This post made it to Chow's Grinder, too.
It's a great event when a catering client says at the end of the night, "Thank you," and extends his hand. The catering handshake is a potentially awkward yet always exhilirating delight. Yes, I've found that the man takes on the duty of doling out the cash tips to catering staff. Not ever the woman. After I say, "You're welcome," and maybe add something like, "anytime," I step away from the handshake. My eyes may be a little glazed and tired at that point, but the smile is HUGE and quite genuine.
I internally scream to myself, "Yes!!!!" and usually can't wait to get outside or to a private place to check out how much cash I've been awarded. Last night's handshake yielded only one bill. "Aw c'mon!" I groused to myself. Until I realized it was a fifty dollar bill. One event can yield anywhere from twenty to a hundred and twenty dollars. It helps if the client has been drinking and likes to flirt, of course. That is one similarity to waiting tables: flirting can yield potentially bigger tips.
After the money shot handshake and discreet peek, I like to leave the cash in my right pocket. Then, I'll touch it every few minutes on the drive home while I blast dinosaur rock music. My reason for the pocket love touch is to reassure myself that the bills have not fallen or gotten lost. It's also a fun surprise to have wads of cash in my pocket rather than safely stowed away in my wallet.
Cash tips are better to receive in person. Let's say I have been hired by a catering company for an event in a grand, private home. Trust me, the catering company is not going to share the full wealth. Most catering companies pass along a tip of maybe forty dollars per event. That income is reported and taxed, where cash is not. One longtime owner of a prominent Bay Area catering company has what employees scornfully call the Tip House and Tip Cars. As in: "Our tips bought that wine country vacation house, and those luxe cars." I'll take the handshake surprises so I can stow away for my own Tip House, thank you.