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Bill could end automatic tipping in restaurants

Tipping point: some customers have different standards than others (Image: passiveaggressivenotes.com)

Restaurants may have to cross out the “20 per cent gratuity will be added to parties of six or more” line on their menus if a bill proposing the elimination of automatic tips gets passed at Queen’s Park. As Spacing points out, Bill 81 or the “Elimination of Automatic Tips Act, 2010” was brought forth by Liberal MPP David Caplan. A transcript of parliamentary proceedings had Caplan introducing the bill on May 20 (there’s also a YouTube video that had been viewed exactly nine times when we clicked on it).

Eliminating automatic tips, 2010, or EAT, prevents restaurant owners from charging automatic service charges in restaurants across Ontario.

The legislation has one exception. It excludes private functions and banquets. In this case, restaurant owners and operators would still be able to charge automatic service charges when dealing with private gatherings and banquets.

The bill is still in its early stages but no doubt it’s going to spur debates among patrons and those working in the hospitality industry. Should tips only be given out for exemplary service or are they a mandatory amount given to servers with a crappy job—even when they’re serving six people or more?

  • restauranti

    This could change a lot for both sides. Having worked as a server in my late teens/early twenties, in busy restaurants, I am speaking from experience. Servers work for less than minimum wage and put up with a lot of garbage. Let’s say you get stuck with a large party in your section for an entire night (happens a lot) they tend to be very high maintenance. If the gratuity is not automatic, you could potentially walk out empty handed. Tips are the only way a server/bartender can make a living.

  • Oliver Braem

    To be clear, the auto gratuity restaurants ‘mandate’ for parties of six or more, eight or more, etc, is in face not mandatory at all. You can always just say, You did a shitty job, Sorry, not paying you that much.

  • restauranti

    Oliver, that is totally fair to say about quality of service provided, but consider the fact that at the end of a night each waiter/bartender “tips out” to the kitchen/hostess/house, between 20-30% of total sales. So if they’re not getting a tip for the service they provided you (good service or bad, the food/wine/water didn’t order/make/deliver itself) then the waitress is actually paying out of her pocket to the chef/hostess/house for serving you and your party. I hope you understand that.

  • insider

    why would davis caplan introduce such a moot bill
    bad experience?
    always travels in packs of eight or more
    or is he angry that his brother zane of caplanskys has achieved such success against all odds (great back tory would make great article for your mag (and more publicity for his resto) thanks zane)

  • Odd

    Funny how it says “BOO You Fail” on the bill. The same could be said about the politicians at Queen’s Park. Maybe they should take a pay cut too..

  • Tara

    I am a manager in a restaurant and have been for many years. If they pass this bill they should also mandate that every person must put in 40 hours working in the hospitality business to understand what a tough job the servers have. You deal with so many types of people. Those who are crabby because they are hungry, those who complain just to get something for free and those who have nothing better to do in life that complain about such simple issues. Don’t get me wrong I meet a ton of amazing people too but people in general like to complain and not compliment others for a job well done.
    At this rate lets just close every establishment since staff will not be able to make any money or pay their bills!

  • J.Female.Hamilton

    As a long-time server, I can understand clients’ frustration with automatic gratuities. May I say, in addition to the point stated by restauranti regarding tipping out, that my experience in the service industry has led me to believe that a large-group dynamic, regardless of alcohol consumption, results in very cavalier tipping practices which almost never benefit the server. I will also add, while this is an undeniably controversial statement (and also somewhat beside the point of this article, I realize), that groups of women are far more likely to exercise the aforementioned lack of caution than groups of men. How some female customers expect me to pay for tuition and blast through the glass ceiling is beyond me.

  • mel

    this is going to become one of the endless debates as to how crappy it is to be a server in this city. But here’s my 2 cents… the kid’s working at H&M are trying to pay their tuition as well, but making minimum wage( i know minimum wage for servers is lower), it is not the customer’s responsibility to pay your tuition. Also the auto grat that goes on large tables is not mandatory. You can choose to give more or less. True large tables are more difficult, and time consuming, but often when the tip has been included the service is not up to snuff (in some past experiences). Also most restaurant tip outs average between 4-7% of sales, not 20-30% of sales. if the tip out were that high the server would lose $$ every shift ( with a decent tip being between 15-20%)

  • mattagascar

    In a perfect world servers would be proffesionals and would be paid a decent salary so “tips” would not be nessesary. This would mean that menu prices would be higher, but maybe they should be. Look at Europe….tips are not expected. Unfortunately we live in a society where meals are served by college co-eds who think that the world is owed to them.

