Want Better Tips? Get a Better Jar!

by · 30 comments

Tips at the hot dog cart can be a significant part of your revenue if you do it right, and with a 100% ROI it makes sense to optimize your gratuity stream.

Here are some creative ideas to start you off…

 

Good stuff!  Any creative tip jars out there? Send me a pic!

-Steve

Original story at Top Cultured.

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Rodney Murphy

Hi Steve, got your Carts of Cash book and man is it what I have been looking for. All the info is in the book. I recomend Carts of Cash program to anyone thinking about starting a hot dog cart business. I plan to open around September. Thanks Steve for a GREAT book. Rodney :)

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Bill

Let me play devils advocate here.

What exactly is the customer tipping us for?

I’d like to think there’s more of a reason to put the jar there than for a money grab.

Just because its food service tips shouldn’t be assumed… I’m also irked when I am at a fast food spot like Quizno’s and have to scratch out the tip field of the credit card receipt.

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steve

Your welcome Rodney.

Glad you like it!

-Steve

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Frankie

I am so wanting to start a hot dog cart but money
is really tight do you have any suggestions.

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steve

Hi Bill,

It’s traditional to tip in certain businesses. I give a base tip to all wait staff at restaurants, regardless of how well they served me. I tip really well if they served me really well.

I tip my barber, my pizza delivery girl, and I used to tip my newspaper boy back when they rode bikes and personally collected your subscription dues.

Now some guy flies by and whips the paper out out his car window at 30 miles an hour. I keep throwing quarters at him but so far none have made it inside the vehicle. It is fun, though ;-)

Hot dog carts are one of those businesses where it is traditional to tip, but you don’t have to if it is counter to some deeply held philosophical belief.

I tip well, mostly because it makes me feel good to see a look of genuine appreciation on the face of someone who is working really hard, at a job that may not be particularly glamorous.

Don’t be offended when you see the add tip line on your fast food receipt. It’s not personal.

-Steve

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Ron

Tipping depends on the venue. I work a club late night. My first night, customers actually requested I put a tip jar out. Now, tipping is anywhere between 25% and 30% of my revenue.

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Tim

Guess I need to get a tip jar

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Ralph

HI STEVE. THANX FOR THE EXCELLENT COURSE. I BOUGHT 2 OTHERS AND YERS IS BY FAR THE BEST…. THEN YOU KEEP THIS GREAT SIGHT GOING TO HELP US ALL THE TIME. THEN YOU HELP OUT WITH THE PETITION IN YUBA CITY CAL. YOU’RE A GREAT MAN STEVE. IT’S A PLEASURE TO KNOW YA.

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hannalisa

LOVE this post, steve! and whether folks tip or not the ideas for tip jars are just plain fun … and that’s what the experience we’re trying to create is all about. GREAT ideas. thanks!
hannalisat@hanna’s hotties

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Susan

I worked a night club in New Mexico many moons agho. Being a 5 ft 9 in tall girl and mostly the customers averaged in at 5 ft 6, I really needed to come up with a plan to get them to come to my bar. The set up was 5 bars, mine was the first to pass. So I decided to put up a suction cupped basketball hoop over the tip jar on the bar, learn spanish and teach them all how to play “Dollar Football.” If they made it in, (which was rare) I bought them a beer. If they did not make it in, I keep the loot. I quickly became popular & wealthy!!

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Paul

Theres a real funny jar in a club i go to “Tips please…..Cos a Crack habit ain’t cheap” Will send a picture if i can! They also have a glass tankard filled with water & a quarter of a lemon floating in it, & it says if you can balance 20c or more on it you win a free drink (imposibble of course ^^)

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Mike

Some folks are Givers and then there are other folks who are takers. Its like stingy people and not stingy people. I personaly like to reward kind people with a tip. A better tip than those that are not so kind. It appears that when you are dealing with the public, your smile and kindness will help your personal stimulus program. Please excuse any misspelled words…:), do I seem to be on track here, Dawgers? 1.smile, 2.kindness, 3.tip jar = full…:)

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Rick

People generally tip in restaurants and they typically do not for fast food. A hot dog cart is kind of “in-between”. I think a tip jar will help to encourage people to tip.

I have some funny tip jar stickers for sale on my site. I also offer advice on how to increase tips for waiters, delivery drivers, shuttle bus drivers, and baristas. I don’t have specific advice for hot dog cart owners…yet. I’d be interested to hear some suggestions though.

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bOB

I never tip when people ASK for it. That’s rude. Tip jars, with no writing beyond “Tips” is borderline. Anything beyond that is in your face, rude. If you don’t like it, get a real job.

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steve

Hey bOB,
Tips are part of the food service business. If some folks want to get creative and make the customers chuckle, more power to them. As far as getting a “real” job goes, putting your ass on the line every day and depending on no one but yourself is about as real as it gets. The guys and gals who do this for a living are some of the finest people on the planet and I’m extremely proud of each and every one of them. You can keep your “real” job and have your future contolled by a boss who only cares about his own career. I’d rather control my own destiny. Btw, cheap people are usually unhappy people.

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jeff

steve i agree a good jar ,and sayings that will get a smile out of people is where it at ,and if they tip so be it

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Rick

I am with Bob on this one… Although I don’t have a problem with tipping in a sit down restaurant, because that server is making $2.18 an hour and RELIES on tips to SURVIVE.

