Bartender Questions the Way People Tip for Drinks; Sparks Social Media Debate

Bartender Questions the Way People Tip for Drinks; Sparks Social Media Debate
Cover Image Source: Bartender's views on tipping (representative image) | TikTok | @kelsnaught

Social media has opened doors for personal opinions about everyday events and struggles at the workplace as well as politics and everything under the sun to reach a wider audience. As the cost of living rises, young Americans are increasingly concerned about rent, food prices, income and conditions at the workplace.

With tipping culture in the spotlight, a bartender who is also a creator on TikTok put forth a question about tipping on shots. The question came from the  Los Angeles-based creator Kels, whose video got more than 151,000 views in a single day. In the video, she says, "OK, so you go to a bar, and you order two shots, and those two shots cost you $50." She goes on to ask, "Are you tipping the bartender a percentage of that $50 bill, or are you tipping the bartender for the fact that they just poured you two shots, no matter how much the bill was?" Kels is known for creating bartender-centric content and one pinned video of hers shows a $6 tip on a $114 bill, which is just around 5 percent.

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TikTok |
TikTok | @kelsnaught


She said, “Bartenders should be tipped $1-$2 per drink or 15%-20% of your total tab. While there’s no obligation to leave money in a tip jar." In response to her, one user wrote, "$1 per drink,” adding, “Is pouring a $25 shot more difficult than pouring a $5 well shot?" Another user added, "If you can afford a $25 shot, you can afford to tip 20%."

Views on tipping are still pretty polarising. A survey that was conducted in June 2023 found that around two-thirds of Americans hold a negative view of tipping and one in three people think that tipping culture is getting out of hand.

TikTok | kelsnaught
TikTok | kelsnaught

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According to Kat Kinsman, editor at Food and Wine, $2 a drink is okay. However, Kinsman wishes to have no tipping at all, saying, "I wish we could get rid of tipping altogether and just have people have a livable wage. But we are not there yet." Kinsman also believes that the tipping policy should be applied even on takeout drinks. "You should tip, even if you pick up your order because it’s for the back of the house. After all, outgoing orders disrupt service," she said. However, not everybody agrees with her philosophy.

In another viral TikTok video, a Chicago-based creator Justice said that she won't be tipping for self-serve, walk-up, drive-through or to-go food orders. "I’m not tipping in 2024, and I’m not gonna feel guilty about it," said Justice. Justice is not the only one who feels that they should not be tipping in these situations. A Pew Research study found that less than half tip when buying a cocktail. The organization reported that the tipping is currently undergoing significant structural and technological changes.

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TikTok | kelsnaught
TikTok | kelsnaught


"There is a minimum wage and then there is a tipped minimum wage. Say, for instance, in New York City, there is a $16 minimum wage. The way that breaks down is if you are a person who works in certain occupations in food service, only some of that is what you’re guaranteed per hour. The rest of it is basically the employer gets what is called a ‘tip credit’ for it,” Kinsman added. 

@kelsnaught just wanted to ruffle some feathers 🤭 #bartender #tipping #fyp ♬ original sound - kels🥂


She also talks about how tipping in cash can get you in the habit of tipping with smaller bills. "You’re never going to feel bad about having tipped," she said. 

Follow @kelsnaught on TikTok for more bartender-centric content.


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