When you work in the food and beverage industry, a very large portion of your earnings will come in the form of tips. Some bartenders will make as much as 90% of their earnings from tips, so learning how to encourage your guests to be a little more generous can make a really big difference. Sure, you could just ask for a better tip from each of your faithful patrons, but more than likely you will just insult and alienate them and quickly see an increase in empty barstools; which won’t lead to a fatter wad of cash at the end of the night! Instead, you should use the ancient art of subtlety to make more tips, and here are some of the best tools you can use to accomplish just that.
Smile and Have Fun
When people head out to the bar or nightclub, they want to escape from their regular routine and enjoy life. The last thing they want is a bartender or server with a bad attitude and this will almost certainly reflect in their tipping habits. By simply wearing a nice smile and being friendly to your guests, you can put yourself on the way to earning more tips in no time.
Steady and Controlled Pace
It can be really easy to find yourself rushing around behind the bar or throughout the dining room; especially when it gets really busy. While it’s true that you need to get your drinks made and delivered in a timely fashion, running around like a chicken with your head cut off is not a good way to get your customers to relax. On the flip side, seeming too relaxed and disinterested can be equally off-putting. To maximize your tips, try to find a happy-medium between the two paces and you will also be rewarded with a less stressful workday.
Hone Your Skills
There’s nothing better as a customer than having a special bar or nightclub that can make a certain drink just right, so hone your skills and develop a specialty. Once you do, make sure everyone knows about it in a non-boastful manner. This will get you more repeat customers that you’ve built a solid relationship with across the bar and they are more likely to tip you well.
Learn to Upsell
Though you don’t want to shove drinks down the throats of customers that won’t enjoy their flavor, selling them a more expensive version of what they want will benefit both parties. Since most people tip based on the total cost of their bill, you will see more tips if it is slightly larger and they are more likely to enjoy themselves more if the drinks are tastier. When learning to upsell, you need to make sure you know what you’re talking about or you will look like a used car salesman and turn away customers.
Nobody expects their bartender to show up to work in a three piece suit, but shaving, styling your hair, and wearing a nice shirt can go a long way. Most customers aren’t interested in seeing the person making their drink where a wrinkly t-shirt and studies have shown that a bartender or server that looks classier is more likely to receive a larger tip.
Give Them a Show
Though it takes many years of practice and you don’t want to overdo it, doing a few bar tricks here and there can really increase the perceived value of your bar or nightclub. As you move around behind the bar, flip a bottle or two every so often if you have the skills and your customers will feel inclined to tip more because you are obviously a very skilled bartender.
Ultimately, there’s no sure-fire way to make a person tip more; but you can certainly stack the odds in your favor. Some people are cheap and always will be, and some people are generous and can give a great tip under the right conditions. Your best bet as a bartender or server is to create the right conditions, hope for the best, and count your wad of cash at the end of the night.