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Tipping when you buy expensive drinks

Discussion in 'Misc. Vegas Chat' started by DeMoN2318, May 31, 2013.

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  1. DeMoN2318

    DeMoN2318 The DERS

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    How are you supposed to tip when you buy expensive alcohol?

    For example, you go to a restaurant and get a nice bottle of wine or a few glasses of really nice spirits (~$200 a glass)...you get your bill and it is $1000...$150 in food and $850 in alcohol...do you really tip $200? or $50?

    Just because a glass of booze is more expensive doesn’t mean they do more work to pour it in a glass and walk it over to you...
     
  2. mike_m235

    mike_m235 Tourist

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    In theory, you tip on the meal, not the drinks. In practice I'd say split the difference. I think in the case that you specifically mentioned, $30 (20% of the food) isn't enough, but $200 is way too much.
     
  3. shifter

    shifter Degenerate Gambler

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    depends. I don't usually tip on the entire amount. like just last night i got a $1350 bill with a $1040 bottle of wine. i tipped $150. so i did tip on more than just the food amount, but i also didn't tip on the entire bill.
     
  4. DeMoN2318

    DeMoN2318 The DERS

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    What are your thought on if you are at a bar & grill and get an expensive drink? I go to this local bar & grill and usually get a glass or two of 18yr Macallan...its $20 a glass and I usually get a $10 burger which brings my bill to around $60...rule of thumb to me is $1 tip per drink but $4 on $60 just seems too low...

    I go there often and I don't want to be known as the poor tipper so I tip $12 on $60 since its 20%...but over tipping adds up...I have never had a serving job so I don't know if they expect a flat rate per drink or expect 20%
     
  5. shifter

    shifter Degenerate Gambler

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    in that case I usually tip 15-20%
     
  6. Someone

    Someone High-Roller

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    on the wine spectator forum people used to comment that they would sometimes tip 20% on the food and 12-15% on the wine especially if the wine had an extreme markup over what retail was or if it was a very expensive bottle in general

    I can't remember how it works with alcohol, but I do know that servers are going to pay the IRS 8% of their food sales (and I believe 8% of their total check sales including alcohol, but I do not remember for sure if alcohol is excluded or treated differently).....I also know at some places the server will tip out to the bussers and bartenders 1% or 2% of total check sales.....so a 10% tip on wine and the server would most likely be breaking even on that portion of the check and only making money on the food portion

    also it really depends on the service.....did they bring proper glassware......did they bring fresh glassware if you switched from a white to a red or a sparkling to something else or did they attempt to use the same glass......at olive garden or similar with some house wine who cares, but if you are paying $80-$100 per glass or $400+ per bottle that can matter at least to me and many others

    did they present the bottle to you to make sure it was what was requested or ordered (VS some other year for those that can keep up with such things) and did they present the cork so you can at least visually inspect it to make sure it does not look dried out or damaged.......did they open the bottle properly or did the trash the cork and then punch it into the bottle (haha)

    all of those things can add to the level of service and the "effort" on the part of a server.....on a single glass of wine there is actually a good chance the bartender poured it not the server, but on a bottle or more brought to the table with proper glassware, opened and presented properly, and glassware changed if switching wines through the meal that adds up to a lot of service on the part of the server and more so if they were actually around enough to pour for you to keep you topped off if you so desired (and did they ask before doing so or did they just pour to try and sell another bottle)

    as for the high end scotch the funny thing with that is the effort to find the bottle and dust it off and pour a shot is very small VS blending up some fru fru drink, but the price is so much higher of course.....and again I don't recall if bartenders are also charged 8% right off the top of total check sales by the IRS or if alcohol is treated differently than food....I believe it is ALL 8% off the top......but damn having a $10 dollar burger (not really cheap for a burger) and then having two shots and ending up tipping 20% on a $60 dollar bill means you tipped 20% more than the damn burger cost :confused2::eek:

    but then again if you can afford a $20 dollar shot....

    as for the wine I suppose no server could complain at all about 20% on the food and 12-15% on a very very expensive bottle or glass of wine even if they delivered very good overall service....they are still getting 2% to 5% after IRS and tip out on a very expensive addition to a check and yes it takes extra effort (and having a waiters friend in the pocket) to serve that wine, but the overall time that table of people took up space is the same or probably close to the same as someone that ordered water or ice tea for drinks on an average time basis and that will bring next to no additional tip for total time spent at work
     
  7. mike_m235

    mike_m235 Tourist

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    There's also the opposite phenomenon to this -- the one where I just have water and my bill ends up being ridiculously small. In that case, I always feel like I need to overtip because I've been taking up the same amount of space.
     
  8. gguerra

    gguerra Low-Roller

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    That brings up another question. What if I go to the bar at any casino and order two mixed drinks at $20 a piece which is quite high unless it's Macallen scotch or something. What would be the right amount for tip. 15%? So $46 total for two drinks? I think the 15%-20% amount is for meals served at a restaurant, isn't it?
     
  9. mike_m235

    mike_m235 Tourist

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    Dollar a drink at the bar is fine.
     
  10. DeMoN2318

    DeMoN2318 The DERS

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    Well with single malt scotch you dont shoot it...at least I dont...I sip on it and enjoy it...especially 18yr...takes me about 30-45 min to have 1 glass of 18yr

    But you bring up a good point about the glassware and experience...the first time I went to this bar & grill I asked our waitress what single malt scotch they have...she didnt know off the top of her head so she went and ask the bartender and returned and told me. I asked to see the bottle of 18yr Macallan because I wanted to make sure it wasnt nearly empty (since I dont know how long it has been sitting in that empty state) there was only about 15% left in the bottle...I said I would like a glass of this ONLY if they will open a new bottle, she said she would talk to the manager and sure enough they pulled a new bottle and I got the first dram out of it. They even served it to me in a Glencairn glass...which totally blew me away.

