Servers and bartenders are often in an unfortunate position when they are experiencing a problem in the workplace. There’s no HR department or other designated, impartial third party to turn to when something goes wrong. On top of this, restaurants and bars can be unique environments.  


Ok, let me preface this by saying that I know tipping is an odd thing. It’s a strange cultural quirk that can be difficult to understand and easily lends itself to criticism. It’s not a perfect system.

get over not tipping tipping is good for the consumer  

How to Fight Shift-Work Fatigue


Instead, it’s a tradition with problematic roots that we have crafted minimum wage laws around and are now somewhat bound to. However, in this article I am hoping to make the argument that tipping is good for the consumer. Gasp! I know right? Here goes!

Disclaimer: I know not all servers are good servers and there are some pretty bad bartenders. I also know that tipping can be an inherently unfair system that should be replaced by one that works better. But, until then, you should just do it.




It’s Nice When People Are Nice to You


You know how you can go into a restaurant at 11:59 and still get dinner even though the kitchen closes in literally one minute? That’s great and we all love the ability to grab a late meal or drink. However, these things are all possible because of tipping. You know who isn’t going to stay late and serve you?  Someone who’s not being tipped.  

Part of tipping culture is that it creates an expectation of friendliness and congeniality from the server to the patron because the employee knows that they’re money isn’t a guarantee. Without this, there’s really no reason for staying late as their hourly wage presumably wouldn’t make it worth it.  

Although research has shown that there is no real correlation between tip amount and quality of service (meaning people generally tip the same regardless of their experience), the expectation of the tip creates a culture of good service that the United States is known for. On a similar note:


Tipping = Longer Hours and Better Food


Through tipping, some of the restaurant owner’s costs are passed on to you (more on this later, don’t panic), so they can keep employees there longer, keep the bar open later, and keep serving food past 9 PM when most other businesses are closed. This also means they can afford better, higher quality ingredients for your food without charging exorbitant menu prices; something we’ve come to expect in this age of eating out five nights a week. If servers weren’t compensated with tips, the owners would have to absorb the cost of their labor and believe me, they’re not just going to eat that money.  They’re going to shorten hours, reduce quality, and:



Raise Menu Prices!


Of all the reasons why tipping is good for the consumer, this is perhaps the most compelling: even if the world tilted on its axis and hundreds of years of culturally ingrained habit went out the window tomorrow, YOU WOULD STILL HAVE TO PAY THE SAME AMOUNT OF MONEY FOR YOUR MEAL. Yes, that’s right. For those of you who are fond of the arguments “why should I pay you for doing a good job?” or “I don’t get tips, why should you?” I say this: if tipping were actually abolished, menu prices would simply be raised.


I’m not guessing on this one. Recently, several prominent restaurant groups have gotten rid of tipping with the goal of wrangling in the pay gap between staff members and creating a fairer system that rewards skill and seniority. Addressing these real problems within the industry is a worthy goal, however to accomplish said goal, they raised menu prices. As a consequence, many establishments experienced a high turnover of staff and had to reign in their new policies.  

So, wouldn’t you rather just give that money directly to your server or bartender to ensure good, friendly service since you have to pay it either way?




And Finally,


There are those who say that serving and bartending is unskilled. Firstly, the concept of skilled and unskilled is an incredibly outdated and classist way to view the job market. Sure, I obviously know there are differences between my bartending job and the daily life of a neurosurgeon. However, I would argue that not just anyone can handle the complexities of working in a restaurant and it is something that must be learned through time and experience.

Secondly, bartending and serving are considered ‘semi-skilled’ work by the Social Security Office and are sometimes referred to as ‘trades’. So until there is a balance struck between wage laws and restaurant costs, it is in the consumer’s best interest to continue leaving that 20%.


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You may think that it is easy to saunter into the local watering hole, sit down and order a drink, but in reality, there is proper bar etiquette to follow. This will benefit you, the bartender and everyone else in the bar.


proper bar etiquette

Never Say THIS to the Bartender


First, we will show you some things that you should do. Then, we will show you some things that you should not do, as these can result in getting you thrown out and banned from an establishment.




