Setting up new sitdown style dining room. Help?

My shop has always been setup split right down the middle with a wall… the left side is a full blown bar, the right is a fast food style pizzeria and sandwich shop.

I’m going to break down that wall and want to make it into a sitdown restaurant with a full bar.

  1. My first question is, when then under 21 employees are waiting tables and people want booze, the bartender will have to serve it to the table (which is not a problem because it’s bascially one big 2000 sq. ft. square.)

How do the bartenders/waitstaff tipout to one another? If a single waitress had 22 tables one night, and 15 tables ordered booze (1 beer or 12 beers, whatever)… how should that waitress tipout the bartneder? Or should she?

The bartender herself will already havae 14 stools at the bar to wait on and will already be getting regular tips that way as well.

  1. I will have about 22 tables of 4 chairs (not including the bar stools). If we get “packed” with people, what is the norm with how many tables a waitress can handle at one time?

  2. I use Point of Success as my POS and wanted to know if the Table Service add on is a neccisity? I was thinking of just letting the waitress punch in the table #… is that suffecient? Or no?

  3. What else should I expect when doing this style of restaurant?

Thanks all!

Hopefully others with a better experience will chime in, we have what you’re describing with a couple of servers who are too young to carry. We vary from the answers you are seeking a bit b/c it’s usually my wife or I, or my oldest son, behind the bar, thus…being unpaid anyway, the whole tip thing really never came up. I think even on the busiest of weekend nights we may have to carry 3 to 4 tables for her. No biggie. Even the older servers are tuned in to picking up for them if need be, and I’ve never heard anything about splitting a tip.

I wanted to touch on the number of tables. From experience and having a lot of restaurant family and friends… there are a lot of factors too look at. The biggest are the quality of servers you have and your menu. Are people stopping to eat and run or hang out and talk and drink? An average server in a family/pizza/pub type setting can probably handle a section of 4-5 tables with ease. From there you have so-so servers and great servers. To them…subtract or add 1-3 tables. I think the best advice to you would be staff heavy for the first week or two…work out the kinks and adjust from there. Costs a little in labor but you do not sacrifice service in the crucial opening days when people will make that first impression of your new layout and offerings. Best of luck.

Regarding the bartender tips. In most places the bartender has to pour all drinks and gets 10 to 20% of all waitstaffs tips.

Yes but even when the waitstaff only had maybe 30% of their client drink?

looks like you have a pretty good quandary there. I would make sure what ever I do that both sides reach an implacable decision as last thing you want to worry about is this on a busy full dining room Friday night!

When I was younger we would “tip out” the bartender a percentage based on our alcohol sales. Don’t re,member what it was,m but it see,med to work well.

First, unless you live in Utah, Nevada, or Alaska, you do not need to be 21 to bring open liquor to a table. In the vast majority of states, you need only be 18. What state are you in?

In my neck of the woods, it is very standard to tip the bartender 1% of your total sales. Bussers get 2%. We even put this suggested tip amount on our server checkout sheets. If a server puts a particularly heavy strain on the bartender, he she should give them a few bucks extra.

Overtime, you will be amazed what a fixed% of sales your alcohol is. Mine varies less than 1% (as a percentage of total sales) from month to month.

I’d check with your own State, as well as Local Liquor Commission. Our servers and bartenders have to be 21 and I’m no where close to the States the other poster has listed.

Deaconvolker - what state are you in? I thought you were in illinois? If so Im real confident your servers dont need to be 21. You Only need to be 18 to serve alcoholic beverages. Now opening bottles and pouring may be different…

I’m in illinois. We get a newsletter from the state liquor commission quarterly which, not to long ago, had a article in it saying that “servers” of the liquor can be under 21, did not say they have to be 18 or 16, but they can not take the money for it to ring it up. Now THAT makes no damn sence!
I can have a 16 year old server wait a table of 15 people and just because 1 person got a bottle of beer… she can serve it to them but at the end of the service she can’t take the money for the check and put it into the register. OK

Now I’ve been to chains and watched how theve done it and ALL of them have the bartender serve the liquor while the underage waitress still rings up the tab. Obviously they either don’t care about the law or something gives them the right to do it that way.

If you have a POS system, at the end of the night have the wait staff run their close out numbers, look at the total alcohol amount and tip 5% of that.

I used to manage a wine bar a few years ago, and initially it was a straight 10% of gross tips, it was a pain to deal with the staff becasue the partenders still seemed to favor their customers at the bar (of course) and the wait staff just hated seeing 10% of their gross tips go to the bar, and another 10% to the bus boys. especially when the wait staff on a friday night made $150.00 -30.00 in tip outs, and the bartenders were raking in $400 to $500 in one night…

So what I did I had them tip out 5% on the liquor, and everytime I got a valid complaint for slow bar service to the tables the bartenders had to throw in 2% of their final tip count to the waitstaff, if I got 5 complaints in one night the bartender would lose 10% tips and get no tip out from the waitstaff.

It was a bit of a battle but eventually everyone was on board, (the alternative was to find another bar that would have made them that kind of money, I had a list of qualified bartenders waiting for a spot to open).

In the words of Artie Johnson…“vewy interwesting”.

I’ll have to check in with both our local ordinance as well as the State. It would be a big help if what you are suggesting is true for us, though the other side of my head is suggesting having a young lady taking beer orders from a table and NOT carding properly b/c she’s embarrassed to for whatever reason may mean it’s safer for us to continue status quo.

Here’s my email response for those asking about Illinois in particular…

Hi Jeff: Regarding your question, according to the Illinois Liquor Control Act (235 ILCS 5/6-16 and 235 ILCS 5/6-16.2), state law allows those 18 years and over to sell/serve alcohol, since Illinois Liquor Control Commission Rules & Regulations (Section 100.10) define a “minor” as a person under 18 years of age. HOWEVER, this law applies only where local ordinances are not in place; 235 ILCS 5/6-16.2 and 235 ILCS 5/4-1 allows local jurisdictional control on this matter. In Chicago, for example, you must be 21 to serve alcohol. Some other local jurisdictions have ordinances specifying different ages for the selling and opening of alcoholic beverages.

Ted Penesis, Education Manager
Illinois Liquor Control Commission
100 W. Randolph St, Suite 7-801
Chicago, Illinois 60601
PH: 312-814-4802 Fax: 312-814-2241

So it appears yes, we need to check the LOCAL regulations as well as the State regulations to keep our ducks in a row…