Tipping Etiquette Question

Assume you frequent a particular bar. You know both of the owners and their wives/partners. In early evenings, one owner or the other will tend bar, but when it starts to get busier, one of the wives/partners of an owner takes over the bar.

Now, my understanding is that you don’t tip an owner…they’re getting their share of the profit anyway. But the question is, do you tip an owner’s wife/partner if they’re bartending?

My personal belief has been no…as a wife/partner of one of the owners, they are also sharing in the profit. So is there an accepted etiquette involved in this situation?

Generally no, but why not ask? Or, you can get her a X-mas bonus gift, like for Boxing day.

Card, with a $20 or with a gift card for some place like Jamba Juice?

Personally, I tip the owner. I figure they’ll pocket it themselves, or hand it off to a favorite waiter, or one who’s had a bad day, or put it in the shared tip kitty, for all.
So therefore, I’d tip the spouse, likewise, they’ll pocket it, or won’t, same difference to me – I’ve given a personal cash bonus for the luxury of having a servant for a little while.

I’ve already budgeted the tip cost into my expenses for the night. So keeping it won’t really give me more joy, or let me buy more drinks, or pay more rent, or buy something else.

I kinda meant to bring this point of view up in the other recent tipping thread, but it’s more appropriate here.

I’ve always tipped the owner. I used to go to a neighborhood bar almost every single day. The money went to cover tabs that weren’t paid.

The buybacks were worth it. I helped him out with changing kegs, checking ids at the door when it got busy at weird times, cleaning up and other odd jobs.

I tip whomever is serving me.

If it’s my usual bartender, he tends to float me freebies, so I tend to tip him on the order of 50%. If it’s not my usual bartender, but is just as nice and friendly as my usual guy, then I tip my standard 25-30%.

I’m a generous tipper.

I always tip the bartender, whether or not he owns the bar. I’ve certainly never heard of a rule that exempts one from this, and would think that it is espoused by people who don’t like to tip.

I’ve always been mystified by “don’t tip the owner.” If you’re not a regular, how the hell are you supposed to know who’s the owner? Ask, and then not tip them when they answer honestly?

There is another reason for it- there’s a concern that the waitstaff won’t want to compete with the owner or boss for tips- the best shifts, the best tables the best customers, etc.

It is assumed that the owner does not need tips also. Tips are a supplement to a fairly poor base income.

I’ve tried to tip the manager (and the cook even) of my local watering hole. He told me he wasn’t allowed, and if I tipped him it had to go into the till and be counted as an overage (in other words, the owner got it).

I don’t get it myself… Good service is good service. I don’t tip only because your in a job that is paid for w/ tips. That’s only a starting point.

I’ve been going there for almost 16 years now, and knew the owners when one was just the manager and the other was just a bartender. So I really didn’t have to ask. I’m much better acquainted with the one owner than the other, and better acquainted with the other than his partner who tends the bar. It really didn’t occur to me to wonder if not tipping these folks was being seen as insulting by them until I was back in town 2 weeks ago. It always just seemed like the common sense thing that the owners or their partners were already being paid by their share of the profits, and therefore didn’t NEED tips like a regular bartender or waitress who was earning less than minimum wage did.

It’s not like they write textbooks on “How to Tip” or anything like that…I can see the necessity of tipping people who are raking in less than minimum wage (especially given that the IRS is estimating a certain amount of tips regardless of the reality), but the whole owner thing isn’t all that clear.

The way it works at our bar, especially on the weekdays when we only have one bartender and on manager on duty, is that all tips go into the tip jar. At the end of the night, all tips for the bar are added from the jars and split. So if there were 3 bartenders and one manager or owner working behind the bar, it gets split just three ways. (Not including the tipouts to barbacks and waiters)

This is because the managers and owners are not allowed to take a tipout. I seem to recall a case that happened at Starbucks last year and a lawsuit about that very thing. Usually, though, at the end of the night, the bartenders will kick a little back to the manager who was behind the bar as a way of saying thank you. But it’s purely optional.

If you were ordering a drink, and the manager/owner was behind the bar, I’d tip like normally. You were going to tip anyway, and for all you know, that money could be going to anyone at the bar.

ETA: Here’s the Starbucks story… I think it ended up being bigger than Boston, though… http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/03/26/starbucks_skimmed_from_tips_barista_says/