Chef Forum banner

Mandatory? Gratuity

3075 Views 15 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  w.debord
Hi there,

My company policy has always been "Gratuity is based on your descretion", where as a lot of my fellow caterers have a mandatory 18% in the contract.

My people work VERY hard, as I am sure most others do as well, my recent caters have found me with a great deal of "Budget " minded clients.
Just recently I did a Wedding $14.00 per person, Pasta's Hor'd, beverages, cake cutting, the clients including the parents on both sides hugged me and said I exceeded their expectations, however no tip, how do I gracefully tackle the gratuity issue?

I bill 1/2 thirty days before the event with the balance due the week of the event (I don't like tracking down clients during the event for payment) I was thinking since they are pre-paying the tip issue may be slipping their mind?

Thanks for any input.
1 - 2 of 16 Posts
Boy Joan, did you read my mind! I've got exactly the same problem. When bidding a job, I stress to the client that the only additional charge that will be added automatically is tax. I point out that other caterers in the area will be adding 15-18% grat as well as the possibility of other charges (uncorking, rental on chafers, etc.-I really don't like the idea of all these charges that are at the end on the menu in print too tiny to read.) They seem to either tell me the other caterer is $1 pp cheaper (which they're obviously not after the 15-18% is added) or they seem to understand and then don't tip! They act as if I've basically told them not to. But same as you, the feedback is fabulous - but all words & no cash! I did a Student Council banquet at LSU where I was hired by the President who works part time as a waiter at a local restaurant. He had put himself threw school on his tips. (I have a friend who works there - they adverage $35 a hour!) The tip on that one - you guessed it - zip! The only client I've have who always tips is from California. (I'm in Louisiana) I'm thinking of either adding that 15% like everybody eles or moving to California!!!! Maybe we're just too nice?
The Saucy Cajun
p.s. I do a lot of weddings too. Maybe after paying top dollar on the gown, the flowers, etc., they feel like they're finally getting a break. Maybe they're looking at what the whole wedding is costing by the "week of" and freaking out!:eek:
See less See more
I did raise my rates somewhat (not 18%) to help cover the lack of grat. However, that's what I meant when I said then they tell me, well this caterer is $X cheaper per person - conveniently forgeting that the other caterer's quote will have a percentage added.(But this is assuming that they have been told.) It's almost like the majority just want the base bid to be low, but don't really care what the bottom line is. You know, like the women who drives 30 miles to save 10 cents a lb. on a chicken! Most of my clients are women, whose husband pay the bill. Hum.....Maybe they are conveniently forgetting to tell him about the "add ons" (if they know)so they can talk him into the party or whatever.
I began with grat optional because a friend of mine had a catering biz with a name very like another one here in town. He did not automatically add grat. The other caterer did. He constantly received irate phone calls (at least 3 a month) from the other caterers clients after they had reviewed their bill. Obviously, this other caterer was not making it clear what the final bill was going to be. But it obviously is not working "grat optional". It's not working by upping my prices, 'cause then they think I'm more expensive. But I'm afraid that if I add the grat and explain it up front they'll think I'm more expensive UNLESS I explain that 18% is hidden on the back page of the other caterers proposal. I think a big part of both Joan & my problem is that we do a lot of weddings. Therefore, we deal with people that have never hired a caterer before - and may never again. I guess we're going to have to do a "Public awareness" program.I just feel bad exposing other companies bad business practices.But then, the consumer would benefit.
The Saucy Cajun
See less See more
1 - 2 of 16 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.