The Great Hall
gratutities and private chefs The Great Hall: gratutities and private chefs
By Patrice (Patrice) on Monday, January 31, 2005 - 08:18 pm: Edit

I'm a private chef and i would like to know if it is customary and appropriate to add a gratuity to the bill for a private function.
I've done catering function where the gratuity was added to the bill -18% of the food charge- and sometimes it was left up to the client,and some times none was had.
Any thoughts on the subject out there in chef land?

By Foodpump (Foodpump) on Monday, January 31, 2005 - 10:49 pm: Edit

Very flexible. It all comes with dealing with the customer before the event. Through the initial contact and during the planning stages you get a fair idea of what the customer is like. No matter how big or small the event, if the customer constantly changes his mind, his menu selection, interogates you on rental charges, etc.,I quickly slap on a gratuity on the next quote for some bargaining room, because you know he's gonna squeeze every penny.

On the other hand if the customer actually knows what he/she wants, and negotiations go smooth, I leave the grat. up to the customer. Why? Because people like that are rare and it IS a real joy to work with clients like that, anything extra is gravy and appreciated.

By Dpconsu (Dpconsu) on Tuesday, February 01, 2005 - 01:23 am: Edit

I ran my own catering company for some time in Monaco, my general rule was, over twelve eating add 12% if I provided any extra people to assit in service or clean up for the client. If I just droped off the food and collected the dirty stuff on the next day, then no service charge.

By Jonesg (Jonesg) on Tuesday, February 01, 2005 - 03:52 am: Edit

I don't add anything unless theres a lot of planning, then a service chg is added, if gratuity is on the bill , its not gratuity.

We have also got a job because a client didn't like the idea that another caterer put the gratuity on the proposal, we got a $250 tip.

Some jobs we get nothing, its up to the customer, if we have to bring service people to do a job then thats on the bill.
Some people are cheap, thats their life.

THere was a recent case, in NY I think, where a customer walked away from a gratuity on a bill, in court he beat them.

By George (George) on Tuesday, February 01, 2005 - 09:21 am: Edit

I ran a high end off prem catering business in the 90ís. When we quoted a party we separated food from rentals from staff. The rental company discounted our invoices 10%, and the fees paid to servers, chefs and cooks were inflated by 10% to cover the expense of doing the scheduling. We never added a pre set gratuity, all fees included enough to make a profit. 95% of the time staff received a generous tip.

I believe that if you are chef owner of a PC business doing the party you should never add the gratuity to the bill. Charge for your services appropriately and add a service charge to cover scheduling auxiliary staff.

ALLWAYS specify a time frame for a party with an hourly rate for staff and overtime rate. It will save you tedious negotiations at an end of an event if it runs over the scheduled time frame and get you home on time normally.

The case Jonesq was in the Lake George area of NY. A restaurant patron had a party and hated the food and service and refused to pay the automatic gratuity on the check. I believed the restaurant used the term gratuity, not service charge which are two totally different thing by NY law. Gratuities are not taxed but service charges are so legally they are different entities. The restaurant owner called the police and the patron was charged with theft of service and arrested. A judge threw it out because a gratuity is voluntary where a service charge is not, regardless of the quality of service as long as it is posted in the menu or a contract for the event.

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Tuesday, February 01, 2005 - 02:16 pm: Edit

You have to feel the customer's personality, some people are fair others are idiots, others just don't know!
Make sure you educate and you may also offer them the option of having it or leave it up to them, personally I get offended by it because I usually tip more then the 20% and, on the other hand if the service really sucks, I don't want them to have the 18%......labor wise if you add the tip, some servers will slack since they know they are getting 18% already, it may push more work on the rest of the staff who is hard working.

By Cvincolorado (Cvincolorado) on Tuesday, February 01, 2005 - 10:17 pm: Edit

I just did a pc function in Aspen for the last six days. The catering company that hooked me up with it adds a service charge to the bill but clearly states that it is not a gratuity. Also as George mentioned they clearly define the hours and chef charges up front explaining that this will increase if the hours are extended. It also says that a gratuity is greatly appreciated. They never add a gratuity to any private chef function. I, along with two other chefs did breakfast, lunch and dinner for six days. I would love to think that we will get a nice tip,(especially since the 5 story townhouse they rented goes for $3,900/night(it had an elevator in it) but this was one of those rare family's like Foodpump talks about, that was a pure pleasure to cook for and I will not be a bit dissappointed if I don't get anything extra.

By Patrice (Patrice) on Wednesday, February 02, 2005 - 08:12 am: Edit

Thank you all for your valuable suggestions. I originaly had a gratuity on the bill of$220. I decided to go with your suggestions and took it off (I left the line item on the invoice and put 0) I ended up instead getting a $350 tip and a very satisfied client who offered to lend her $8million home on the beach (with a dream kitchen) for me to hold a promotional party for all of her entertaining friends and aquaintances.
Love my job!!

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Wednesday, February 02, 2005 - 08:46 am: Edit

Loving what you do is a beautiful thing!!!!!!...getting paid good for it....priceless!!!!

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