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beenthere
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Username: beenthere

Post Number: 1
Registered: 04-2006

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Posted on Sunday, May 14, 2006 - 09:38 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I know that this has been discussed many times already, but what do you think is fair for tipping out a bartender? At our restaurant, the bartender takes care of the bar, and service. There is not much of a bar crowd. Most people who do go to the bar before dinner transfer their tab to their food tab, so the server gets all the tip. The only tip out for servers is to the bar - no bussers or foodrunners and the hostess does not get tipped out.

Any thoughts?
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beenthere
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Posted on Sunday, May 14, 2006 - 10:33 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I should add on that we do sell bottles of wine...Last night, there were 15 bottles of wine sold. Our end of night reports do not seperate the wine between bottles and glasses, but the servers usually know how many bottles they sold.
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teleburst
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Posted on Sunday, May 14, 2006 - 11:21 am:   Edit Post Print Post

In the past three places I've worked, here are the schemes:

First place - brewpub/restaurant. Lots of beer, some wine, fewer "hard liquor". 10% of all liquor/beer sales. No transfers from the bar allowed. Guest must settle up before going to the table.

Second place - fine dining. Lots of martinis/scotch on the rocks (no blender drinks), some beer, no wine. Bottles of wine handled tableside by server exclusively (they fetch the bottle from the cellar) and wines by the glass poured tableside from bottles located in the dining room - 5% of alcohol sales from the well and 15% for all transfers from the bar (including food if on the bill)

Current place - casual mass market place. Frou-frou drinks, some beer, some wine, smaller proportion of alcohol than last two ploaces. Straight 1% of all sales whether you've sold any alcohol or not.

I've run the numbers and it usually works out to be roughly 1% of all sales regardless of the method used. Or, it usually works out to be about 10% of any alcohol sales if figured over a weekly basis.
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jammie
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Registered: 06-2003

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Posted on Sunday, May 14, 2006 - 04:42 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

been, as inconvenient as it may be for the customer, its not really good for the bartender to transfer the check. I would be a little ticked if I waited on people they go in to dine and I get zilch. Except what the server decides to tip out to me. I say no transfers.
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beenthere
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Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 04:28 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Thanks for the input.

I used to wait tables and bartend, but now I am an owner. I have trouble getting good bartenders, because they make so little in tips. I used to rely on the servers judt doing what was right, but the bar seems to get screwed.

I am not sure I am ready to say NO TRANSFERS. Alot of our guests would be upset by that, I think. We are in upstate NY in a small town. I need the business. If there were lines out the door I'd change the rules. I used to work at a place where they would not allow tab transfers - a lot of customers seemed pretty unhappy by the rule.
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jammie
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Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 07:13 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I guess its a little late becasue the guests already know you have the capability to do it. Maybe a little lie, "we have a new format on our computer and its supposed to be easier, although it does not allow us to transfer checks"
We can transfer with our system, however we do not, if someone decides to switch seats at the bar for what ever reason we just cash them out. Saying that we keep separate tills. Which we do, but a guest taking one of my seats that I am not going to get tipped on does not work. Sorry I am not there to show off my new skid free shoes.
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tricky
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Username: tricky

Post Number: 158
Registered: 05-2005

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Posted on Friday, May 19, 2006 - 08:04 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Unfortunately, this is the time when the staff just has to take it.

If I went to any decent (to me anything non-chain using linen napkins, with water service and a wine list) restaurant and overheard a bartender tell a guest that s/he could not transfer his/her bar tab, I'd likely not go back. (Now, I don't usually transfer tabs. I'm the guest who offers to pay the tab, pays it and then starts a new tab at the table.)

We're in the hospitality business. There are a lot of things that we do that I think are above and beyond, but it is clearly a reasonable expectation that if a guest has two drinks, dinner, a bottle of wine and then coffee in the same restaurant that s/he will only have to pay that restaurant one time.

I've worked in pretty nice places where the bar was almost solely "We're waiting for a table" or "We've just eaten." Little food was served at the bar, few people came in just for a drink. The bar rang very little. They still transferred off their checks. The tip-out was just high. 10% of server tips (not on sales, not on liquor, 10% of what servers made) and the equivalent portion of the tip for every transferred check. So, even though the check was transferred to a table, the server didn't get to keep the tip on the bar tab. The bartenders printed out each check they transferred and turned them all into the MOD at the end of the shift. Servers would tip out taking those checks into account. Sure, some fudging happened, but the bartenders always made 50% more than the servers, so they weren't complaining.

Up your tipout from your servers. Make the bartenders keep the checks they transfer, and write who they transferred to. Make the servers tip out all of the tip for the transferred checks, + whatever you feel to be fair. This should bump your bartenders up to a relatively fair wage - one that allows you to keep good ones.

But upsetting a guest by telling him/her that s/he can't transfer a tab is only going to cost everyone money; you, servers and bartenders.

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tricky
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Post Number: 159
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Posted on Friday, May 19, 2006 - 08:27 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I realized that this could be ambiguous or confusing, so I'm giving an example with easy to follow numbers, lol.

equivalent portion of the tip for every transferred check.

ie...

(Transferred) Bar tab = $50.
Total check = $250.
Guest tip = $50.

Bar portion of tip for that table = $10

So, the server would tip out $13 or $14 on that table. (They tipped out $3 or $4 of the other $40 tip from the table, because that was just about their 10%. Servers sometimes fudged the 10% on tables that they transferred by $1 or $2, and management seemed fine with it because the bar was making about 50% more than the servers, which was in line with that company's more casual restaurants - who rarely transferred bar tabs because guests just chose to pay them at the bar.)

I was mostly a server, and while it sucked to tip out so much, I understood the procedure and still made good money, so I was fine with it.
The bartenders seemed more than happy with the system, so while it would be difficult to swallow for current servers, it would go a long way to keeping good bar staff and really isn't unfair to the servers.
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jammie
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Posted on Friday, May 19, 2006 - 08:40 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Thats the deal tricky, being fair to everyone. You and I would know to close out with the bar, and start over at the table. Beenthere did say that keeping good bartenders was difficult. You may have nailed it my dear.

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