeymoon website remember the recipient does not get all that you give the hosting website takes a percentage. Cash is king for new couples.

In the food service industry serving staff, bartenders and busses all work for the gratuities. The food service establishments cannot afford to pay them what they are worth and still make a profit so they depend on their gratuities to make a living. Providing good service is an art and takes time to perfect. In my company we do not prebill for gratuities. I believe gratuities are a gift for good service and should be personal. I put allot of effort into training and developing my crews. Its up to them to take the training and perform. Industry standard is 15% to 20%. And easy calculation is to double the tax and roll up.

Slow service is not always the fault of the service staff. Sometimes there are kitchen issues the servers cannot control. However they should be attentive, friendly and back to check on you often. They should be well groomed, skilled and professional not just friendly.
Never feel obligated to pay a gratuity to a rude or incompetent server.
Food quality is not always the fault of the service staff, however cold food might be. If in doubt talk it through.
Gratuities paid on credit cards have fees associated with them. The establishment often will deduct those fees from the servers portion.
Catering companies pay sales tax on gratuities that are added to the contracts and then the employees pay income tax when it goes on their paychecks. Individuals are required to claim their gratuities on their personal taxes every year. Pay with cash whenever you can.

Tipping is personal and is a gift for good service. If you really don’t feel it don’t give it but don’t shortchange someone because you didn’t budget for it or are simply being cheap.

Please let the staff and owner/manager know if your not happy with something keeping it to yourself will not help anyone to improve. Don’t write a bad review if you haven’t taken the time to discuss it first. Bad reviews hurt the establishment and the people involved. Make sure you know what and why before you mudsling! Pay it forward you will reap the benefits in the end.