The Tip Number (and You)

The Tip Number (and You)

These are the Google results for Bartenders on how to increase tips:

  • Don’t leave an empty glass in front of a customer.
  • Smile.
  • Don’t Talk About Politics/Religion
  • Remember your customer’s names and favorite drinks.
  • Keep a neat and presentable appearance.
  • Don’t ignore people.
  • Don’t talk too much.
  • Don’t flirt.
  • Say Please and Thank You, especially when you hand them the check.
  • Come to work with a positive attitude.
  • Familiarize yourself with the special drinks.

It’s not that all this advice is bad, it’s that…Well-it misses the point.  It’s like getting ready for a date by showering earlier and smiling.  You’d hope that a person you’re dating would shower and smile, but it’s not exactly going to win you over.

A fundamental concept in Tim Kirkland’s The Renegade Server is the “Tip Number.”  In the book, Kirkland argues that advice like the above results people to tipping according to what they’re used to.

People go out more than they used to, and there’s a lot of ritual attached to going out, we hear the same phrases over and over again, we do the same things.  Without even realizing it, tipping becomes a habit.  Some people give 15 percent, some people 20, but doing a passable job just isn’t going to get you very far.

There are really only two ways to increase tips.  One is to organically convince your customers to spend more money, then your tips will automatically go up, and the other is to STAND OUT.