Restaurants nationwide are reopening their kitchens after the wave of closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. But the way patrons get their restaurant service has changed.
Takeout and delivery are the predominant service models now. But if this is new for your restaurant, you may be unfamiliar with how tips on these orders should be handled.
With dining rooms closed or serving a limited capacity, restaurant servers are struggling. As a restaurant owner, you can consider these methods to encourage guests to tip.
Tipping During the Pandemic
Since tips make up the majority of server’s wages, a lack of tipping can be stressful. One of the reasons for tips to be reduced might be a misunderstanding on the part of patrons how tips important tips are to restaurant employees.
Tipping norms aren’t as clear as for dine-in service. Your customers may refrain from tipping for takeout, to-go, or delivery service because they are not accustomed to tipping when they don’t have a server.
A subtle reminder, such as a tip line and a suggested tip printed on the receipt can be helpful. Signage at the pickup window can also help to inform your guests of a tipping guideline.
Here are some industry standard tip-percentage guidelines:
- Dine in service: at least 25%-30%
- Fast Counter service: $1 per meal
- Buffet Service: 10%-15%
- Bar Service: $1 per item, or 20% for a tab
- Curbside and to-go: 15%-20%
- Delivery: 20%-25%
With Rezku POS, you can custom recommended tips on customer receipts. Additionally, by using a customer facing display with on screen tip suggestions, you can prompt guests to tip at checkout on every order.
Increasing overall tips in the restaurant can alleviate financial stress, and help you retain employees.
Incentivize Tipping with Great Service
As always, surprising guests with unexpected acts of customer service is another way to increase tips. Train employees to follow sanitization standards and to respect social distancing to satisfy your guest’s concerns about safety and spread of germs. Putting your customers at ease and meeting new expectations due to COVID-19 will lead to a comfortable environment and more tips for your servers.
Manage the Health of Your Staff
- Employees with any cold or flu symptoms should report to their supervisor before work and stay home. They could have COVID-19
- Employees who appear to be sick at the restaurant should be sent home immediately, and their work stations and anything they touched should be disinfected or thrown out.
- Have employees take their temperature when locking in.
- Have employees clean and disinfect their work spaces regularly.
Ensure Staff Hygiene
- Provide your staff with PPE including masks and gloves.
- Make sure masks and gloves are changed frequently to avoid cross contamination
- Emphasize the importance of personal hygiene, and instruct staff to wash their hands thoroughly throughout the day even if they have not come into contact with food
Adjust Service Operations
- Disinfect surfaces that are commonly come into contact by employees and guests.
- Your staff must respect social distancing.
- Adjust seating so that parties sit farther apart.
- List your safety protocols on your website so that guests can view them ahead of time.
- Shift the majority of seating to outdoor or patio locations if possible.
Incentivize Pick-up and Delivery
- Abide by established food safety regulations to prevent contamination.
- Establish clearly marked zones for customers to wait and pick up their orders.
- Offer “no touch” door deliveries and curbside pickup to maintain social distance and limit contact with your customers.
Handle Tips Safely
Cash tips should be collected with as little physical interaction as possible. Consider using a receptacle for cash tips, and always be sure that staff members wash their hands after handling a customer’s cash and credit cards.
Server’s tips are taking a big hit during the pandemic as most restaurants shift to delivery and to to-go orders. Many customers simply don't understand the etiquette of tipping for orders other than dine in. As a restaurant owner, you should incentivize tipping by informing your customers by posting tip suggestions. Doing so can ease the fiscal stress on your employees and help you maintain staff.
During this pandemic, it is paramount that your staff continue to provide great customer service. On top of this, your need to offer service that eases the customer’s fear of infection. Keep track of your employee’s health, and always send a sick employee home. Be sure to disinfect and clean work stations after use, and emphasize the importance of washing your hands regularly.
The cash tips that are collected by your employees should be handled safely to avoid infection. Use a receptacle to minimize physical contact with the cash tips, and disinfect your hands often.