Monday, December 22, 2014

Wine Tip of the Week: Restaurant Tipping for a Bottle of Wine

Tipping for food service in a restaurant is typically in the 10% to 20% range (of the pre-sale tax amount), depending on the service provided. The question is -  does this rule also apply to the bottle of wine you've ordered - regardless of the price? You are likely already paying a hefty markup of 100% to 200% over retail for that bottle of wine - do you need to pay the markup and tip on the marked up price too???

The simple answer is yes, at least to a degree. The markup on the wine is just a reality of restaurant dining and goes to cover the costs of providing wine - wine storage, maintaining inventory, stemware, staff training, perhaps a sommelier, spoilage, etc - plus (rightfully so) some profit for the proprietor.   Tipping is about the service you have received, and for servers in the restaurant industry it is how they make their living.  So when deciding what to tip, ask yourself how much service related to the wine did you receive and was it good quality?

- Did a sommelier take time to discuss and present the wine list, help you choose a wine or wines, and check back with you? Did he/she listen to what you like and dislike and helped you pick out something yummy in your desired price range?  If so - you should tip closer to the upper end of 20%.  

- Did you pick your own wine from the wine list, didn't get any help from the server, and had to refill your own glasses during the meal? Although there may not have been anything wrong per se - you didn't receive much service, so closer to 10% is appropriate.

- Many of your actual experiences will probably be in between these two examples - so may land in the 15% level.

For those ordering wines on the OMG expensive side, it is OK to taper off the tip as the price increases.  For a great sommelier-assisted wine experience, a $40 tip on a $200 bottle of wine doesn't seem crazy, but a $400 tip on a $2000 bottle of wine does seem quite extreme. Use your judgement and try and come to a fair tip - if you can throw down a couple grand for a bottle of wine - please be sure and give your server a little bit of love when tip time comes!

Just keep in mind that those fine folks providing your food and beverage are trying to make a living, so don't forget to take care of them at the end with an appropriate tip on the food and wine portions of your bill - based on the quality of service of course.  

Most of all  - just enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Yeah bookmaking this wasn’t a speculative decision outstanding post!


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