I'm renting event space for a party, how much do I tip?
January 10, 2013 8:12 AM   Subscribe

I'm renting a room at a local winery for a Bar Mitzvah reception. The winery provides the location, the setup/teardown, tables/linens, and arranges the catering. I am being billed at $xx per person. How much of a tip am I supposed to leave?

I don't know if I'm supposed to leave a certain amount as a gratuity or if it's supposed to be a percentage of the fee that I'm paying - I anticipate the rental + catering + wine is going to be about $6,000 - A 20% tip on that is $1200 which is a lot of money - the costs for this event are already adding up as it is.

Is it appropriate to leave a flat tip or am I expected to pay a percentage of the final bill?

The winery provides the event space and will set up tables/chairs/linens - they hire out the caterers. I pay the winery directly if that helps.
posted by neilkod to Grab Bag (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Generally you are expected to pay a percentage (in my experience this is added on to the bill at the end but discussed up front). I have tipped 15% to 18% depending on the location and the terms of the contract etc. Its very similar to restaurants that have a policy of adding on an 18% tip to the bill for groups of 6 or more because the tip does add up and people do have a tendency to drastically under tip ("flat rate tip") on a high tab when the serving staff and bartenders are doing the same or even more work. You should speak with the catering manager or whomever took the booking but I would be truly surprised in anything less than 15% would be expected.

However given you mention a seperate caterer you should ask specifically about the tipping policy or if it hase already been included in the catering/bar bill. In my experience, at some places the tip has only been on the food/beverage portion of the bill and I have often not had to tip on the facility rental charge. So this might some into play at your event.
posted by saradarlin at 8:23 AM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

You should clarify this far in advance with the event manager who is coordinating all of these services. There should not be any question about gratuities or service charges left up to chance, it should all be specified in the contract.

As an event manager in NYC, I would always include it, and it would be 20%. Some things might be excluded from the calculation, such as equipment rental (mostly because they've probably already tacked on a kind of internal service charge on that).
posted by bcwinters at 8:27 AM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

For sure discuss with the venue. When I did my wedding, tips were part of the price.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:34 AM on January 10, 2013

I agree, ask. Also, google around, this will probably be similar to those hosting a wedding reception and wondering about tipping.

If $1200 seems like a lot of money, stop for a second and divide by the number of people who will be working there. If you've got 12 people working for a full night, that's a $100 tip for each of them. How much would those people make in tips if they were working a bar or waiting tables for a night?

I've also heard that scummy catering halls stiff their workers on the tips if the customer gives one big tip to whomever is in charge, that sometimes the workers will receive just some (or none!) of the tip. I'm not sure how practical that would be given your logistics.

Then again, I've helped out with some wedding photogs and I've been tipped anywhere from nothing to $50 (usual) to $100 (not so usual) for the event. I'd get the tip directly from whomever hired the photog (bridge, groom or some family member) since we were never associated with the venue.
posted by Brian Puccio at 10:30 AM on January 10, 2013

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