A little while ago we had a suggestion from Doug, one of our Facebook friends, to write a blog about tipping. There are varied opinions out there around tipping. I was surprised to find through poking around on the internet that Canada is apparently one of the highest tipping countries. I also found out that in Japan, it can be insulting to the service provider if you leave a tip!
How much to tip?
In Canada, it seems to be customary to tip approximately 15% of the total bill before tax although this is not required. However, if you receive exceptional service, some people show their gratitude by tipping more. Restaurants may include a mandatory tip with your bill (usually 18%) once the size of your group reaches around 6 or more people. So make sure you ask about this practice if you are making a reservation for a large party.
What happens to your tip?
There are no laws around tipping or how tips are divided up by a business’s staff members. It is my understanding that some restaurants pool all tips together, give a portion to the support staff such as the cooks, busser or dishwashers, and then divide the remainder amongst the wait staff. Other restaurants allow a server to keep all of the tips they earn and pay a portion of that amount to the support staff. If you’re curious about where your tip is going, ask your server about how the restaurant’s tipping system works.
Of course it’s ultimately up to you to decide what you want to leave as a tip. Here’s our question to you: do you always leave a tip no matter how satisfied you are with the services you received? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
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40 thoughts on “Leaving a tip”
I think what irks me about tipping is that it has become expected in the industry. As your article states that 15% is customary but “not required”. Since tipping is not required, restaurants should not have the right to charge mandatory tip to bills (especially at 18% when the standard is 15%). It should be up to the consumer to determine what is an appropriate tip based on services rendered.
What ticks me off are the restaurants adding a tip without your knowledge and getting away with it. We the consumers have no rights in Canada. There seems to be alot of fraud in this country. 🤔
Buckys in langford bc sets a 20% tip you must pay😡😡
[quote name=”Melissa”]I think what irks me about tipping is that it has become expected in the industry. As your article states that 15% is customary but “not required”. Since tipping is not required, restaurants should not have the right to charge mandatory tip to bills (especially at 18% when the standard is 15%). It should be up to the consumer to determine what is an appropriate tip based on services rendered.[/quote]
i know if there was a tip added automaticlly to my bill not only would i deduct that amount but i would leave NO tip.
I do not believe in tipping. People in the restaurant industry are paid to do a job the same as anyone else in the service industry .If they feel they do not get paid enough then it’s up to them to do something about it not depend on customers to supplement their wages .It is also illegal for the establishment to add tips to your bill and say you have to pay them .
I agree with Melissa, Jenni & Roy in that I do not believe in tipping. Many people out there work for minimum wage or little more like in retail & after the Christmas rush even get their hours cut back for a time. They work just as hard but no one even considers giving them a tip. There is also the people who stock the big stores on the grave yard shift ( 11pm to 7 am) who can’t get tips even if someone wanted to give them one because there are no customers in the building. I don’t think waitresses/waiters are any more special than other workers.
But yet we get paid less than others. So if you don’t feel we are any better than others why feel that we are less? The server minimum wage is being abolished by 2021 in bc thank god. Wouldn’t have to rely on tips if they got at least the same minimum wage as everyone else did. That’s the big difference. Plus I have to pay out of my tips for mistakes made even because someone grabbed the wrong bill didn’t include something on the bill and the customer didn’t feel the need to be honest about something left off the bill.
Unless you’ve been a server, for 20 years like I have, than you don’t get it. There is so much more involved. Yes we get paid for a job but that is the minimum to allllll the extra work, polishing glasses and cutlery, side duties and cleaning, setting up and closing restaurant. That is what we get paid for. We get tips from the customers for waiting on them hand and foot, being their own personal server, treating them well, giving them an experience, taking their pictures, bringing them a bday desert and singing happy bday! Etc etc etc
We don’t get breaks, we miss breakfast, lunch or dinner depending on shift. I ate dinner at midnight tonight after starting my shift at 3:30-11:30 again no break in 8 hrs. I have carpal tunnel and tendinitis, arthritis from always being in my feet, my neck and shoulders are screwed from carrying heavy plates and trays. It is very hard on the body and there are long term affects physically! Tonight I had no chance to even go pee until 9pm!!!!! That is not healthy! Customers expect the world and you have to put up with so much attitude. You can get treated like crap but have to put up with it. So give me a break, I’ve worked retail lol it’s wayyyy easier trust me. So THAT IS WHY WE MAKE TIPS!!!! Or at least some of the reasons. And I will tell you this, most servers wouldn’t put up with all that for anything less. So next time you want to go to a half decent restaurant and expect everything to be just as you want it; remember your not just getting you food thrown to you on a tray, you are hiring me out to serve you and take care of you while you are in MY section ! If that what you want than stick to the fast food where service doesn’t matter!!!!!!!
