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Jul 3, 2009 08:05 PM

Gratuity for Private Cooking Class?

We're doing a private cooking class/dinner for my in-laws' anniversary for which we've hired a chef. We are splitting it with my husband's brother and his wife. The chef is coming to my in-laws' house. She is the owner of the company. Is this a service we tip on? If so, how much? It feels a bit much to tip 20%. I am normally a good tipper, having worked in food service for many years. Quick replies are appreciated as we're doing this tomorrow (July 4). Thanks

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  1. One does NOT tip owners. This chef/teacher makes the profit from the engagement. No tip is required, expected or should be tendered.

    8 Replies
    1. re: bagelman01

      "One does not tip owners".

      I've never heard this rule before. There is not a person, who's performed any type of service in my home, and there've been numerous occasions to do so, that I've not tipped heavily for the service rendered.
      Most of the services have been performed by the owner of his/her company.
      Everyone deserves to make a living and if the service is performed with perfection I see nothing wrong with tipping accordingly.
      To amyvc....I always hire people I know will do an exemplary job for me. I want the reputation of someone who respects the person's trade and tipping well is a reflection of that. The next time I need their service they'll know I am one who will treat them right.

      1. re: latindancer

        "One does not tip owners".

        This notion is no longer relevant in today's marketplace. It's one thing if you apply this belief to the beauty salon or hair stylist who owns the shop and charges you considerably more money for their services, as opposed to any other stylist in the employ of the owner. e.g.. $100 compared to $50. I would then agree with this principle......however, when it come to a small business owner like a caterer...or a simple owner who acts as a barkeeper in his own place, in fact I do feel it's inappropriate not to provide a gratuity for their services. If the beauty salon owner charged the same price and his/her employees....I would then definitely tip them for their services.

        This response also reminds me of holiday gifts where it is mentioned by some who feel it is inappropriate to give the owner of a services company any gift......which to me is ridiculous. You give gifts or gratuities to show your appreciation. Using this post specifically, have you (OP) considered the fact this person is taking time off n a holiday to be away from her own family and friends to be with you? I think that fact alone deserves some consideration.

        1. re: fourunder

          "One does not tip owners"..

          This is NOT my quote.
          Please read my responses. It's the complete opposite of what I do and what my beliefs are.

          1. re: latindancer


            I was agreeing with you.....and I know you were responding to bagelman01.

            1. re: latindancer

              So if you had someone cater an event and it was a one man or woman business, they owned their business and did the cooking, would you not tip them for a great event?

              1. re: kchurchill5

                You may be a little confused.
                I'm all in favor of tipping everyone...including the owner.

                1. re: latindancer

                  My apologies, sorry for the mis post.

      2. Well, probably too late to help, but we've done this several times. Besides the monogramed aprons, toques, etc. for the guests, we've usually tipped +15% on the bill. In two cases, we've also bought the chef's products, and as they were very good, have offered good reviews on local food boards. We'd have done the exact same, had we not also contracted with them for the events.

        In each case, the guests loved the events, as did we, as hosts.



        1. Tip!!! (Why wouldn't you?!!)

          1. To clarify, I no longer work in food service. I did so for many years while in college. Not that it matters. Just didn't want to misrepresent myself.

            I have absolutely heard the rule that one does not tip owners. However, I've more often heard it in reference to hair salons or other industries that are not food-related. In a hospitality-type industry, it's more customary to add a gratuity onto most services, IMHO.

            As to why I'd ask the question, I make it a point not to pay extra for anything that I don't have to. I want to ensure that the person performing a service was appropriately compensated for said service. And I believe in rewarding exemplary service with 20% or more. However, if I don't need to spend another $100, then I won't do so.

            It's sounding like the consensus is to give a gratuity. However, I'd still be interested in other replies. We're doing the party tonight, so still time. Thanks all....