Be Polite


Be polite and always use “please” and “thank you”.  This is the base-line for being a decent human being, and it should be practiced every time you enter a bar or club.



Be Ready


Always have your money ready when your bartender returns with your drink.  This will keep things moving along very smoothly.


Keep it Simple


Order all your drinks at the same time, as this will save you time (as you can return to your company). This will also give the bartender the ability to take care of other waiting customers.

Wait your turn, even if you are just ordering a glass of water.




Make Assumptions


Don’t assume that soft drinks are free.  Everyone on the road appreciates the fact that you may have volunteered to be a designated driver for the evening. However, that does not mean that the establishment is required to provide you with soft drinks for free.


Argue with the Bartender


Do not question the bartender or argue about your tab.  Remember, the bartender is the sober one.  If your tab says that you have had 10 drinks, then it is more than likely that you had 10 drinks. Ask for a manager if you believe you are right.


Leave Drinks Unattended


Do not leave your drinks unattended on the bar.  First of all, someone, with not so honorable intentions, may put something dangerous in your drink.  In addition, if a drink is left unattended on the bar, it is assumed by the bartender, that you are finished and it will be thrown out.


Ask for a Drink Tray


Don’t ask for a tray to carry your drinks, because you probably will not get one.  Customers are not insured, and if there is an accident involving a tray then the bar will be liable.  Either bring a friend to the bar with you, or make two trips back and forth from your table. 


Complain about Prices


Don’t complain about the prices to the bartender, they don’t make them, and they do not have the authority to adjust.  If you are not happy with the prices, it is advised that you order something different or choose a different establishment.

Here are some additional DO NOT's:

As you can see, the “do not’s” outweigh the “do’s”. There are, however a couple of Nevers.





Touch the Bartender


Never touch the bartender, as you may get tossed out!  This is very poor bar etiquette.  If the bartender wants to interact with you on that level, they will initiate it.


Go Behind the Bar


This is similar to a customer walking in front of a cash register at a retail store.  If you attempt this, you will be “escorted” out, and worse possibly arrested!


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Having been both a bartender and a server (I’m currently a combination of both), I can’t say one is necessarily better than the other.  But, there are definitely pros and cons to weigh up on either side. What are the pros and cons of bartending vs. serving at a bar or restaurant? 

There are some bartenders who would never serve, and vice versa. This is a subject people will have lots of opinions on. So, if you’re in the rare position of choosing your role in a new place, or have been offered a change in your current job, read on for some of our thoughts on each of these vital front of house positions.





Bartending vs. Serving

Ah, serving.  Almost everybody does it at least once. It truly is a great way to earn some cash while still pursuing other goals. However, just like bartending, it can be a grueling job. 

The Pros: Bartending vs. Serving


You May Get to Leave Earlier  


While bartenders often work until 4 in the morning, most serving jobs, at least in my experience, tend to have more normal hours.


Less Pressure


There can be a lot of pressure on bartending. You’re expected to create regulars, chit chat all day long, and hold down the fort should there be any issues. Sometimes serving can be a bit less emotionally taxing.


Flexible Schedule


Serving is one of the most flexible jobs out there. There’s always someone to cover you or extra shifts to pick up if you need the cash.  


The Cons: Bartending vs. Serving


Long, Long Hours


A server’s hours can be punishing. From doubles to “clopens” (when you close at night and open the next morning), this is definitely a role where you might be a bit (read: a lot) tired. 


Less Money



Depending on the place, a server may make less money than their bartending counterparts. At the bar people throw cash at you like it’s going out of style. Meanwhile, the couple on a date at table 40 may not spend as much.


Less Respect


Now, this is absolutely not to say that servers don’t deserve all the respect in the world, because they do. But, it has been my experience that bartenders are more respected by both customers and management alike.




Bartending vs. Serving

It’s not all fast cash and a whirlwind social life.  Bartending is a tough job that’s not for the faint of heart, but it can come with many rewards. 

The Pros: Bartending vs. Serving


Show Me the Money



Bartenders can make bank. I know many that make more money than the professionals they’re serving during happy hour. If you can stomach the hours and stress, working behind the stick can be extremely lucrative.


