a question for the Restraurant people 🙂
thx all in advance, you've all been a great help so far on this board...so hear is the question; I need to know approximately how much money I could possibly make bartending. I am a veteran in the field, a damn chemist behind the bar, great personality (so I've been told), and I' a decent looking 34 year old woman. I need to know if I should be looking under or over my current income when I move to STX. All together on the books and tips I am currently making about 40 grand a year, working about 30/35 hours a week. I only work nights, weekends, and holidays (I've got small children, so no days for me). I know my way around a restaurant, cooking, waiting, bartending and management.
next question, would I be better off looking to get a job at a local establishment, resort, or casino. And do people tip like they do in the states,15%/20% or no and why? I know foreigners suck at tipping (td)
So any and all input is desired........
kisses from PA, Jimi
I would stay away from the hotels as some of them can become ghost towns part of the year. I assume the casino is the same. We don't have a lot of tourists down here so I can't see your tips being too different as most of us are mainland transplants, though I have never heard anyone here complain about tipping from a local either.
I know that bartending can be a good gig here, it is more a matter of actually getting that job in the first place. The prime bartending jobs are hard to get and no one here will give you the light of day unless you are already living here or at least physically in front of them.
I agree with Uuaww. If this tells you anything, an acquaintance of mine was considering moving down here with her boyfriend very soon. She has just about 20 years of a background exactly like yours and is doing well in Virginia. When she went to local bars here to see about job availability, wages, etc., they called her a "newbie" with only her 20 years and laughed when she told them what she makes in the states. Needless to say, she's decided to have a long distance relationship rather than move here and try to make it as a bartender!
The best gigs are found by word of mouth. You have to establish a customer base that will become loyal to you and the services you provide. If you make a signature drink that people love, they'll return to see you, get your drink, and tip you well. You can make good money once you get some deep pocketed regulars. Once you're connected through the restaurant community, you'll be more likely to hear about a nice spot opening up. It takes time though.
I think it's important to build a reputation or have a gimmick that separates you from every other bartender/server on the island. If a dinner service isn't memorable, what's the point? Well, with the way rum flows, most nights aren't memorable *-)
I think the majority of diners know how to tip. Industry workers dine out frequently and tip very well because it's one of those karma things. From what I've heard, most locals tip pretty badly. Not sure what's up with that. I never served anyone so I don't know, but in the kitchen, you hear every server complaint.
If you have experience, work hard, and have common sense you won't have a hard time finding a job. I do think you should expect to make less than what you're making now, at least initially.
Having limitations ( only weekends, nights and holiday) will also be a hindrance.
I have a friend who told me that St John's is the place to work for bartending as well. He told me that St John's has less Europeans (which tip crappy :X) and that there is not as many locals either-----that its mainly people with money that stay over there.
Any truth to this suggestion from anyone?
Also I would think places like the Ritz Carlton, Marriott, or any of the resorts would be the ideal place to bartend in STT. Then again I can imagine the months June-Aug where hotel occupancy is like 20-25%. I used to work at the Hyatt Regency in Phoenix AZ, and thats how things were there during those months.
jpizz: It is St John, no 's... And it is full of stateside people who are too cool for school. I bet that good bartenders at places that cater to both locals and tourists make good money. Locals don't go to many hotel bars on a regular basis. Again, if you all come down here, be prepared not to make money for 6 months while you figure out how you fit into the VI...
as i know plenty of waitrons and bartenders i must assume that those of us who are not good tippers are made up for by those of us who are good tippers. come with an open mind, that ready smile, and get to know people. i don't expect you will do too badly with the proper attitude and good attention to people and how the wind blows.
pubs and regular hangouts are great places to work if you plan to do well with tips, because the clientele will get you know you and will bring their friends because you make them feel comfortable... stay with this forum, as residents often post reviews and tidbits about local hangouts to give you the flavor of the places they like to go to after work or during their time off. pick up the island trader, which is issued on thursdays with the v.i. daily news, as they run information on what's happening at the weekends and where. they you can start to pick up on the types of venues you have to choose from.
and, if someone "stiffs" you (doesn't tip), try to take it in stride. not everyone's world view includes tipping standards, and this does not make them less of a person, uncultured or unintelligent. confidentially, i rarely run with people who do not tip, but i don't look down on those who do not but i know some people feel it's their duty to do so.