Hi Leigha, thanks for sharing your insight. You make some great points!
Leigha, not everyone is getting their picture taken for them or singing happy birthday and it is like my analogy of another industry which is the medical. Why should Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) get paid a whole wack of $120 to $150 per hour for just massaging a person with no extra training or tools being used when people who work in other areas of the medical and trades get paid much less and bend over backwards for others. I get some of your points, but for having one extra person then BOOM, there goes 18 percent! Why not make it mandatory for tipping for just one person to 100 people in the group? I just found out there is a Musician Fee of $3 at East Is East restaurant, not to mention the 18%. I told the waitress that I was told it was for 8 or more not 6 and she took the tipping fee off and I am sure, people are NOT happy and you wont like it either when you find out you have to pay medical bills that are NOT paid for by the government or anyone but YOU.
“make” tips — key word should be “earn” tips -” mandatory” is a word guaranteed to put a lot of backs up. Not everyone HAS a lot spare nor is are all servers equal. Yes the wage is unfair yes changes need to be made for ALL sectors still stuck on a wage impossible to barely scrape by on but automatically adding a rate higher than the “norm” to my bill without my consent? nope
An issue I have is that when tipping becomes mandatory, such as for large parties. What if a customer – due to bad service – chooses not to pay the tip that was included on the bill? Could he or she be arrested for theft?
But is it theft? For if tipping is optional, how then can it be considered as theft? There is no legal obligation to pay something that is optional. Just because the restaurant owner includes it in the menu or some publication does not make it legal. Or are the restaurant owners now allowed to overwrite Canadian law?
Hi Chris: interesting question – thanks for sending it our way. While I can’t comment on the theft aspect and whether s/he could be arrested for not paying the tip (that’d be a question for your local police detachment), I could offer a few tips that may be useful. 1) Consider asking the restaurant about their tipping policies before making a reservation, and ask what options are available if a patron disputes a mandatory tip (i.e., will they take it off the bill?). 2) Once in this situation, s/he might consider escalating the dispute with a manager. 3) If s/he ended up paying the mandatory tip, an option might be to call his or her credit card provider to dispute the charge. I hope this information is useful!
Here’s the thing. If tipping were made illegal, then servers would likely have to be paid more. In most places where tipping is the norm, servers make below minimum wage, and even at $9/hr, the restaurant wants to get rid of you as soon as the rush is over. So for a lunch shift, you would work from 11ish to 2ish. Do the math there, that’s $27. Not liveable in the slightest unless you get tips. Even with tips, lunch shifts suck. Dinner’s are better with a more sustained rush and might be liveable but you would still need a better wage to make up for the sporadic hours.
In addition, everyone in the restaurant gets a cut of those tips and the tip is assumed. So if your bill is $100 pretax, I have to tip out $5.50 whether you tip or not. So if you’re in the habit of not tipping, then servers are likely paying to serve you and then making less than minimum wage for the pleasure.
Recently we went to a floating fish and chips restaurant in steveston bc served by the owners. We were two parties our friend paid cash and then added another $5 for tip aprox10%. She handled my bill (owner) I reached my reading glass in order to read the check ,” then” she said smiling not to worry about the tip because it was included (15%) she grabbed from my hands the machine and bypassed the the tip mode. I asked her why she included the tip without giving me the choice to select the amount, she just smile saying is ok is ok. them my friend question her about his bill and why she did not tell him and she still received the cash tip that he already had paid. again she smiled and offered to return the $5 . In my opinion this was a rip off, If I wasn’t going to check my bill I would had ended up paying twice for the tip. Anybody knows where I can report the merchant that I m sure still doing the same? THE CRAB KING in steveston bc.
Hi Mario, thank you for leaving us a comment. You may want to contact the Better Business Bureau of Mainland BC, their contact information is here – https://www.bbb.org/mbc/
legal minimum wage for server is very low due to the fact that they are tipped jobs. therefore if you’re a non tipping customer, you are the one ripping the server of her/his income.
