Restaurant Sciences, a leading provider of restaurant industry information and analytics based on individual guest checks, has released the nation’s first-ever study of beer, wine and spirits gratuity. Analyzing more than 4 million guest checks at US family, casual, upscale, and fine dining establishments, as well as nightclubs and hotel bars from February to November 2012, Restaurant Sciences’ “Hey Big Spender Survey,” determined that on average beer, wine, and spirits drinkers tipped slightly more than 20 percent. The study analyzed checks with only beer or wine or spirits. Checks with multiple drink types were not included in the study.

While spirits-only drinkers were a bit more generous, patrons who ordered wine-only had much higher check averages than spirits or beer-only checks. The average check for wine drinkers was $69.05, with beer drinkers’ average check at $38.74 and spirits’ average check at $55.19. Despite the fact that wine drinkers were the least generous averaging 20.32 percent tip per check, servers generally made more per check when patrons ordered wine. 

The most generous tippers were drinkers of bourbon (22.69 percent); blended whiskey (22.67 percent); cider (22.20 percent); gin (21.67 percent), and vodka (21.27 percent). The least generous tippers were those who ordered cordials/liqueurs (19.66 percent); rum (19.81 percent), and scotch (20.12 percent). However, patrons who ordered scotch had the highest check totals at $69.14. While drinkers of bourbon tipped a bit more, wait staff serving scotch drinkers received a much higher average tip – $9.60 compared to $13.91 respectively.

“Restaurant Sciences’ data shows that guest checks with only wine sales are 25 percent higher than checks with only spirit sales and 78 percent higher than those checks with only beer sales,” says Chuck Ellis, president of Restaurant Sciences. “Whether consumers ordered beers, wine or spirits, they generally tipped an above average amount of more than 20 percent per check.”

Restaurant Sciences sampled 4 million restaurant/nightclub/hotel guest checks; all values shown have a Standard Error of less than 2.3 percent.

Beverage, Industry News