            7 Replies
            1. re: amyvc

              I don't like paying extra for anything I don't have to either.
              However, having said that, tipping is a given, no matter who the person is.
              You're having a chef come into a private home and perform a service.
              The chef undoubtedly, at least from my experience, will be spending several hours in this home.
              Not only should the chef, who owns the company, be tipped but all the chef's assistants should be tipped. If there is cleanup after and during they all should be tipped.
              It's just the way it is.

              1. re: latindancer

                Not only should the chef, who owns the company, be tipped but all the chef's assistants should be tipped. If there is cleanup after and during they all should be tipped.
                It's just the way it is.

                Sorry, but I'll have to disagree with you on this one, sort of. There is no reason a a host/hostess should have to tip every individual participant in the support of a function, owner or employee with a set monetary value, i.e., a $50 here, a $20 there and a $10 there and etc. for example.

                The host tips a percentage off the bill and the terms of contract. A typical contract will call for:
                1. suggested staff gratuities
                2. Labor.

                In my past at an premiere Country Club Caterer, the suggested staff gratuities were 8-10% and the labor charge was 18%. We're talking large parties here, so it may be a little extreme tho compare this situation exactly, but in actual reality, the staff gratuities were the commissions and the labor was the gratuity. The owner gave the commissions to the manager and never took them for himself if he booked the job personally...even without any assistance from the manager. The labor charges were paid directly to the staff in predetermined wages based on *a job total of four hours*.

                In this case where you mention multiple staff, I would say the owner collects the total gratuity given by the host/hostess and disperses an equal or appropriate amount/share to the workers depending on the level of service they preformed. The owner in this case should not take a share in my my old boss never did and I would follow his example.

                In other words...if the event was for $1000, then assuming the host tips 20%, he would disperse the tip in equal/appropriate shares between the number of employees wiorking the event, e.g., four workers....$200 > $50 to each employee....Owner $0. This would be the classy way for the owner of the company to act, but if he took an equal cut I would not brand him a pig......I would just disagree with his action.

                1. re: fourunder

                  I'm not saying the host should have to tip 'every individual participat in the support of a function'.
                  I'm just saying I do.

                  1. re: latindancer


                    I'm not trying to pick a fight with you on any of this....but I just comment on what I read in real time. I am more like yourself than you realize when it comes to the tipping department. I tip everyone I can think of...but by your comments of:

                    Not only should the chef, who owns the company, be tipped but all the chef's assistants should be tipped. If there is cleanup after and during they all should be tipped.
                    It's just the way it is.


                    This suggested to me it was proper to tip all..... Again, like yourself, my comments reflect what I do or would do in this case.,,,,,and I have also clearly stated I do not feel it's proper for me to decide how others should spend their money. my disagreement in this case was I do not mind tipping all....just that I feel the owner should decline the tip himself and disperse it to his/her staff instead


                    1. re: fourunder

                      I didn't think you were 'trying to pick a fight with' me, at all :).
                      I lvalue your information, your experience and your overall knowledge of the practice.
                      I agree with everything you're saying, actually.
                      Peace to you!

                      1. re: latindancer


                        Thanks for the kind words.....I'm adding you to my reading list........;)

                  2. re: fourunder

                    You make very valid and thoughtful points.
                    If a caterer or chef does an exemplary job for me, above and beyond my expectations, I'll continue to tip the way I've always done it.
                    I live in a city where there is so much competition that I've never had any other type of experience with help, no matter what kind it is.
                    It might be why my tipping is beyond what is customary, I don't know.
                    My expectations are high.

              2. I used to teach classes, my business, me the owner and me the personal cook or chef. I didn't ask for a tip, but I don't think I ever left without a tip. 15-20 was usually what I received. And one time much more. The person was so happy she asked me back for 10 more lessons for her and her friends. Now the tip wasn't that much each time but always very substantial and much appreciated. They were a great group, easy to please, great learners and tons of fun.

                Tip, yes. But if they didn't I understand, but it is nice when they do.