Sommelier Tipping

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December 4, 2012 by Diniquette


So this topic always seems to cause controversy and there is a lot of wrong info floating around.  As someone who has spent many, M.A.N.Y. years working with sommelier’s, here is the truth on tipping:

A. Most sommelier’s, (not all), are part of the tip pool, which means the tip that you leave the server is distributed to the Sommelier as well as the bartender, food runner and backserver,(busboy).   If you tip the Sommelier a little somethin somethin in cash, and they are part of the tip pool, that cash MUST go into the pool for everyone to share….thus pooling tips.

B. It is absolutely acceptable to ask the Sommelier if they are part of the tip pool.  ABSOLUTELY.  You, as the paying guest, have the right to know where your money is going.

C. If the Sommelier is NOT part of the tip pool and you received the full monty of services from them, then by all means, tip away; HOWEVER, just because you tipped the Sommelier does NOT mean that you should skimp on tipping your server…..these are now 2 separate entities and one has nothing to do with the other.

D. As a reminder: proper tipping is 15%-20% of EVERYTHING ON THE CHECK, INCLUDING WINE.  So even if you wish to tip the Sommelier, you still need to tip 15%-20% on the wine on your check…..those are the rules of dining;(unless you had horrible service then that’s a whole other blog to write about).

Thanks for reading.


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