The question is Gratuity?

Posted on: July 2, 2015

When you dine in a restaurant, gratuity is generally something that is expected and given. We’ve all seen the shame posting on social media of a guy that didn’t tip his server and the social beating he gets. Restaurant work is hard and giving good service requires a positive attitude and a willingness to serve. In most cases it’s the norm to leave a tip for the server, in some situations a smaller tip is given when bad service occurs.

Event service in my mind is harder, in a restaurant you have a few assigned tables, as an event server you have a room full of tables to service. The emotional expectations of the host & hostess are higher due to the type of event i.e. wedding, bereavement dinner or corporate event. The amount of space walked by an event server is by far much larger than a standard restaurant server would walk.  Yet, time and time again a wonderful event will take place and the host or hostess will fall all over themselves with words of praise but no gratuity is offered. Over the years I’ve tried to analyze this and the conclusion I’ve come to is because the host or hostess invoice can be several thousands of dollars. Somehow that client feels that’s plenty of money being spent and I bet the staff gets paid well. The national average pay rate for a banquet server is $7.72 to around $10.04; the average equivalent restaurant server will make $5.50 per hour plus tips, for a white linen restaurant the tips can take a server to $58,000.00 yearly income.

The service industry is not for the faint of heart, long hours mostly on the weekends and physically hard work. The next time you’re at an event look around at the amount of work that’s taking place to make the event outstanding and think about the servers that are doing the work. Maybe you’ll consider passing a little gratuity along with the verbal praise; I know the banquet server will certainly appreciate it!