Bartending tips are the sign of a happy customer. It really affirms the job you’re doing and can energise you during a busy service. Whatever the experience of bartending you have, you’re likely to have received a tip in your bartending career.
But how much is a bartending tip and how can you get more tips? Here’s our guide to hearing a few more coins dropping into the tip jar and how much to expect…
What is the average bartender tips in the UK?
It's important to note before we get into the nitty gritty, that the cash tips average can vary. Many factors are at play when receiving bartending tips like experience, establishment and geography.
If you’re working in London and in a top establishment, this could see the average professional bartender tip at £50 - £100 per shift. If it’s for less of a top establishment, than expect this average to be a bit lower.
If it’s your first bartending job, then this could be roughly £10 per shift. It’s the experience that pays off with tips. However, as said before, you could fall into the hands of high tipping customers. Lucky you!
What makes customers tip?
Keeping the guests happy is the easiest way to get some bartending tips. But the fast paced environment behind bar can mean it’s easy to lose sight of what the best practices are.
Here are four top tips for getting the tips…
1. Be polite and welcoming. Stone-faced bartenders are unlikely to be tipped often. Customers want to see a happy face as they order drinks and have a good time. Smile!
2. Make great drinks. This includes so many aspects of the drink like method, taste and ingredients. It's all about the quality. For example, you’re more likely to get a good response from using fresh produce in the drink. It doesn't matter if it's mixed drinks or pints of craft beer, serve it with pride!
3. Be attentive. Everyone hates waiting, especially for a great tasting drink. Be efficient in the way you work and look commanding. Customers also hate not knowing where they stand with the bartender. By communicating to the customer, you’re likely to get a better response.
4. Don’t look desperate for a tip. Not everyone will tip and that’s their choice. No bartender automatically deserves a tip, so work for the profession, not the tip!
As we’ve already said, bartending tips can differ from city to city in the UK. What you can expect to receive in London is likely to be different to that in Cardiff. Plus, there’s divides between establishments and bartending experience. For example, the difference between a cocktail bar, restaurant bar, nightclub and pub are night and day.
There may also be requirements on tipping within large chain restaurants or bars. It may be policy to split up the gratuities between all of the staff, in which case it’s good to ask before taking the job. This will save you a nasty surprise when you come to find out at the end of a shift. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it’s not great to find out after a tiring shift.
The impact of cards
The rise of card use for payments has seen a steep fall in cash tips. Bars and bartenders alike have felt the effects of this, with significant decreases.
It’s no wonder customers have moved to card. It takes a few seconds to pay, simple and no need to carry annoying pieces of change. Unfortunately, it’s these annoying bits of change that make up bartending tips.
Bartenders now have to keep in mind that cash tips may be harder to come by in this digitalised world.
Bad bar managers
It might be hard to believe but these awful people do exist. A bar manager that takes the tips of their hard-working bartender and staff, the very people supplying the customer’s excellent experience, are bang out of order. It’s totally unfair but it may be something you experience.
The best thing to do would be to tell the customer exactly where the tips go. By magic, you should notice how empty the tips jar becomes, to your manager’s surprise. Hopefully, over time they might realise why the tips are down.
Interested in learning how to bartend professionally in a bartending school? Learn about our EBS Bartender Courses.