    I was so astonished by the service that I tipped the waitress 100% on the scotch since she went above and beyond to make it happen.

    The next time I went and ordered 18yr Macallan the waitress had no idea what I was talking about and tried to get me to switch my order...I told her to just tell the bartender and they will know...she brings me the drink in a tumbler with ice...even though i ordered it neat. I asked if I could have a glencairn glass or a snifter and she gave me tons of attitude. She finally brought me a snifter, grabbed my tumbler and poured it in the snifter (spilling some)...I told her that I didnt want the ice...so she poured it back into the tumbler slammed it down on the table and said fine then you do it and walked away. So now I have less than a full dram or watered down scotch...I'm sure you can guess that I didn't tip her 100%...I gave her $1


    So your point about the experience and correct protocol with the expensive alcohols definitely does indeed influence the tip...
     
  11. 44inarow

    44inarow VIP Whale

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    Agreed (although when I get a more complicated drink I'll tip $2, whereas if I'm drinking vodka on the rocks they just get a dollar). I find it easier to deal with this at the bar, since you can just tip in cash as you go along; I do this even if I'm running a tab.
     
  12. Someone

    Someone High-Roller

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    I did not mean shot as far as swilling it down I just meant it in so far as a single liquor usually poured neat or MAYBE over ice VS some drink that has 5 liquors, 3 sweet things, some sour thing, a garnish, blender, and umbrella

    pouring the single liquor (with the exception obviously of the one server you mentioned) should be a relatively simple process VS pouring a long island ice tea or a blender drink
     
  13. DeMoN2318

    DeMoN2318 The DERS

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    Ahhhhhh i gotchya now! yea you would think pulling a cork and pouring fluid from a bottle into a glass would be easy...
     
  14. numeno

    numeno VIP Whale

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    A few things affect how I tip

    1) Experience overall. If I'm sitting in a nicer lounge or high end restaurant, I'm tipping more than if I'm in some random local bar.
    2) How much effort they went through to get my drink. Pour a beer from a tab, pour 1 shot from a bottle, take 2 minutes and do 12 steps, ect...
    3) Overall service. When I'm solo I tend to sit at the bar to eat/drink. Just like a server at a regular table, I expect them to check on me every so often if I want something. Rarely can this detract from a tip, but it can increase it quite a bit.
    4) Could I make the drink myself and if so, how much would it cost?


    I am also a $1 tipper on drinks. The above conditions can increase that but in general if I go up to a bar, I'm tipping $1 per drink no matter if it was a $3 beer at a local bar or $9 in Vegas.

    #4 is probably the starting point or me. Your example of 18yr scotch is perfect. I can easily do this myself. If I get it myself I'm not paying $40 for a shot, I'm probably paying ~$100/bottle. So clearly insane markup. I understand it is also not a bottle of miller lite which I could go by for $1/bottle. So I immediately don't mind tipping a little more simply because it is a better alcohol. I'm simply not tipping on that $40 price though because that is an insane price.


    If I had to guess my normal is about 10% on such drinks. It gets bumped up to 15% or so on mixology drinks.

    - $1 tip
    - Add a little because I'm probably drinking in a place with a nice atmosphere
    - Add a little because even if I bought a bottle I'd still be paying $5+ for the shot
    - Add a little on mixology because they actually created something that was impossible for me to do.



    It isn't super complex when I'm tipping. I have no doubt sometimes I break every rule up there and just do 20% on the entire bill. I don't get out pen/paper each time to figure these things out. These are things I mainly thought about when I first started going to places that served $8+ beers when I was used to $3-$5. I get supply and demand, but I'm getting no better service here than I am at some local place(usually better service at the local place). I came to the conclusion that I just don't care about price when tipping on drinks, I care about the service. Start with $1/drink and move up(maybe down) from there based on how good of time I had.
     
  15. smartone

    smartone VIP Whale

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    Great post... I completely agree. I do put some thought into it, but don't whip out an abacus and start calculations. If I miss, I miss a little high and it's all about service. :peace:
     
  16. gongoman

    gongoman MIA

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    Well ya got to remember ..Usually the person that brings ya food and drink also has to give the Bartender money at end of night for making the drinks so I just usually give 25 percent on total bill..I surely don't want to get a name for being a shitty tipper..:beer:
     
  17. da1chifan

    da1chifan High-Roller

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    Very interesting post...

    I ran into this at Numb bar @ Harrah's a couple months ago. I was dying for a big frozen drink. I did get a couple shots added to it. The drink cost like $38. I tipped $7 and I really thought that was too much. I can measure shots of alcohol and turn on the "slurpee" tapper too...........
     
  18. wigwam_salesman

    wigwam_salesman VIP Whale

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    It was a five foot 91 octane from Fat Tuesday with some extra shots in it. That's all I can tell you.
     
  19. Bamfbowhunter

    Bamfbowhunter Low-Roller

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    I'm pretty sure they give you more than the tip with the prices some places charge.

    That being said I don't care what people pay. It's their money. If I'm in a mood to spend money I might buy a few high dollar drinks.

    As for tipping there is no way I tip based on the price of the drink. They did no more work
     
  20. Mitkraft

    Mitkraft High-Roller

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    :evillaugh I had to read that a few times before that registered! :thumbsup:
     
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