A few weeks ago I was training a newer server on a small banquet of about twenty, when I decided to pass a bit of my real world knowledge on to her…
“So here’s the mini-menus for the party,” the assistant manager said.
I took them in hand and started setting them out on the table.
Looking over the menu I noticed it wasn’t bad, one seafood, one meat, one vegetarian and one pasta dish, all mid-range so that was safe.
I also noticed that there was a short wine list by the bottle at the top of the page, excellent.
I had a little time on my hands so I started to polish Reidels and grabbed my partner to start doing some table set-ups.
The next thing you know the other waitress was at my side.
“Did you notice what wines are on the list?” She asked.
“Not yet, anything good?” I asked.
“Well I don’t recognize half these wines.” She said.
Looking over the list neither did I.
“Shit, they’re brining in their own bottles.” I said with a grimace.
“Fuck this crystal shit, they’re getting regular glasses.” I said.
We all know my disdain for bringing bottles from home, and really, I’d rather go all out for people buying our product rather than bringing their own.
“At least we can charge corkage.” My partner said.
“Yeah, I’d rather charge $15 a bottle than forty buck or more, or not.” I said.
“Well its better than nothing.” She replied.
“Actually according to the restaurant it isn’t, you might not have noticed this but corkage doesn’t count as sales applicable to the gratuity, meaning we won’t see a cent of tip off that.” I said.
Oh yeah, its true. The restaurant I work at makes a profit off corkage, but the waiter doesn’t see his 20% of the cut, at least on banquets. Small parties are left to their own discretion on what gratuity to leave, as usual.
Being a crafty bastard I had figured a way around this dilemma which would guarantee that my partner and I would at least get a piece of the pie.
“Here’s what we’re going to do, we’ll wait until we see how many bottles we have to open, take that number times fifteen and then ring it in as an open wine charge.” I said.
“But won’t the bartenders question that order?” My partner asked.
“No, here’s a bit of advise, get in close with the bartenders, your drinks will come up faster and they won’t question you on issues such as this.” I said.
“Another way to make sure you’re tipped out on corkage is to assign a dollar amount gratuity instead of having the computer do the math with a percentage based grat, that also gives you a tip.” I continued, “ that doesn’t work so well on separate checks which is why I taught you the open wine method.”
“But won’t the managers care that we’re charging them more?” My partner asked.
“I really don’t think they’ll notice or care, believe me I learned this the hard way after working a wine dinner and walking out with jack shit instead of a nice tip.” I said.
Continuing on, I said, “The restaurant is getting their money, but we’re the ones expected to do the work and one way or another we will get paid for it.”