Virtual Tipping

Preview image of “Virtual Tipping”
  • Digital gratuities are providing support for bar- and waitstaff
  • Unsplash, Shutterstock

In the USA, major brands are supporting an online tipping campaign to benefit restaurant service staff.

The US is famous for its strong tipping culture, as anyone who’s visited a New York bar will have seen – and felt. Now the pandemic has shut down bars and restaurants all over the country, out-of-work staff are missing gratuity payments as well as their wages. Responding to this plight, the United States Bartenders’ Guild has initiated a campaign to support those affected, under the tagline “Help us serve those who serve you.” In practice the USBG’s National Charity Foundation has set up a fund – or “virtual tip jar” – to help serving staff during the crisis. This has prompted a pile-on from wellknown drinks brands, keen to show their community credentials and gain some goodwill as well as exposure.

One of the leading US beer brands Miller Lite has thrown in $1 million dollars, tweeting “taps are off. But tips are needed.” Guinness US have also given a quarter of a million dollars to the USBG’s fund. Aviation Gin is another brand to pour in. Though its amount of $15,000 is coins compared to Miller Lite’s, Aviation has pledged to additionally donate 30% of the price of each bottle of gin sold through its major national partners until May 1, thereby tying its charitable actions to a sales push. The gin brand’s recognisable owner, US-Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds, tweeted the campaign with the hashtag #TipYourBartenders to his more than 15 million followers.