Are We Bad Tippers? Eh?

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Not necessarily so. Canadians believe in tipping for good service and quality.  Unfortunately, we have been stuck on 15% for a number of years. This should be moved up to 18%, although harder to calculate. Restaurants are just starting to add suggested gratuities, with the amount already worked out with a selection of 15%, 18% or 20%.

Travellers beware: most US states, especially Florida, are now adding an automatic 18% gratuity to restaurant bills. They are under no obligation to inform you, resulting in tipping on top of the tip. Wow, eh?

However you are under no obligation to pay the gratuity if you feel you received inferior service or meal.

If you received superior service, the proper thing to do is to add further monies to the tip already included.

Three things to remember:

1. Always check the bill for the built-in gratuity.

2. If disputed, do not take it up with server but seek out the manager in charge, as they have the authority to issue a new bill.

3. A tip is a reward for a job well done.

Heidi C. Webster

General Manager

Cartier Place Suite Hotel

Ottawa, Canada

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Recent comments

  • John
    April 13, 2012 - 15:53

    Thank you Mike - good post. Remove tips. Tips should be the exception not obligatory. Pay fair wages - supply and server performance will sort that out. Australian example - we were strongly reminded by restaurant and motel owners - do NOT tip, we pay our staff. If it was exceptional, we left a tip. Removing tipping, will avoid that agonizing decision and 'held to ransom' feeling at the end of a meal. Forced tipping takes the edge of a good meal. Thx....

  • Al
    April 12, 2012 - 09:31

    @Mike: Speaking about not wanting to tip? You have obviously never worked in a restaurant. Also, I'm willing to bet that it is your crap that servers have to put up with. Did you know that in most major chains, servers pay 4% of total salesto the kitchen and other staff that work there? When your cheap butt sits down in a restaurant, gives the server a hard time and leaves less than 15% as a tip, just remember that they are losing money. Servers run off their feet for 10-14 hours a day, deal with difficult people all day long, are often unable to take breaks to eat or rest because managers don't care - they deserve their measly 15%!

  • CT
    April 10, 2012 - 09:37

    As the price of meals in restaurants continues to increase, the value in real dollars of the 15% also increases - no need to increase the percentage !

  • Mike
    April 10, 2012 - 09:35

    1) Price of food goes up, restaurants increase prices. So your 15% grows as prices increase. 2) 15% used to be pre-tax. Now most people pay post-tax. That's a boost. I still calculate 15% of pre-tax - sorry, you don't get rewarded based on what the government wants to collect from me. 3) If you put the tip on my bill, I will remove it. You will get nothing. I already think tipping is something that should be eliminated and that living wages for wait staff should be paid. Then I can tip as a reward for exceptional service. I find the European way of tipping to be refreshing. You tip if it was excellent service, and that's it!

  • Brian Cowper
    March 28, 2012 - 10:06

    I've seen 18%, but only on larger groups, typically eight or more; except in some 'country club' sorts of locations where the 18% is imposed regardless. I disagree strongly with the negative option concept for gratuities, sorry. From an ethical perspective, why should we be forced to offer a gratuity of 18% on a two or three hundred buck a patron meal at Harbour Sixty or similar, but only tip a buck using the same formula for a 5 dollar breakfast on Parkdale or Preston? I'd argue that the waitress at Alfa's Diner or The Meadows deserves better compensation than the seasoned and savvy veteran who declares for income tax purposes a meager portion of their thousand dollar a night gratuity rake? For hotels more than one night, I suggest you tip on the first night otherwise you're going to get the same shoddy service -- water still in the ice bucket, glasses rinsed out in the sink and breathed into to and wiped to polish out the remaining lipstick marks, the red M&Ms will STILL not be plucked out of your amenity package -- need I go on?

    • Marguerite
      April 06, 2012 - 06:47

      There are many people who make minimum wage and don't get tips - retail, cleaning staff in senior residences, cooking staff in many little restaurants or seniors' place. Good service should be a given - not the result of getting a tip on the first night (for hotel staff). I resent paying $l00 for a massage and feeling obligated to tip on top. Many people who get tips end up making more money than some professionals (staff in social service agencies for example). Need I say more?

  • JB
    March 23, 2012 - 10:01

    I've always wondered whether tips be left for housekeeping staff at a hotel? How much? How should it be done? When - during a stay at a hotel - when you leave?

    • heidi webster
      April 26, 2012 - 16:13

      Tips for housekeeping are always appreciated by staff. Depending on your length of stay, you can tip daily or wait until your day of check out. Tips can be left on the dresser or with the front desk in an envelope addressed to Housekeeping with your room number on it. Generaly tips range from $5.00 given daily to $20.00 for entire stay if it is for a number of days.