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The Shiftless Baristo's Guide to Getting More Tips PDF Print E-mail
Written by Eric S. Chen   
Friday, 07 July 2006
Copyright 2006 Eric S. Chen for


There seem to be a lot of baristi, as well as store managers, who seem to take the attitude that "tips happen." I think that there are steps that baristi can take to increase their tips.

First, let's look at the problems.

Tip pooling

Most espresso bars pool the tips. Typically this will split among the workers at the end of the shift or of the week. This is most unfortunate. The truly great, customer-pleasing baristi have their reward diluted, and the sloths and slackers (of which, we must regretfully admit, there are some, even among our fellow baristi) are not given their due either. This communistic system causes all but deeply self-motivated baristi to gravitate toward mediocrity; and ultimately, the overall pool of tips that is available to split ends up being reduced.

Management inattention:

Store managers and company higher-ups pay little heed to tips. After all, the company does not share in customers' largess. As a result, not much is done to study tips maximization as is done in so many other aspects of store operations, where even tiny details are endlessly analyzed to squeeze just a bit more profit out of, say, pastry arrangements or the color of store signage. The net effect is that tips are an afterthought. No one actually plans for ways to make it easy for customers to tip. No one actually follows the customer's footsteps to figure out what makes for a tipping moment.

Nevertheless, there are things that you can do. It will be easiest if you can line up your fellow baristi to support the intention and agree on the approach, but even on your own, you are not powerless.

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