Someone selling fast food is making at least minimum wage and is probably closer to $9.00 an hour and therefore does not need a tip. They are doing what they are getting paid to do…SERVE

A barista is deserving of a tip if for no other reason they are FAST when there is a long line.

A pizza delivery guy/gal deserves a tip because trying to make a living while driving ANYTHING but a scooter these days is a challenge not to mention the wear and tear on your car.

A bartender deserves a tip for the same reasons as a barista.

Putting the tip jar on the hot dog cart just because you can? I don’t so. Unless, someone operating the cart does not own the cart.

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Jessie

I work and run a hot dog cart and whoever above thinks that this entails nothing more than sticking a hot dog in a bun and handing it to the customer.. do some research before you start spouting your mouth off. I.. along with tons of other street vendors I know work our asses off on a daily basis. Tips are givin by choice for good food, fun smiling servers and fast & friendly service. A tip jar isn’t to “force” customers to tip.. its the customers choice to tip. So many people tipped us personally all day everyday without a tip jar frequently asking where are tip jar was, we finally put one out. Minimum wage is minimum wage no matter what state you’re in and servers do rely on tips regardless of the “type” of establishment. But hey, thanks for your 2 cents of ignorance on the subject you stingy naive dumb $#&%!!

Oh.. and have a fabulous day! :)

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Caitlin

I just would like to say if there is a tip line on the credit card receipt it means that over half of that person’s revenue is made from tips. We do not all make minimum wage because restaurant owner’s do not have to pay you minimum wage if you are getting tips.
I work for a half service establishment ( meaning we take your order, bring your food out to you, and clear your table) and I live off the tips that people give me. So please be kind in remembering servers survive, literally, on their tips.
Thank you

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steve

I agree Caitlin. As long as the service is good I always tip 20 percent.

David Gillespie

I am on the fence on this one. When I get some kid who dresses for success (big nasty holes in the ears, lip piercings and a mohawk) and won’t even smile, and then gets disgruntled because I pocketed my change, then I side with my pocket not his. When this SAME PERSON smiles and thanks me, I help his beer/rent fund. I am a disc jockey and although I find the tip jar offensive in many places, people tip to get a request. So do I sell out and put one out myself? It seems hypocritical, and I have mixed emotions about it. I’m playing music, what I was hired for, however if someone would like to slow dance with a woman he has his eye on, and I can set the mood, then I guess I’m a sellout. Should I feel ashamed? Honest opinions please…..I don’t want to be looked upon with disgust. Seriously. I’m pushing 50, grew up in a different time and feel that many tip jars are undeserved.

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Steve

I say put a jar out and leave it up to the customer. No one is forcing them to tip. It’s an option. You’re not being a sell out.

David Gillespie

P.S.- My tip jar is reversible depending on the crowd and my mood: One side says, “Your tips help me buy the gun I am gonna kill Justin Bieber with”. The other side says, “Your tips fund my cat’s sex change operation”.

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Steve

Nice! What if you swapped the second halves of those two sentences…

Harvey

I own and operate a BBQ restaurant with 11 employees,with most front of the house people making close to minimum wage. We had a tip jar out on the counter with nothing on it we would put some starter change in it and tips were ok. We put on the jar ” Fiscal Cliff Prevention Jar” and people not only tipped more they had a good laugh and engaged our staff in conversation. Enriching the lives of our employees and our customers is a win win situation. Many people in the food service business live pay check to pay check, tips help bridge the gap so instead of making 8 bucks an hour they might make a whopping 12 bucks or heaven forbid maybe more. I always tip at the counter because I know how hard it is to make a living in this industry and I also realize by tipping the bottom earners in our society helps them to spend money elsewhere.

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Steve

That’s awesome Harvey. Thanks!

C

Thanks Steve. I agree it IS fun. I also used to run a hotdog cart, just a couple of years ago, & I would look up tip jar idea’s, either copy them or make them into my own. You already have a few of the one’s I used here. Now I work in a little kitchen at a night club, same freakin customers! Anywho, my tips go up about 50% when I have a funny little jar. I get to use sexual innuendo so I am brainstorming more & more. I am a bit of a dry humored gal, so we’ll see. Tips have been really hurting lately.

What most people don’t know is that TIPS is an acronym for To Insure Proper Service, & that back in the day, a tip was given before a meal or what have you to prompt good service, not after.

&&& I don’t know about you, but because I worked for someone else’s hot dog business, I made NO hourly wage, I made TIPS & 25% of the sale, which can be good or bad.

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Steve

I never knew about that acronym. To Insure Proper Service – Cool!

C

& I also delivered pizza on a bicycle in the Winter’s here as well, & people generally tipped me $3-$4. I would run into sometimes a delivery pizza DRIVER & ask them what they made in tips, they said the same. I busted arse on that bike. Luckily I also was an assistant server at the restaurant as well, & made $12/hour, with TIPS I made $30/hour. For someone that does not hold an accredited school education, that is pretty decent money. It’s fast money.

Tips pay for my food. Amen!

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C

Whoops, & PPS, as a delivery lady on bike with pizza, I was FAST, never a cold pizza, or soggy one. I also took the calls, made sure the cooks made the order correct, & put any finishing touches on the order before I headed out the door. ALSO I marked what each box was. No, I did not HAVE to. & No, I did not do it for tips. I did it to create the overall experience, because I am the type to go above & beyond trying to build on customer relations.

I think people just did not know. Maybe they thought I took the pizza & biked it to them, the end. Also people don’t know about tipping. Some just don’t. If they’ve NEVER worked in the industry themselves.

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