How to Tip a Caterer

by Kathy Adams

As you do with the servers in a restaurant, tipping caterers is a way to show your appreciation for their service. The amount tipped to the caterer may vary based on the length of time spent at your event, but a proper tip may be a percentage of the bill, or offered as a per-server gratuity -- a set amount per server -- 15 to 20 percent of the total bill, or up to $50 per server.

Check the Fine Print

Read the catering contract, bill or agreement before determining a tip amount -- it may already be included in the bill, labeled as a service charge or gratuity. There's no need to tip if the bill includes this charge.

Calculating Gratuity

For a flat-rate tip that doesn't involve figuring out the number of catering staff on hand, offer 15 to 20 percent of the total bill in small cash denominations, delivered to the catering manager before the event so she may distribute it evenly to her team. Otherwise, offer anywhere from $20 to $50 per server -- an event involving a good deal of their time involves a generous tip if the service meets or exceeds your expectations. The chef may be tipped $50 to $100.

About the Author

Kathy Adams won several investigative journalism awards from the Associated Press. Adams has ghostwritten several books and content for A-list musicians' websites. She is equally at home repurposing furniture and found objects into art as she is managing bands and community gardening efforts, running non-profit organizations and writing about healthy alternatives to household chemicals.

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