How to tip in San Francisco

So you landed a job at Google or some other High paying start-up in San Francisco, good for you, all that hard studying at college has finally paid off. You have moved here and started a new life, met new friends and started to explore our beautiful city & ventured into one of our great watering holes or restaurants. You get an ample pay check from your employer, you buy nice things, pay over the top rents, well you can afford it now, why not?

 You go out sit at a bar, watch your bar tender make you a delicious cocktail, you drink it, order another one, watch the game or just sit & chat up or to your company of friends who are also ordering more cocktails, your tab is now $40, you finish you last drink and ask for your tab, you tip $4 and even though that’s just a 10% tip the bar tender says have a great day as you leave.

 Wait what? You just tipped 10%, but that cannot be, you earn twice, no three times what that bar tender makes, did you make a mistake, that can’t be, you work with numbers, maybe the cocktail sucked, no that can’t be it, because you ordered like three more of the same? Maybe the drink was too good & your math skills were affected by the alcohol, but your clear writing skills worked fine.

 I’ve seen this trend of under tipping increase over the past two years, so I am going to explain the fine art of how to tip your server San Francisco.

 It is not brain science folks, it’s just common decency. Having a great job & a fabulous paycheck does not mean you have to stick it to those who serve you when your out on the town. For those of you in the slightly higher wage bracket, you know who you are and especially those of you who fall in the 23 to 29 year old section, I want you to throw a few misconceptions out the window.

 Unless you are buying a beer or a shot, it is Not okay to slap down $1 for a drink, that privilege falls in the working class section. You are not working class, you are blue collar or the “anyone wearing a clothes that cost a regular persons months wages” section.

 Your drink is either a stirred Manhattan made with a finer than usual bourbon or rye whiskey or a muddled cocktail made with the even finer ingredients not native to many of the bars on the planet. Yet you demand & get a level of service that many in the city do not. It takes two to three minutes to make a specialty drink, the ingredients in that drink were prepped before the venue even opened that day. Your libation costs an average of $10 yet you still tip $1, which yes is 10%, not cool!

 I have heard people saying, that 15% tip is the norm, yes if you live in a town or city where the cost of living is normal, but you don’t even tip that, you leave less than that in every bar or restaurant you enter. The worst thing is, you don’t know any better. You are new to all this, you don’t know what your actually doing, you don’t realize that not only are you sticking it to that bar tender, your sticking it to every other employee at the venue, especially if they pool their tips, which most do.

 That employee has to pay taxes on their tips, if your under tip them, then they have to pay more taxes than they owe, oh wait, your thinking that no bartender declares what they make, actually new laws this year put the employer on the hook for what an employee declares, so guess what, yeah they do pay taxes just like every one else does. If a staff member takes over from a day bartender, that day bartender transfers that tab to the night bartender, the night bartender pays the day tender 15% of the total tabs transfers, regardless of what is tipped on them.

 So lets say your tab is $100, you tip $10 (10%), you just cost the night bartender $5 since he or she has to tip out 15% to the day bartender.  But the night bartender also made you drinks, where’s their tip? You might as well just come in & ask the tender for free money, it would less of a hassle.

 A respectable tip in San Francisco is 18% to 20% percent, not just because it is the right thing to do, but that tender has to deal with the rising cost of living here in San Francisco. You can afford to live here, actually your part of the reason the rents & cost of living are so high, yes the lack of real estate is also a reason, but that’s another topic. That bartender knows when to engage you in conversation and when to not, they know how to interact with your companions and make sure you and your friends are having a great night out. They make you delicious drinks with the finest ingredients, they let you know what’s good to eat in the neighborhood, in general they look after your every need while in their establishment, of course they do, they want you to be a returning customer. How do you repay that level of service, with a decent tip of course!

 So next time you venture out, make sure you tip accordingly. If the service is crap then yes give a lesser tip, but if the service is good, then leave an appropriately sized tip. If you like those $10 Manhattans then leave a 20% tip, that tender took time to make that cocktail, he or she did not just pour it out of a bottle (well technically yeah they did), they prepared it, garnished it, served it to you with professionalism, you enjoyed it. Most bartenders earn minimum wage, they rely on their tips to survive, it is actually the main source of their income. How would you like your wages to be garnished by one of your customers. Nope didn’t think you would.