He also said gratuity doesn’t always have to be monetary. “If you love something, send them a card or send them some flowers,” he said. Overall, Whitney said he’s seen gratuity in the health and wellness world grow because small businesses are “ever-changing to offer better services.” “You’re going to go above and beyond for someone who goes above and beyond for you,” Whitney said. I also spoke with Katie Oakes of Hair By Katie Oakes Salon Studio and Sola Salons. Similarly to Whitney, Oakes said she is also not reliant on tips alone to make an income, as she makes a portion of the service total and product sales. Oakes said the hair industry is sometimes tricky, because the price of hair services has such a range. “If you’re tipping 20% on a service total that’s already $300, that’s a significant tip,” she said. “I have clients that leave me way more than I could imagine, and I have clients that sometimes don’t tip at all, and that’s ok. At the end of the day, if they are paying their service total, I am happy with that.” Oakes also agreed that there are other non-monetary ways to show gratuity. A major help to her is referring new clients to her business, something she calls “a verbal tip.” She said it means the world to her when clients do little things like bring her a coffee to show their gratitude. At the end of the day, Oakes said it’s most important to be transparent about pricing, so clients know what to expect and feel comfortable asking her about gratuity. “I always tell my clients, ‘select whatever you feel comfortable with.’ I never judge,” she said. My final local gratuity expert was Sean Conway, product manager at World of Beer on Broughton St. He said a good rule of thumb to follow is $1 per drink, but says most people leave a bit more if he’s mixing cocktails versus pouring them a beer. To my surprise, Conway said most people tip just as much for to-go beers as they would if they were sitting at the bar for hours. He said there is always a handful of people who grab a to-go drink and leave without tipping, but said it’s hardly noticeable. One thing Conway said he hopes people realize, was that similarly to restaurant servers, most bartenders are reliant on tips to make a living. He said, after taxes, if a customer does not leave gratuity, a bartender can actually end up losing money. “If you leave zero tip, that person literally paid money to work for you,” he said. “It’s entirely possible that you cost that person money.” What are some gratuity questions you have? Share them with Connect Savannah on social media or reach out to Lauren at email@example.com.
“I wish that we could change the word ‘tip.' We use the word ‘gratuity’ because it’s about being grateful. The word ‘tip’ comes with such an old-school mindset.” -Lenon Whitney, Spa Bleu