In planning the brewery, we discussed a tipping versus no-tipping policy. This discussion has been going on for years as we watched Danny Meyer and the Union Square group shift to a no-tipping policy in 2015 and our cohorts, Sean Lawson and Sean Hill embraced no-tipping in their taprooms. We leaned heavily towards no-tipping. We wanted all employees to have a living wage that was year-round and consistent, not just when tourists were present.
As we came closer to opening, we recognized that we had no idea what the future would hold because of COVID-19. We opened during a pandemic. There are no business models for that. We had no idea even as the Governor allowed restaurants and bars to open indoors at 33% capacity, if they would be shutdown again.
Though we did choose to pay staff above minimum wage, we also opted for tipping and tip sharing for all positions.
On Thursday nights, however, only the owners work. We decided that all tips would be donated to a nonprofit organization of the month.
We do this because we recognize the value of nonprofits as a bridge in the community. Patrons support us and allow us to make a living in this community, so we want to give back. We hope that when people see us doing something kind and generous through our business, it inspires them to be more kind and generous. Consider it a generosity loop.
We take this generosity a step further into thinking. All of us who work at Gotahold Brewing challenge each other to think generously, emphasizing community over individualism, listening over speaking (the hardest for all but one of us), and collaboration over competition.
We aim for Brene Brown’s definite of generosity, “the ability to extend the most generous interpretation possible to the intentions, words, and actions of others.” It ain’t easy!
Generosity is particularly important when one is driven by the question, “What might we build together?” That is the lens through which we see our business. Yes, we want our business to be successful (as do our partners) yet we also want to build something bigger. We want our community to be the best it can be; healthy, economically sustainable, environmentally just.
All of us have the opportunity moment by moment to practice generosity. It’s the only way we can build something better together.