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Tipping Caterers Who Are Friends?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
My girlfriend and I are putting together a party for her birthday, and I'm organizing and paying for the meal, which is being supplied by some old friends of hers who have a catering business. Here's the thing: After I contacted them about our plans/needs, they provided me with a quote that includes a 'friend/birthday discount', but I feel a little funny about that, since I'll be the one paying for it, not her, and I don't even know them. (Am I being neurotic?) At first, I figured I could just give the discount back to them in in an extra generous tip, but given their friendship with her, I'm afraid they might be offended by/refuse a tip entirely (they're invited to the party, BTW, FWIW).

I don't know that they would have offered the discount if they'd known up front that it was going to be on my dime, but on the other hand, I don't want to put them on the spot now by making that explicit. Their catering business is pretty popular and successful and all that, but I doubt they're rolling in dough, so I just want to be fair. Am I worrying about it too much? Gift horse in the mouth and all that?

What do you think?
post #2 of 11
I would view the discount as an in-kind gift from the friends to your girlfriend. It is her party, after all, not yours.
post #3 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quirk
Am I being neurotic?

Am I worrying about it too much?

Yes, and yes. Relax and enjoy the party. You got a discount; use it buy some new EGs for the party or something.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hmm, so would it be tacky to tip them? I think they'll probably end up delivering the food themselves, rather than have one of their staff do it.
post #5 of 11
I understadn your problem - I don't tip friends, either. can you do somethign for them about the value of what you would tip? take them out to dinner etc?
post #6 of 11
If they are friends and invited to the party, they won't expect or want a tip. They are doing it as friends while still covering their business expenses. Wouldn't you be offended if a friend you offered a gift to gave you a tip because the gift happened to be a service? Do tip the other staff though.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by globetrotter
I understadn your problem - I don't tip friends, either. can you do somethign for them about the value of what you would tip? take them out to dinner etc?

I'm not sure about dinner... I met them once for about 5 minutes. We'll see.
post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by globetrotter
I understadn your problem - I don't tip friends, either. can you do somethign for them about the value of what you would tip? take them out to dinner etc?
I second the idea. If you don't have the sort of relationship where taking them to dinner makes sense, maybe a nice bottle of wine or something sent with a note thanking them for their help in making the party special for your gf.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Ok, cool. Sounds good. Thanks globetrotter and lawyerdad for the specific suggestions, and to the others for helping me put it in perspective.
post #10 of 11
Hmm, this leads me to something that makes me feel awkward. When at a normal restaurant, and somebody you know ends up being your server, what then in terms of a tip? My girlfriend and I went out for dinner recently, and our server was a friend of ours (and an ex of mine). I just left a regular tip, but it felt odd, though I think it is what you ought to do.
post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by HEWSINATOR
Hmm, this leads me to something that makes me feel awkward. When at a normal restaurant, and somebody you know ends up being your server, what then in terms of a tip? My girlfriend and I went out for dinner recently, and our server was a friend of ours (and an ex of mine). I just left a regular tip, but it felt odd, though I think it is what you ought to do.

A friend who was a busboy at a restaurant took me there recently and confided how odd it was to have his friends and former superiors wait on him, even after being there several times since he finished his stint there. We left a nice tip, of course, in the upper end of what is generally considered the normal range.
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