Do Free Drinks Really Result in More Tips?

Free drinks are a classic, age-old staple of bar culture. Whether it be for old regulars, or just a favor on the part of a bartender, everyone loves a good freebie. But how is it impacting the bar? And, more importantly, how is it impacting staff tips? A long held belief amongst bartenders is that if they give out free drinks, they’ll get more in tips. A “you scratch my back I scratch yours” kind of thing. Is that true? BarMinder can answer that.

The BarMinder digital inventory system has discovered that this old misconception is untrue. It makes sense, if you do something nice for a customer they’re likely to reward you. The data shows though, that there is no correlation between tips and free drinks. In fact, quite the opposite. BarMinder has discovered that the bigger the bill, the bigger the tip. Since customers typically tip as a % of their total bill size, the more they pay, the more they tip. How does the BarMinder system impact this?

The more customers pay, the more they tip

BarMinder’s wireless free-pour like spouts can ensure every drink is made correctly, every time. With the ability to set pour levels and pair to bottles with no training required, drinks will taste the same no matter which bartender is working that day. Because of this, customers will be more willing to order their favorite drinks any time they come in, rather than skipping a cocktail because they’ve been made a weird tasting drink before from one bartender. With the proper tools to craft every drink expertly and easily, customers will spend more, and as a result, tip more. The BarMinder system is catching drinks that would have otherwise been poured heavily, or left unpaid. By catching these, BarMinder creates more profit opportunity, and more tip opportunity.

This isn’t to say that free drinks should disappear from the culture of a bar though. They’re a cultural staple, and should and will be a part of bars for years to come. BarMinder works with management and encourages the use of a comp tab for bartenders and servers to use at their own discretion, rewarding longtime loyal customers and continue to use free drinks to build relationships with clientele.

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