Suite Holder Tipping Policies

Member Question:

How does your team/venue and your F&B partner handle communication to suite holders regarding tipping policies? What is the policy? How do you handle and who handles questions/concerns from suite holders? What is the verbiage on the receipt, if one is provided?

Member Answer:

Tips are not expected for our suite captains. But they can accept them; they just must report them. Most of our suite holders just ask me what is typical in our suites. Our suite holders' tips range from $50 to $300 per game or $50 to $1,000 per season. Some will tip each game, some wait until the end of the season to tip. They have a one-page document that they must sign at the end of the game if they would like to tip. But suite captains are told not to ask for a tip. It is simply used if the suite holder asks.

Member Answer:

When we get a new suite holder/client, we have an initial meeting with him/them, our Premium Manager (F&B), and myself. We explain the entire process and hand them a booklet with examples of everything, including F&B's Suites Menu and Order Form. Most of them call later on and directly ask us about tipping, to which we always answer that it's completely optional and up to them. They can include it at the end when signing their final invoice for the night. Questions usually go through the VIP Services Manager, but our Premium Manger and Sales and Marketing Manager also know every detail and can answer any questions in an emergency. We do try to keep it so they always go through the same person.

Member Answer:

The typical response we have gotten is that “it is not included and at their discretion. From our side, we let them know that the 19% service charge does not go to the attendant. Our nightly rentals have the opportunity to purchase a discounted food package which is billed through us rather than [our foodservice partner]. We found that since the attendants couldn't present a check in these suites unless the client added on to the basic menu, the attendants were pushing items more than normal. In 2014, we added an automatic $5/person gratuity to the price of the menu. This had great results on both sides, as the client had everything paid prior to arriving, and the attendants knew they were already taken care of.

Member Answer:

We have a 15% facility fee that goes to the catering company and an automatic 10% gratuity that is shared amongst the suite level attendants/staff. Any additional gratuity added on to a bill goes directly to the suite attendant serving the suite. Our policy is that attendants are not allowed, and it's not appropriate to ask for a tip in any way. Should the suite holder ask about the automatic gratuity or bring up a tip, the attendant is instructed to state, "the 15% facility fee goes to the catering company, and the automatic 10% gratuity is shared amongst the suite level attendants/staff. Any additional gratuity added on to a bill would go directly to me, but there is no obligation and should only be given at your discretion, based on the level of service you received."

The verbiage on the receipt states, "The 10% gratuity added to your bill is shared amongst the suite level attendants/staff. Should you wish to reward your attendant directly for exemplary service, please feel free to do so."

Member Answer:

We add a 15% service charge to all catering/suite bills. This charge is split between the service staff that take part in the event. Each suite attendant receives the same portion (75%) of the pool, and the runners (both food and liquor) and entry staff divide equally the remaining 25%. You can tip your suite attendant additionally if you choose, 100% of which goes directly to him/her. There is no verbiage on the receipt.

Member Answer:

There is an 18% service charge added to each order. The servers receive a portion of the service charge. They are typically tipped in addition to the service charge if they did a good job. This policy is a union mandate. Anything that the servers/runners bring to the suite, they have to charge a service fee. Therefore, we would have to charge for a pitcher of tap water. (I have my (non-union) concierge staff bringing in pitchers of water for special requests, so we don't have to charge). We have to charge a cake-cutting fee, even if the client brought in cupcakes. Our Suite Level caterer handles inquiries about the policy. The verbiage on receipts says "18% service charge."

Member Answer:

All food and beverage items are subject to a 21% service charge (7% is the property of [our foodservice partner] and 14% is distributed to the service employees) plus applicable sales tax. Additional payment for tips or gratuity for service, if any, is voluntary and at your discretion. This verbiage is noted on receipts.

Member Answer:

Our tipping policy is simple; it is at the discretion of the guest. Our team members are not allowed to solicit at any time for tips, no tip cups, or even discussion of tips unless the guest asks a question. Most of the time the suite attendants will ask for a manager to come to the room to explain our service charge which is usually why guests will ask about gratuity because they think that the service charge is given to the team members. When I am asked to go to a room, I explain that the service charge is not a tip or gratuity and is not distributed to service employees, and if you would like to leave a gratuity, it is completely up to your discretion. Our receipt verbiage states, "Please note that all food and beverage items are subject to a 19% service charge plus applicable taxes. This service charge is not a tip or gratuity and is not distributed to service employees. Additional payments for tips or gratuity for service is voluntary and at your discretion. Thank you for dining with us!"

Member Answer:

All of our communication flows thru the Suite and Catering Operations manage.  Our tipping/service charge is handled as follows:

All food and beverage is subject to a 15% service charge, 5% is withheld by the venue and 10% is split between all of the suite attendants, food runners and suite accountants that worked the event.  The labor hours for the suite staff are totaled and then divided into the total service charge for the event, to establish a tip per hour for each suite employee.   Suite owners that want to give a personal tip to their suite attendant for their services may do so, in that case the suite attendant is allowed to keep their personal tip.

Most suite owners will add a tip to their food and beverage invoice above the standard service charge. This will show up on the credit card receipt and no other receipt is given.

Member Answer:

I saw your questions on suite tipping policies and think that its best to communicate via phone.  Some states ( like NY ) have very pointed Wage Theft Prevention laws on the books that govern how the wording is posted on the guest checks.  These laws also prescribe how service charges need to be clearly outlined to the guests and separated from gratuities. Therefore, the answer to your question varies from state to state.  Additionally, you should review your contract with your service provider to ensure that the team is receiving its proper share.

Happy to get on a phone call on Friday to discuss. Best to reach me on my cell phone.  Please give my best to Rick as I have worked as a consultant to the Brewers back in 2005/2006.

Member Answer:

We have an 18% service charge in the suites. 10% goes to the server, 5% goes to other support staff (beverage and food runners, and game day reception - Ms. Elizabeth), 4% retained by the house.

The guests may add on an addition gratuity if they so choose. On the receipt it states:

Subtotal includes 18% service charge.

We let all guests know about how the service charge is distributed on both the pre order and game day menu and is also on the checkout page of guest reserve.

Below this is a line for additional tip and then total and then guest signature.