Tips On Discounted & Comped Meals

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QUESTION FROM: Jen in ME

“Does anyone have a polite, pithy, short enough to print on a receipt way to remind guests to tip on the entire check, even if they receive a discount? We are part of our public radio station’s member program and offer 2 for one entrees. Very often my staff are not getting tipped on the discounted price. They are understandably pissed off and want to stop with the discounts, but it’s important for me, personally, to support this organization so I’m looking for a compromise.
Thanks!”



HH ANSWER:

Short and pithy or not- Asking a guest to tip on a comped meal is bad form. I would imagine a fair amount would (especially if you put the subtotal in BOLD before showing the discount being applied) but those few that don’t are often subsidized by those who tip generously (over 20%) and those who tip on alcoholic beverages/bottles of wine.

That being said, your service staff may have a point… not that you should feel obligated to defend your marketing decisions but… If you can’t demonstrate an increase in cover counts and overall sales by offering this promotion then the promotion might be hurting you just as much as it is “hurting” them.

Ensuring that your “suggested gratuity” at the bottom of each chit is using the subtotal to calculate percentages might be an option as well. If it’s important for you to support this organization more as an act of charity/goodwill than a ‘fiscally sound’ promotion - perhaps gift cards are a better way to go instead of BOGOs.

Are you currently putting an auto grat on big tops/parties of six or more? If you’re not – conceding to do so wouldn’t hurt you (if done properly) while, at the same time, communicate the fact that appreciate and respect your staff’s concern.

More on tips and auto grats:
https://www.hospitalityhelpline.com/labor/2019/5/31/to-grat-or-not-to-grat-large-parties

Regards,

Josh