Torontonians are a pretty parsimonious bunch when it comes to tipping, according to a recent study by Square, a San Francisco-based mobile-payment outfit. In a study of five Canadian cities, the company found that only 65.5 per cent of Toronto customers are in the habit of tipping at all, with the average tip hovering at 14.4 per cent. Compare that to Ottawa, apparently the number-one Canadian city for tipping, where gratuities average 15.6 per cent, and occur 76.7 per cent of the time. (Toronto is number three. Montreal came in second, while Vancouver and Calgary were more or less tied for last place.) Square didn’t release its methodology, so it’s not clear whether the results reflect straightforward restaurant tipping or a larger variety of tipping scenarios.
Unsurprisingly, all Canadian cities looked pretty cheap compared to cities in the U.S. An earlier tipping survey found that the lowest average tip across ten major U.S. cities was 15.5 per cent. (That said, the average percentage of customers who tipped at all the States was surprisingly low, at just 63 per cent—suggesting that Americans’ tipping mentality is an all-or-nothing kind of thing.)
Toronto’s lowish tipping average is sort of understandable—everyone has a crotchety relative or two who still thinks 10 per cent is plenty. But what about all these total tip-shunning desperados, who apparently comprise over a third of city’s population? Rumbles of tip-abolitionist sentiment have been felt in Toronto before, although they’ve never amounted to much. (In an online poll we published last December, 68 per cent of readers voted in favour of outlawing restaurant tipping altogether.) Maybe 2014 is the year.
Read on to see the tipping stats for all five Canadian cities.
1. Ottawa: tips 76.7 per cent of the time, with an average tip of 15.6 per cent
2. Montreal: tips 70.4 per cent of the time, with an average of 14.4 per cent
3. Toronto: tips 65.5 per cent of the time, with an average of 14.5 per cent
4. Vancouver: tips 62 per cent of the time, with an average of 13.4 per cent
5. Calgary: tips 59.4 per cent of the time, with an average tip of 13.3 per cent