Tipping can be such an interesting subject. So many people have different views, opinions, and habits. I was a server and bartender for over 15 years so I really “get” the importance of tipping. Recently I’ve read a lot about Canadians being terrible tippers and that a Vancouver restaurant is even planning to pay their staff a large enough salary in order to cover the tips they would normally make. I’m thinking most servers would disagree with that… but then the recent stats are making me wonder which is better. According to a study done by Square, a San Francisco-based mobile-payment company, they found that only 65.5 per cent of Toronto customers are in the habit of tipping at all, with the average tip sitting at 14.4 per cent. What?! Seriously people, that’s nuts.
Having lived in different countries and always working in the business, every country has different philosophies on tipping. The French don’t tip, the Americans over-tip, the Canadians under-tip, and the list goes on. Here’s the thing: Serving is a job that is not as easy as it may look, and if you haven’t done it then don’t judge. I actually always felt that everyone should serve for at least one week of their lives so they know how grueling it can be. Dealing with people who are hungry, who might be rude or drunk, and them taking it out on you is not fun. The long hours are not fun. The reason people serve is for the money. The hourly wage is also very different in many countries; in Canada it’s lower than minimum wage, and in places like the Caribbean it can be as low as $4/hour. Tips are how people survive the craziness that is the hospitality business.
I remember when I first moved to Toronto and my father and I would go out for dinner. He had the philosophy that he should tip the same amount as the tax (which is under 15%!), so I would stick extra cash in the billfold when he wasn’t looking. Then I schooled him on the facts and now he tips 20% if service is good. And really, that’s how it should be. Tipping is part of the server’s salary, it is not “extra” on top of an already good wage. It’s how people pay their bills. Personally, I always tip 20% unless I’ve had bad service, in which case I tip 15%. I’m not saying I’m the Goddess of Tipping and everyone should follow me, but I did feel it was important to call people out. If 35% of Torontonians don’t tip at all, many of our servers are not making as much as they deserve and this potentially is the reason that service quality in Toronto has gone down.
So I’m just saying: If everyone did a good job – meaning customers tipping properly and service people delivering good service – wouldn’t it make sense that we would all be happier? Just something to think about…
What are your tipping practices? Comment below or tweet us @ViewtheVibe!