(Closed) So a service charge is NOT a tip?

posted 8 years ago in Etiquette
  • poll: Do I need to tip as well (in this scenario)?

    Yes

    No

  • Post # 18
    Member
    6255 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: March 2014

    View original reply
    @MrsBeck:  Do you have a (non-venue) coordinator? You wont have time to worry about dispensing the money to them individually, but I bet he/she will be able to take care of it.

    Post # 19
    Member
    743 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: June 2012

    At my venue, the 20% service charge covered our “tip” to the wait staff.  That being said, we gave an extra $100 per waiter when we paid (the next morning) because everyone was so amazing….

    Post # 21
    Member
    238 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: March 2014

    I would definitely ask, our service charge at the banquet hall I work at is NOT a tip. The service charge goes back to the hall for their costs of set up, clean up, etc.

    Post # 23
    Member
    1026 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: September 2012

    @MrsBeck:  I would check with the company.  I worked for a venue/caterer for 5 years.  We added a 20% service charge to every event, and NONE of it was for a tip for the waitstaff.  In our case, the person booking the event got around 2%, and the rest went to the business to cover “wear and tear on the facilities and supplies”  (so the linens that got too stained to reuse, broken glasses or plates etc etc. For the most part it was more profit in the owners pocket.)  That being said, I’ve worked with other venues where the 20% service charge really did go to the waitstaff.  If the service charge isn’t considered a tip, I’d hand cash to the waitstaff/bartenders.  I’ve worked too many places as a server/bartender where managers have skimmed off the top of tips given to them to distribute.  I’m not saying it happens everywhere, but for me personally I want to make sure the tip goes to the person I intend it to.  

    Post # 24
    Member
    323 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: July 2013

    For us, there is a Gratuity, Service Charge, and Tax that is added to the original price of the meal. The service charge, as explain in our contract, is the fee they charge to “serve” the wedding. As a buffet, the service charge is only 5%. so $1.25 per person. If it were plated, it would be 20%, which is $5 per person.  The Gratuity is 20% and this pays the chef and servers. If we were doing a plated meal, it would be 25% (yikes).

    Basically the company gets $250 from the service charge, and the wait-staff gets to split $1000 for the gratuity (200 people). We will have 2 head chefs, 4 Sou Chefs, and 4 servers at each of our 2 buffet lines. Then there will be 6 servers managing table side drinks (water, tea, and wine). Basically each server has 3-4 tables to watch over and “serve” beverages to. Then we have a dedicated server serving the head table. So really, each person working is getting less than $50 for working that night. (2 hours of serving, and 2 hours of break-down and set up… that is about 12 bucks an hour.)

    Post # 25
    Member
    1603 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: August 2013

    In New York State, it is violation of law if service charges are not paid to servers.  However, at large venues, it is much more common that they are paid a higher wage, which the service fee covers.  These venues treat the servers more professionally, they are given more set hours and set compensation. 

    I am sorry, the time to clear this is before contract signed. 

    Post # 26
    Member
    8434 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: April 2013

    Definitely read your contract.  My venue charges a 23% service fee, 5% of which is a service charge and 18% as the gratuity. 

    Post # 27
    Member
    388 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: October 2012

    Don’t get me started on ‘tipping’!

    Post # 28
    Member
    5789 posts
    Bee Keeper

    http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs15.htm

     

    The service charge is not a tip. The gratuity is considered the tip.

    As to how to handle it, we had cash in envelopes marked seperately for those we were tipping. They were given out individually before the end of the night. We gave the bartenders each $100. and waitstaff each got $50. They were all attentive and provided outstanding service all night, so we felt they deserved it.

    The caterer charged a 20% service fee, 7% sales tax, plus 15% gratuity.

    Post # 29
    Member
    1603 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: August 2013

    Member, a service charge may or may not be a tip.  One should ask venue befoe signng contract.

    The topic ‘So a service charge is NOT a tip?’ is closed to new replies.

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