I dine at small, family run BYO's very frequently. For the most part, I don't really get much in the way of "wine service" at many of them. While some will open the wine and periodically top off my glass, for the most part I'm on my own. To be honest, since wait staff usually aren't versed in handling wine, I'd rather take care of everything myself. I bring an opener, Riedel O's (if the stemware stinks) even small decanters (depending on the quality of the wine). There's really not much for them to deal with here.

That being said, what is a fair tip for the wait staff in these situations?

I feel like this had to have been brought up before, but a quick search didn't turn anything up.
Original Post
It all depends... low/no corkage and incredible wine service gets a massive tip from a percentage standpoint. High corkage and non-existant wine service would get the standard 20%. In between is in between.

From the scenario you describe, I would tip something that resembled 20% if you had ordered the least expensive wine off the list... (so, for example, if they aren't charging corkage, I would probably figure out the tip with a traditional 20% and then add an additional $5 or so for every wine you opened.)
Both answers so far make a lot of sense. I tend to give the 20% and round up for most local restaurants. As I do just about everything myself I sort of felt that was generous. The places I am going to don't have a liquor license at all - so not only are they not allowed to charge a corkage fee (by law) there is not even an option for buying wine. I like the $5/bottle idea. Besides, I always feel like giving an extra few $ for great service is well worth it. Not only does it ensure nice treatment in the future, some extra $ on a slow night might give a nice smile to the wait staff.
Last edited by davem858
My thoughts going into a BYO situation are usually $10/btl. plus they get back the corkage fee if it happens to be waived.
quote:
Originally posted by snipes:
My thoughts going into a BYO situation are usually $10/btl. plus they get back the corkage fee if it happens to be waived.


It all depends, but certainly I'll tip an additional $10 or more per bottle opened if I'm dining out at a nice place and get good wine service. Or sometimes quite a bit more. It all depends upon the context and level of service; I deffinitely take wine service, orkage policy, and overall price/type of restaurant into account when figuring out how to tip on BYO.
When I do offlines at work they waive the corkage fee for me and my guests and we get unlimited use of Riedel Glasses. It's a country club so we must pay cash and the 18% gratuity is included in the bill and each person brings one bottle. I pour and open all the wines but I tell everyone just to leave a little extra tip for the server since we brought our own. I suggest $10 per person.
quote:
Originally posted by winetarelli:
quote:
Originally posted by snipes:
My thoughts going into a BYO situation are usually $10/btl. plus they get back the corkage fee if it happens to be waived.


It all depends, but certainly I'll tip an additional $10 or more per bottle opened if I'm dining out at a nice place and get good wine service. Or sometimes quite a bit more. It all depends upon the context and level of service; I deffinitely take wine service, orkage policy, and overall price/type of restaurant into account when figuring out how to tip on BYO.


and give the owner a taste regardless.

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