Does anybody have any advice on how to increase tips as a barista?


I might be opening up a can of worms here. I’m not trying to start a discussion on whether or not baristas should be tipped. I just want some tidbits of advice for baristas so that I can include them on my website.



I have a few common sense suggestions including:



  • Be personable to avoid being a non-entity behind the counter
  • Know your stuff – brew good coffee and be able to answer coffee-related questions
  • Use humor – maybe a funny tip jar (Yep, this might open up another can of worms. Some people are very anti-tip jars.)
  • Prime the tip jar – put some loose change in there so that customers won’t feel that putting in a 50 cent tip would be an insult and leave without tipping at all
  • Good hygiene – no perfume or cologne or cigarette smells that interfere with the aroma of the coffee, etc.
  • Give the right change – if the change is $5, give five singles just in case they want to leave a $1 tip


Any other advice?


Thank you,


Rick

Views: 5122

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Some great thoughts here. I'm finding lots that I agree with, and some things that I don't.

It is interesting that there seem to be two categories of replies here... ways to improve customer service and ways to just get more money out of people.

To me, the smart approach for the long haul (for everyone - barista, shop owner, customer) is to give excellent customer service. What good is a brimming tip jar today if the customer eventually figures out that you are manipulating them into tipping more?

Learning their name and story, remembering their favorite drink, and remembering to shower are all ways to provide good customer service. Is giving out 5 singles when you have fives (or always being "out" of fives) providing good customer service?

Provide good customer service and the tips will follow.
Brady said:
Some great thoughts here. I'm finding lots that I agree with, and some things that I don't.

I agree, there has been a lot of great advice here. I have incorporated several ideas into my own website. Thank you for all of the responses.

Brady said:
To me, the smart approach for the long haul (for everyone - barista, shop owner, customer) is to give excellent customer service. What good is a brimming tip jar today if the customer eventually figures out that you are manipulating them into tipping more?

My premise is that excellent customer service is being provided. Tips are to be earned, not assumed. Beyond that, I am looking for ideas to increase tips.

Some of these ideas could be categorized under the term "manipulation", but manipulation, subtle or not, is part of doing business. Are you not manipulated every time you walk into a grocery store? Candy is put at the height where children can see and reach it, things you typically purchase are placed on opposite ends of the store so that you have to walk past every other thing they have for sale to make your purchase.

I'm not going to be paranoid every time a waitress smiles at me and think "She's just doing that because she wants a tip." Of course she wants a tip. Smiling is part of the routine, i.e., manipulation. You could argue that smiling is just good customer service, not manipulation. I could argue that giving five ones makes it easier on the customer so that they could tip a dollar if they want to, plus, it is always nice to have a few ones in my wallet, thus it is good customer service.
Rick Post said:
Brady said:
To me, the smart approach for the long haul (for everyone - barista, shop owner, customer) is to give excellent customer service. What good is a brimming tip jar today if the customer eventually figures out that you are manipulating them into tipping more?

My premise is that excellent customer service is being provided. Tips are to be earned, not assumed. Beyond that, I am looking for ideas to increase tips.


I think that it is optimistic to make that assumption.

Rick Post also said:
Some of these ideas could be categorized under the term "manipulation", but manipulation, subtle or not, is part of doing business. Are you not manipulated every time you walk into a grocery store? Candy is put at the height where children can see and reach it, things you typically purchase are placed on opposite ends of the store so that you have to walk past every other thing they have for sale to make your purchase. I'm not going to be paranoid every time a waitress smiles at me and think "She's just doing that because she wants a tip." Of course she wants a tip. Smiling is part of the routine, i.e., manipulation. You could argue that smiling is just good customer service, not manipulation. I could argue that giving five ones makes it easier on the customer so that they could tip a dollar if they want to, plus, it is always nice to have a few ones in my wallet, thus it is good customer service.

I'd agree that customer "manipulation" happens all of the time. However, just because it's common doesn't mean it is welcomed by the customer.

I would absolutely say that smiling is part of good customer service. Isn't this common for service providers, sales associates, etc, where tipping is not customary? Perhaps a good litmus test would be to ask if you'd still do something if tipping wasn't an option? If all you cared about was providing good customer service, would you still do it?

If someone is short on singles or want change to buy a paper, they usually ask. That trick may work for bartenders, but is unusual enough in a coffeehouse to be noticed.
I do see on your site that "provide good service" is your very first suggestion... so I don't think we disagree there at all.

Good site, by the way.
I have to pay attention to the till. Being a small shop I will give one's if I need 5's. I also explain that so they don't assume I'm making change for my tip.
Be nice, look nice, say something nice, if they remember you they will come back, if they come back you may have made a customer, if you make a good return customer and they are of the tipping type they will tip when they can.
JoeR

Rick Post said:
Interesting point you make with not giving $1 bills for $5 in change. I guess that could go either way. I feel that giving four quarters instead of a $1 bill is overtly pushing for a tip, but I don't think the five $1's is being too pushy. From a customer's standpoint, I have failed to tip when I got a $5 bill. I didn't want to tip THAT much, I didn't have change, I didn't want to have to go out of my way to ask for change thus holding up the line, and I got the feeling that the server just didn't care that much about getting a tip. That's why I think it is better to give them the option, but that's just my opinion.

James Liu said:
1. Don't give $5 worth of change with a fiver. That's actively pushing the customer to tip you, and nothing pisses customers off like being pushed into doing something that they consider their volition. If customers want to tip you a buck, they'll ask for change.
alright dude, besides giving great service...which is obvious i hope, I always "bait the jar". You have to start with something more than some change, just like a single buck works. I always have George facing the customer...you know let him do the talking.

