Posts Tagged ‘tips’

The Tip Tray Question

Everyone has been there, that strange moment where you have your hand out waiting for the change and the barman has your change on a tip tray putting it down on the bar where you are standing. The barman inevitably then breaks any sort of eye contact with you and goes about doing something else. What are you thinking? Why can’t he just put it in my hand? What’s wrong with a bit of conversation? Why on earth is the money on a strange little tray? Is this what they call hospitality around here?

This same thing seems to be happening in drinking establishments across Melbourne (the world?) As with many things in the hospitality industry, the rationale often isn’t shared by management and the service staff are following the orders blindly — perhaps missing the point?

There are a few options when handing over the change in a bar, placing the change directly in the customers hand, placing it directly on the bar or putting it in a tip tray. In the past, I have alternated between the former 2 options deciding on which is better on a case by case basis and certainly wouldn’t have a problem with using a tip tray instead of putting the money directly on the bar. At my current job, I’m made to use a tip tray for each transaction, never placing the change in the customer’s hand.

Table service is a case where using a tip tray is always better. Without a tray, the transaction regularly becomes a jumble of change, drinks and hands. Yet with a tray, it allows the server, present the drinks and the change in one fell swoop and leave the customer with a convenient place to leave any gratuity.

When table service isn’t involved, what is the point of the tip tray? Is it to encourage people to tip or to give a vibe of more professional service? If it is the former, I think it does help, but somewhat losing your credibility. The same way begging on the street would garner more change for the tip jar. The case for the latter is not so rosy, the uncomfortable moment where the customer has their hand out and the tip tray is placed on the bar kills any impression of improved service quality. As far as I’m concerned it is far too impersonal to be considered good service.

What are your experiences? How do you feel about the tip tray?

Martinis: 8 Random Pieces of Trivia

This is going to come across badly to the purists, but a Martini isn’t a particularly “nice” drink, gin, vodka and especially vermouth are all, straight, generally offensive to the palate. In my time working behind a bar I’ve discovered that the drinkers of Martini’s are a not dissimilar to the drinkers of Champagne. While the drinkers may like the taste, and can definitely distinguish between the quality of the drinks, most of the drinking is about making a statement about who they are. Now, as a barman you can’t let that bother you, and one thing is for certain regarding the Martini, people that drink them love them and those same people tip well.

Tipping here in Australia and New Zealand is not an organised affair as it is in other locales, people are not required to tip and generally don’t unless there is a good reason to. This means that if someone orders a Martini your best smile, wit and banter should be on show, so as to convert this chance into some cold hard cash. If you are still with me, the purpose of this post is not to describe a recipe and process for making a Martini, that is for another time and another post. The purpose is to provide some tips for conversation with your potential tipper. Some of these are unsubstantiated, others may be wives-tales and others may be completely made up by me right here, nonetheless they should work for some good conversation.

  • Martin’s aren’t supposed to be shaken, they should be stirred. This is because shaking them bruises the gin working with that, you could shake a vodka martini because you can’t bruise vodka.
  • Further to the previous comment, I think it’s probably bullshit – that is the whole bruising of gin.
  • There is a study that suggests shaking gin activates more antioxidants in it, and this might be a reason why James Bond is so healthy. (from Wikipedia)
  • It’s unlucky to have an even number of olives in a Martini, so you should have 1 or 3. Never 2.
  • James Bond likes his martinis dry, very dry, shaken not stirred.
  • Hawkeye from MASH liked his martini’s about as dry, stating that the perfect recipe was to pour a glass of cold gin while looking at a picture of the inventor of vermouth. To translate, that’s a cold glass of gin with an olive or 3
  • A martini with a cocktail onion is called a Gibson
  • Methyphobia is the fear of alcohol