Gratuity adds up. If you want to be the type of bartender who believes that making a good drink is all you need to do your job properly, then you should also accept the fact that, if you’re lucky, you will only average 15 – 18% of your total sales in tips. That means that if you were to have $500 in sales, you would make between $ 75 – $ 90 in tips.
This is why it’s important to be more than just a server of drinks. If you rang the same amount and looked at the value of each person coming in and realizing that they are there for the cameradarie of the other clientele, including you, you would make between 20 – 25% in tips. So what, you say?! Well, consider this: That would mean that instead of making between $75 – $90, you would be pulling in between $100 – $125 per shift! That’s a swing of $25 – $35 more per shift. And believe me when I tell you that your sales at the end of the night will be much more than $500 per shift if you are a true bartender. But, let’s keep it simple by keeping it at $500 in sales.
If you were to look at this on an hourly basis, and you average eight hours per shift, just being somewhat entertaining behind the bar vs. someone who just pours a drink gives you $3 – $5 an hour raise. If you were to look at that on a weekly basis, working an average of 35 hours per week, you are looking at an additional $105 – $175 per week in take-home money! That’s like working an additional shift without even working; all because you payed attention to you customers! Wow…what a revolution!
In all seriousness, if every bartender was to look at the true fundamentals of bartending and practice them, there would be a lot less turn over and a lot more money being made in this industry. People in the industry have used the excuse of the abundance of laws and cost as the death of the bar business as we used to know it. However, I am a true believer that this is only a small portion as to why we have seen such a slow down. It also has to do with the type of attitude behind the bar. If you show you want the business to come in, it will. It is up to you to make this happen.
And the percentage of tips vs. sales will let you know if you’re doing it the right way!