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Mandatory? Gratuity

3083 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.
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I am getting ready to do my first ever job. It's a strictly hors d'ouvres party for 45 and I'm planning to do it alone. I had heard about the standard 15% gratuity or service charge and mentioned it to the client in an email exchange. When we eventually spoke, she said that she had checked around with other caterers and that such a charge was not at all standard. I was pretty dumfounded. (Never mind that she's getting a great deal.) Whether or not she's right, I don't know. I was certainly under the impression that it was standard. So do I just call it a wash and chalk it up to a learning experience?
Thanks for the tips. I sure do have a lot to learn. A follow up question:

According to your explanation, or what I understand of it, if I hire one person to assist me, I get to add on the 15% service charge, but if it's just me then I don't. (This assumes, as you said, that service charges are standard where I'm working--which is in NYC). In this particular case, then, this one person would be making $135 for about 5-6 hours of work--which seems like a lot in this case. So how do I account for the surcharge then?

These are highly amateurish questions, I realize. I'm just trying to find my way around these murky waters...

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