Second, people seem to tip less when the jar is overflowing...not try'n to sound like a penny pincher but i have to fill my gas tank, you know. So keep an eye on it pull a few bucks out and put them in a stash behind the counter. I don't know why but the grey area between having no tips in the jar and a lot is the most plentiful for getting more tips...kinda odd but thats what i've noticed.
Our tips are running about 10% of daily sales just to give you some measure. As the owner, I receive way less tips than my staff when I am tending the coffee bar alone. Customers that know I am the owner figure I am hauling in the dough already. I do usually get a little gas money out the deal, however.
You take tips as an owner? Isnt that tabu?
Jerred,
I guess another shop owner like me might ask, in what book of regs. is it taboo?
Do you mean unethical? or?
Grant, at this point in our business we have no employees. I guess this leads me to the next question what kind of relationship do you have with your staff?
Joseph

Jarred Hoffpauir said:
You take tips as an owner? Isnt that tabu?
Getting a buck on a buck fifty cup of coffee totally makes up for the girl that will never tip on her skim vanilla latte. But you know what? I don't actually care that she doesn't tip me. She comes in nearly every day, early in the morning, and she's always cheerful and sweet and takes the time to ask about my life. She's supporting this shop because she likes us and our coffee and will always bring in out-of-towners for "the best coffee in town." I'll take that any day over worrying about the dollar I'm not going to get from her. Besides, other people will make up for it. That said, I always always always make 20% of sales, and have consistently in the two shops in which I've worked. My apologies to those of you who don't live in a city where that is as common.

Lorenzo:
I'm beginning to believe perhaps Austin is made of better tippers than a lot of places. I find that easy to understand, this city is young, educated, artistic, and full of service industry folks. I count my blessings for this city regularly, I think this is another reason for that.

Lorenzo Perkins said:
At my shop, we pool tips by the day and split them up according to the hours you worked that day. This makes it pretty fair. The openers have to deal with 200+ customers, the closers have to clean up everything...

That being said, we average around $7 an hour in tips.
-We are personable, but not in your face. We know most of our customers on a first name basis, as well as their kids, and where they've been when we haven't seen them in two weeks.
-We make stellar drinks.
-We keep the bathrooms clean. (The regulars really appreciate that)
-All of our employees are authorized to give away two free drinks a shift (rather than have a punch card buy 10 get 1 free deal).
-Most of our employees live in the neighborhood the cafe is in . . . this helps with knowing the regulars.
-We are accomodating. You want that espresso to go, no problem. It's much better in a demi, but anything for you.
-We love what we do, and it shows. In our product and in our faces.
-We leave our personal problems at the door. We are here to serve you tasty coffee, not sulk or be pissy.
-We work efficiently when we're busy, but still find time to talk and make nice.

That's about all I've got...
I guess ive always thought that owners should be giving the tips to the employees but that also assumes that the owner is not generally doing the majority of the work that is being tipped. If you are strictly an owner opp setup then I suppose that would be a non point and you should just take what tips you get. But even if you have only one employee the tips should be going to the employee. The entire point of a tip is to make up for low wages when exceptional service is delivered. With an owner that simply does not apply, owners are compensated on weather or not they run a good business or not. I found several bits and pieces through a search that agree with my point of view as well as several that do not. Most were not worth the read but I did find an article on tipping that I think is worth the 2 min read.

http://www.smellingthecoffee.com/2007/04/the_point_of_tipping.html

Well written, good points, and humorous.

Joseph Robertson said:
Jerred,
I guess another shop owner like me might ask, in what book of regs. is it taboo? Do you mean unethical? or? Grant, at this point in our business we have no employees. I guess this leads me to the next question what kind of relationship do you have with your staff?
Joseph

Jarred Hoffpauir said:
You take tips as an owner? Isnt that tabu?
Jarred Hoffpauir said:
I guess ive always thought that owners should be giving the tips to the employees but that also assumes that the owner is not generally doing the majority of the work that is being tipped. If you are strictly an owner opp setup then I suppose that would be a non point and you should just take what tips you get. But even if you have only one employee the tips should be going to the employee. The entire point of a tip is to make up for low wages when exceptional service is delivered. With an owner that simply does not apply, owners are compensated on weather or not they run a good business or not. I found several bits and pieces through a search that agree with my point of view as well as several that do not. Most were not worth the read but I did find an article on tipping that I think is worth the 2 min read.

http://www.smellingthecoffee.com/2007/04/the_point_of_tipping.html

Well written, good points, and humorous.

Joseph Robertson said:
Jerred,
I guess another shop owner like me might ask, in what book of regs. is it taboo? Do you mean unethical? or? Grant, at this point in our business we have no employees. I guess this leads me to the next question what kind of relationship do you have with your staff?
Joseph

Jarred Hoffpauir said:
You take tips as an owner? Isnt that tabu?

If the owner is the only one on bar (or even in the store) at the time of service, who do you think the customer was tipping? That tip goes to whoever is on bar.

Around here, most indie shops are owner-operator setups where the owner will work alone on bar for several shifts a week. Most owners I know actually take home far less than the baristas on their staff, and can use the tips more than you might imagine.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Barista Exchange Partners

Barista Exchange Friends

Keep Barista Exchange Free

Are you enjoying Barista Exchange? Is it helping you promote your business and helping you network in this great industry? Donate today to keep it free to all members. Supporters can join the "Supporters Group" with a donation. Thanks!

Clicky Web Analytics

© 2022   Created by Matt Milletto.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service