In this installment of “WWYD,” figuring out whether or not to tip for a service won through a contest:
I won a catered dinner from a specialty food company, and this weekend they are having a chef come to my friend’s apartment (mine’s too small) to cook dishes based on their awesome ingredients for me and 10 friends. Sounds great, right? I’m super excited!
I also used to work in restaurants and catering and wonder if the chef sent over will be tipped out—since I don’t know what this is actually costing, I was thinking of giving a nice bottle of wine? Thoughts? Also, I am underemployed and looking for full-time work so I don’t have lots of actual cash to figuratively throw at him. I should mention how I won this—through a (free) Facebook contest. It can happen! — M.
I’ve never hired a caterer, but I imagine the gratuity is worked out with the caterer in advance before an event and either added to the total bill, or handed in cash in an envelope at the end of the night.
Here’s what I’d do in this situation: I’d call up whomever notified me that I won the prize (or the company offering the service) and ask if tipping is appropriate/necessary. It may turn out to be that the gratuity is already covered and included as a part of the prize. If the answer is vague, or “Yes, a tip would be recommended,” I’d send an email to my friends telling them about the situation, and say that it’d be great if everyone could chip in a little something to thank the chef at the end of the night. If I were one of your friends invited to this, I’d be more than happy to throw in $10 in exchange for what sounds like will be a very fun and delicious multiple-course dinner. And if you’ve worked in restaurants and catering and know that a nice bottle of wine would also make a fine thank you at the end of the night, then I say go for it.
Enjoy the dinner, and do provide us with an update on Monday!