Service of Comping—Yes, or No?

May 9th, 2024

Categories: Comping, Events, Restaurant, Service, Theatre

You be the judge in these instances which could go either way: To comp or not?

You have costly theater or concert tickets and your companion can’t come at the last minute. If you ask a friend or acquaintance to take his/her place, do you expect the person to pay for their seat or should they get a freebie?

You’re producing a networking event, with speaker, in elegant surroundings, serving Dom Pérignon and catered nibbles. Based on RSVPs in hand, you’re concerned that not enough people will come to duly honor the speaker, so you plead with some members to attend. They normally pay for membership as well as for each event. Do you comp or charge the ones who are doing you a favor by attending?

Your kitchen was slow in food prep and the waitstaff was thrown off its game. Service plummeted. As a restaurateur do you offer free desserts/after dinner drinks to the guests who were impacted, simply apologize or don’t mention anything?

Where do you stand on comping others or being comped? Can you share other examples?

6 Responses to “Service of Comping—Yes, or No?”

  1. EAM Said:

    EAM on Facebook: When I worked in performing arts, it was standard to get comping if the seats weren’t full but some people definitely take advantage, some theater cos asking for too many comps for their employees. This past Dec, I got a comp seat at The Met Opera, a tix I couldn’t have afforded. I offered to cover half the tix cover price.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    You arranged for me to get two comp tickets to the American Ballet Theater, a treat I was so grateful for. How generous of you to offer to cover half the price of your Met Opera ticket.

  3. Lucrezia Said:

    I have no opinion either way. In the case of an opera/theatre/concert ticket, I would offer to pay or treat said friend to a future event. The way I see it, it’s a matter of agreement between friends

  4. Lucrezia Said:


    I once paid for dinner for both of us before a performance where I’d been gifted a ticket and ended up paying far more than the cost of the ticket. But I had a great time and remember the evening which was the most important.

  5. Martha Tepper Takayama Said:

    I am not sure how to answer about offering tickets. I know my parents used to donate their symphony tickets to the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s box office for use at their discretion when they knew that they could not attend nor could I. I am not sure about what to do, but if asking someone to fill in at the last minute with a prepaid ticket I would probably offer it as a gift.

    Theaters often need to “Paper the house”. Therefore if you are part of the establishment, a coworker etc., you would probably just be offered the ticket to attend without any further compensation.

    I think so much to do with dining out has become so unnecessarily and unattractively surrounded in unpleasant, pretentious behavior that I am again unsure as to how to proceed. Any restaurant that fails to provide timely or decent service should at least apologize. It would be a nice gesture to offer a free dessert. Failing to acknowledge the problem should certainly have a negative effect on the restaurant’s profile and business. Why are we constantly faced with weighing and measuring the guidelines for bad behavior, instead of trying to teach manners and professional responsibility?

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    How great that your parents gave their Boston Symphony tickets to the box office so that perhaps a student or other music lover could attend a live performance that otherwise was out of their reach.

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