As far as I am concerned the employers should pay their staff properly and then I won’t be giving my money away to strangers for free. Maybe the government should smarten up and fix this problem about wage discrepancies.
I get great service in a grocery store but I don’t tip them.
What about people that serve gas and counter service at restaurants? Do you tip them?
Hi Colleen, thank you for your question. It’s ultimately up to you to decide what you want to leave as a tip or if you want to tip at all. If you feel that you have received a great service, feel free to tip gas attendants and restaurant counter servers.
Colleen, and everyone else complaining about how other “minimum wage” jobs don’t receive tips as a justification for being a cheapskate and not tipping your server… Do you REALLY think that a gas station attendant could be a server? Do you REALLY think that a grocery store clerk could be a server? If everyone took your advice to heart and stopped tipping their servers, you would likely end up with the most horrific, incompetent service in restaurants. The whole industry relies on the ability to offload the expense of paying their service staff to the customer. It’s not really fair, but that’s the way it is! The government isn’t going to get involved, so get over yourself and leave a bloody tip! The industry should be self-regulating. If you got GOOD service, tip well so that person STAYS in the industry! If you got bad service, feel free to lower your tip accordingly, but remember, this person RELIES on these tips to live, pay for daycare, pay a mortgage, etc!
To a concerned server, I am not going to start a battle with you as this is just my opinion. I don’t need to make rude comments such as “get over myself”.
Just so you know I do tip 15% if I do get good service less if it is not. By the way I used to be a waitress too and I will always believe the government should smarten up.
I don’t want to start a battle either, but I think you’re displaying a dangerous disregard for people’s livelihood by saying things like “I won’t be giving my money away to strangers for free”! Do you not think that’s a little rude to someone relying on making a living in this industry? When you “worked as a waitress” how did it make you feel when you spent a lot of time and effort, and gave great service to a demanding guest, even though you were very busy, only to find out that they DIDN’T TIP YOU? If you truly were in the industry, you wouldn’t be saying things like that. I actually agree with you that the government SHOULD do something about it, abolish tipping altogether, precisely because of the things YOU are saying! It’s people who don’t understand the system that are ruining it and driving good people out of the industry. Tipping your server is PART OF THE COST OF EATING OUT. If you can’t afford it, or don’t agree, don’t eat out!
I understand just fine, thanks and I am tired of wasting my time with you. I am entitled to my opinions just like you. Tipping is not part of eating out as it is your choice not a law and just so you know I can afford to eat out anytime I want.
I hired a independent contractor to do a job for my customer. My customer told me he gave the independent contractor a big tip. My independent contractor never told me about it. I would like him to keep the tip but I want honesty because I gave him the job. Am I expecting too much or is this normal culture?
Hi BJ — A good starting point might be to talk to the contractor. Did you have anything in the terms and conditions of the contract you signed with him that would require him to tell you about any tips he received?
Hi BJ — That’s hard to say. Consumer Protection BC oversees certain laws in BC, and I’m not aware of any laws that speak directly to tipping. We also don’t regulate the moving industry, so I don’t really have too much insider knowledge, unfortunately. That said, I know Canada has a moving association — I wonder if it’d be worth the time to send them an email, asking if they have any thoughts about tipping in the industry. Here is a link to their website: http://www.mover.net/ I hope that helps!
Hi Melaina, thanks for responding. Unfortunately, I did not have this listed in the T&C this time around. I would like to know what you think about splitting tips 50/50. Is this the norm? If not, what is the norm in the residential moving industry? Cheers, BJ
Can you please tell me what I should do about a restaurant that is automatically adding 15% to their bill (and advertising it ahead of time) for a buffet? I’m afraid to ask about it before I eat but if I dispute it afterwards, on what grounds can I refer? I am adamant about gratuities being optional because that is the entire point. I’d really appreciate your feedback…thx
Hi Diana — While automatic gratuities can certainly be frustrating, it’s important to remember that businesses are allowed to set their own policies. By letting customers know about the policy ahead of time, it sounds like the business isn’t doing anything wrong. My suggestion to you would be to voice your concerns with the manager, and “vote” with your dollars by choosing another restaurant to patronise. I hope that helps!