A Social Job



Bartenders get to talk all day, every day. If you work in a place with great customers and staff, it can be the perfect job for all you social butterflies. You’ll also never want for friends, or a date for that matter.


Free Time During the Day



There’s nothing quite like running errands at 2pm on a Wednesday when the rest of the world is at work. When you have your days free it’s super easy to do things like schedule doctor’s appointments and work on any other non-restaurant related goals. 


The Cons: Bartending vs. Serving


Working Very Late


Yeah, having days free is great. But, if you’re working until 4am, you might just spend them sleeping. Shift work is hard. You’ll be fighting grogginess and fatigue so taking care of yourself is key.


It’s All on You 



Sometimes it’s hard to be Ms. Personality all the time. When you’rE working behind the bar, you’re expected to not only be pleasant but actively engage with your customers. This can be tough if you’re having an off day.



People are Annoying



When you’re serving, it’s easy to walk away from a creepy customer or someone that won’t shut up. When you’re stuck behind the bar, it’s way harder to escape. You’ll see the same faces over and over again, some of which you may not love.

Have you been both a bartender and a server? Let us know your thoughts!


Want to connect with people at your bar in a whole new way? Download the BOTY App on iTunes or Google Play for free!



Working in the service industry is exhausting so it's important to find ways to fight shift-work fatigue.

Lots of people think it’s great to have mornings off to sleep in but actually, it can be the worst. While there are some lucky day-shifters out there, the majority of people in the service industry work extremely odd hours.  

Sometimes I start at 10 am and finish at 6pm (hallelujah), but other times I work from 6pm-3am. This kind of schedule, especially when it’s not consistent, can really take a toll on your sleep. Read on for some ways to stay rested and fight daytime grogginess.


Fight Shift-Work Fatigue

7 Tips to Survive Busy Nights Bartending


Try to Keep a Consistent Sleep Schedule


Obviously, this is easier said than done, but do your best to go to bed and wake up at similar times.  It may be super tempting to try and “catch up” on your days off and stay in bed until 2pm, but this is ultimately harmful.  By keeping your body on a schedule, as best you can, you’ll get more restful sleep, wake up fresher, and fall asleep more easily.


Get Some Exercise


If you find that you’re constantly fighting off daytime grogginess, it may be time to hit the gym.  You don’t need me to tell you the benefits of exercise on your physical and mental health, but you may not know how good it can be for your sleep as well.  Studies have shown that getting the recommended 150 minutes of exercise a week improved the sleep of participants by 65%.  They slept better and felt less tired during the day.  If you’re a bartender who has trouble falling asleep at night, an afternoon workout could help you get those much needed Zzzzz.


Don’t Eat Too Late


An issue I personally struggle with is not eating until late at work.  Sometimes I don’t get the chance to have my shift meal until 10 or 11.  This means that two hours later, when I’m trying to sleep, I’m wide awake while my body processes the huge helping of carbs I’ve just consumed.  If this sounds like you, try having a filling but nutritious meal before work and something lighter if you’re hungry later.  This change will boost your overall energy levels and let you rest easy.


Lay Off the Booze


While it’s tempting to sit down for that shift drink after a long night at work; sometimes it’s best to abstain.  For one, that time you spend sitting at the bar chatting with coworkers is time you could be in bed getting ready for sleep.  Secondly, while a glass of wine helps you fall asleep, it can diminish the quality of rest you’re actually getting.  If you find yourself tossing and turning at night and waking up groggy, those couple of beers before bed could be to blame.


Talk to Your Boss


We know that schedules are usually non-negotiable, but from almost ten years of bartending, I’ve realized I’m no longer willing to sacrifice my quality of life for a job.  There are laws about how long you can work and how many hours you’re supposed to have between shifts.  If you’re being worked to the bone doing turnarounds, have a chat with your manager. You may be pleasantly surprised at their willingness to work with you.

While we hope this advice helps, we are not experts in sleep or your health.  If sleep and grogginess is a real problem for you, make an appointment with your doctor.


Want to connect with people at the bar in a whole new way? Download the BOTY App on iTunes or Google Play for free! 


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