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A Quick Guide to Getting Better Tips as a Bartender

Bartending Guide after your TABC certification by Sporting Chance Bart EversonIf you’ve earned your TABC certification then you’re probably working as a bartender or a server. In either case, the majority of your income is probably from tips, so you have to learn to make the most of your time and earn the most tips possible. But how do you do it? You most certainly shouldn’t ask, or even hint that you need money as most people will be affronted by the request and your employer might frown on it. Instead, try using these quick tips.

Remember Names

Did you know that asking someone about their name and then remembering it when they first sit down is almost a sure way to get a tip? While you’re not going to get a huge tip from just remembering their name, it is likely to convince them that you are a better bartender. Obviously you don’t have this luxury if the place is packed and you’re constantly moving, but at that point you probably won’t have to worry about tips anyway. Get someone’s name by telling them yours and introducing yourself with a smile.

Remember Drinks

What’s the next best thing to do to get a tip? Remember their drink. If you see an empty glass, walk up and say ‘Would you like another (insert drink name here).’ If they had anything special like ‘on the rocks’ or ‘salted’ make sure you smile and ask if they would like those changes again, or if they would like to try it another way. Just remember to ask first as some people like to switch drinks and try different things. Notably, as you probably learned when taking your TABC certification, you should probably also try to remember how many drinks each person has had. Not only will it help you to judge the persons level of intoxication, a fun comment like “You’re fifth already!” might earn you some points.

Don’t Hover

There is nothing more annoying than a bartender or server who is always there. Instead, try to make yourself look busy. If you’re not serving another customer, wipe down the counters, clean the glasses, or whatever else needs to be done. Not only do you make yourself look good to your employer and the customers, but you’re more likely to get a tip because you look busy, and because you weren’t annoying. Part of this goes in to say that you should never butt into anyone else’s conversation unless they invite you, in which case you might still be best off saying that you weren’t listening, could they say it again, so you don’t appear to be eavesdropping.


It is most definitely okay to offer compliments as freely as possible across the bar. Whether male or female you can complement both genders, and even flirt a little with those of the opposite sex (although this should be very subtle, especially if that person is with a partner). Offering complements on clothing or ‘great choice of drink’ or even facial features is perfectly fine, and likely to make the customer happy. Just remember not to complement everyone where each person can hear you as it might come off badly if they see you’re doing it to get tips.

Don’t Talk Too Much

Did you know that talking too much can be annoying? Try politely answering questions when asked, talking to the customer at first, and then unless they look lonely or bored, mostly leaving them to their own devices. While it can be tempting to chat up everyone on a slow night, it’s probably not a good idea, especially if those people want to be left alone. If you want to talk, try finding an equally talkative person to chat with and then do so.

Be Attentive

Last but not least, pay attention, just not too much. Taking away empty glasses, offering refills or another drink, and talking to someone who is bored can all earn you a lot of brownie points towards getting tips. Part of this includes wiping down the bar in front of each person before you set down the glass, paying attention to them and their drink, and of course, to their attitude.

As a bartender, your tips can be a large part of your income, and the best way to earn tips is to be friendly, attentive and good at your job. Before you get a job as a bartender, you will of course also need your TABC certification if you do not already have one.

Tags: TABC Certification, How to Get Tips, Bartending Guide

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