Do you know the tipping rules in a small restaurant? Business is owned by a husband and wife. In this case the wife works at the till taking orders and cash while the husband works behind the scenes supplying the business with the day to day requirements of a small restaurant. He is not involved with the clientele in any way. Serving is done mostly by staff with the wife stepping in if very busy.
They directly control the tips and pay out 50% of the tips to the restaurant staff each month keeping the remainder for themselves. There is no accounting to the employees as to the amount of tips received monthly.
My questions are – Are the husband and wife eligible for tips (legally or not) and is there a legal responsibility by the employer to fully disclose the amount of tips each month.
Hi Dave, this is a tricky question and I am not entirely sure of the answer, but I found some articles that may be helpful to you. Here is the link (http://bit.ly/2iEggnw) to the interpretation guidelines manual for BC’s Employment Standards Act and Regulations. Take a look at subsection (f), I hope this information helps you.
Also if you would like to talk to a lawyer about this, you can contact the Canadian Bar Association. They have a lawyer referral service which gives you an access to a lawyer for up to 30 minutes for a fee of $25 plus tax. Their link is here – http://bit.ly/2iLvRVD
The places that have the automatic gratuities do not always provide the services that were required or expected. Simply due to the servers knowing that they don’t have to do their job to earn their money. Customers are not ripping off servers. The servers and the restaurants are ripping off customers by not providing the service that is being paid for. I hope you get this right. TIP is earned by doing something good and it is not a privilege of being a server.
Yes we are paid to do a job but when minimum wage and student wage exceed server wage by almost a full dollar. Servers on,y make 9:95 an hour. Tips make up the rest of our wage so we can survive. Not tipping is an insult considering what we have to deal with. You try paying rent, transportation and eating on most of the time less then 20 hours a week for less then $10.00 an hour. It’s almost impossible, that’s why servers have to get second and sometimes third jobs just so they can survive.
if the Restaurant operators would remunerate the employees right or better then right there would be no need to add on a grand tip. Especially when the customer has no say where the tip is ending up. Is it
in the owners pocket or the poorly paid industry slaves?
No wonder nobody wants to work this industry anymore.
Lol stfu Johann
Take out tips and you’re paying 30+ for a burger and fries.
Restaurants have the slimmest margins of any industry.
Is it legal to not set a 0 tip option on the POS machine?
When I was treated with slow and rude service and found out the minimum tip option on the machine is still 10%. Are the merchants allowed to do so? By doing so they are making tipping mandatory.
Hi Yang, thanks for reaching out to us with your question. I’ve never encountered that before! Usually there’s an option for manual entry of a % or the option to tip in dollars (for which you can enter “0”). If you haven’t already done so, I would suggest talking to the manager of the restaurant to find out how you can avoid tipping at all when using their POS systems. It’s my understanding that restaurants generally set their own policies around tipping (such as when there are large parties) and there’s no laws that I’m aware of that address tipping. You may be interested in chatting with the owner of the business to find out more. I hope this is somewhat helpful!
Interesting feed being an owner in the industry. Our servers are requesting we add 18% gratuity to groups of six or more. I am suggesting to groups of 8 or more. Ultimately if we paid our servers what they actually earn and get rid of tips they would get paid about $24/hour and the cost of food would rise considerably to the point that our customers would stay home. The labour involved in running a restaurant not only all the kitchen prep (with demand of fresh, local, homemade food our food costs are increasing), increasing costs of hydro, gas, insurance, repairs & maintenance, competition from franchisees, we can see it is a tricky business. I feel if you have the luxury to dine out you should be able to afford to tip all the people that made that happen (cooks, dishwasher, server, bartender). There are many steps in the final result of that plate of food in front of you, take the time to think about that next time you eat out and if you truly don’t believe it deserves a tip then say something.
Let’s say that a waiter or waitress gets paid $24. an hour and no tips.
If they serve six tables of two people in that one hour that means a cost of $4. per table or a menu increased price of $2. per person.
That would be a lot cheaper for the customer than 15%
I don’t understand how automatic gratuities are legal. I didn’t order “a tip” off the menu, and so how am I to know that I have entered a contract with a “service fee”? Isn’t it illegal to charge a fee for something without first asking consent from the customer being charged? If I order a hamburger, I expect to pay PST. And I tip because I’m that person. But to be CHARGED a mandatory tip amount? Where did I enter into that agreement? How can I be charged an amount that I didn’t agree to? How is that legal?