Great Tips about Tipping the Caterer

by Lisa Horton

When planning a large “shindig”there are so many things you will have to deal with: the invitations, booking the venue, finding the entertainment, and-ugh-hiring the caterer.

Here is actually where the question of if/how much you should tip the caterer might be answered for you. After gathering recommendations and calling various companies for price quotes, but before signing that contract, make sure you have an extensive itemized list of everything included in the bill. In this list, you might discover that you have luckily avoided any awkwardness of figuring out how much you should tip because some caterers include an 18-20% gratuity charge (written sometimes as a “service fee”).

If, however, you have chosen a caterer who didn’t cover tip for you in the bill, never fear. Take the cue from the caterers themselves. Since many caterers have put their seal of approval on the 18-20% range, you can take that as the standard for how much to tip. The quality of service (and perhaps your budget) will dictate how much you end up giving. But unless the service was so unsatisfactory to the point that the food has burnt to a crisp, tipping is definitely expected and the “norm” of party etiquette.

And if you have particularly enjoyed the service, whether the tip has been included or not, show your gratitude by adding a little extra gratuity onto that 18-20% standard. Or if your budget allows, you might even want to
give some individualized tips to any servers who seemed to go above and beyond the call of duty.

Party on!

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