  • SC

    If the auto gratuity becomes illegal I will stop waitressing and so will many people in the service industry. Restaurants already have trouble staying in business and raising prices to pay a better wage would not be good for business. Serving is a hard job and physically demanding and many times people(teenagers and tourists mainly) don’t leave a tip, so I am paying out of pocket to serve them. I just hope they don’t rack up a large bill because I tip out 4% of my sales no matter what customers decide to leave as a tip. The reason an auto gratuity is customary is to protect the server from having to pay to serve you. If I have a party of 8 and they spend $300 and leave me $12 then I make 0 on that table. Our minimum wage is already low. If you had bad service then ask to speak to a manager and they will probably take it off the bill. I personally don’t serve a table differently when I know there bill will have an auto gratuity added but maybe others are less attentive. I am a great server and have done this job for ten years but I would stop if this bill is passed- seriously. This mpp should try and pass legislation that makes it illegal for restaurant owners to use tip money to pay for their business expenses or to cover the increase in the minimum wage because that is happening all over the city. I am literally paying the owner to work for his establishment so if you come and spend $100 and leave me 0, I am paying $4 to work. That issue seems more important than trying to attack the people in the service industry!!

  • guy

    in a jobless economy, this is a priority?

  • Patrick

    It sounds to me that the “tip out” is the problem. I’ve never worked as a waiter so I had no idea this happened, and I can’t see how it’s even legal.

  • IS

    You can’t expect to pass something like this without making an effort to protect the workers, which are the ones that would get screwed in this situation.

  • aj

    I’ve read all the comments before me. I have worked in retail and have also been a server for ten years. It is foolish to compare the two. So much more is required to be a server. How anyone can consider cutting down the wage of the only profession that continues to be payed less then minimum wage and is protected with no benefits and minimal workers rights, is extremely out of touch. Servers are not just teens and students but single mother, fathers and adult professionals, deserving of a real wage.

    Still, as a student I have worked my ass of to pay for my further education with out asking for anyone for money (read government and tax dollars) To believe that most people actually tip 15-20% is crazy. There are no laws to protect servers from high “tip out” rates demanded by there employers but yet the government continues to legislate less then living wages.

    Out-lawing automatic tips for larger groups continues to target those who make nothing and benefit the wealthy (those who can afford to go out). Finally, if you have never worked this job you have no right to comment! As multi-type professional I realise you have know idea what you are talking about, David Caplan!

  • Dave McCleary

    I agree tips should be given for good service. My daughter is a professional restaurant server and worker and much of her wage comes from tips. I can’t tell you how often large groups have stiffed her. As pointed out not only is there a low tip, but you can serve other tables because of the high demands of large groups. And there is the tip out.

    Mr. Caplan and his government wasted $1 billion of her money on E-Health, they have brought in HST which hits restaurants and now eco-fees all while this industry was hit with a recession. Mr. Caplan, give up your MPP salary and take on a servers job for 3 months a see what it is like to live on these wages. Then see if you support your own bill. In other words walk is some oneelses shoes before hurting hard working people

  • mattagascar

    If being a server is such a crappy job, why not find another one? Boo hoo.

  • TF

    I’ve never been a server – but when I was in university, I had friends who did it as their part time job. They made more money than I did (I worked in retail), AND paid less in tax, because they never claimed all of their tip money as income…not sure if things have changed, but i figure that if this practice continues today, then they’re making up for the table of 8 drunkards that didn’t give them a 20% tip. If servers are making less than minimum wage, then that needs to be fixed – but that is a separate issue from automatic gratuities, no?

    And by the way, lots of people have jobs that depend on performance for pay (think of the countless sales positions) – what if we were to just add an automatic commission to those bills too? This isn’t about who works harder. My spouse is in sales and is on the road more than 60 hours a week, he is hardly home, and the stress is unbelieveable — all to hit 80% of his sales budget and get a end of month bonus (his tip). No one can tell me he doesn’t work hard or his job isn’t physically and mentally demanding.

  • Dee

    The challenge with big parties is that they “Split” the bill at the end, with many people throwing in not enough money and leaving before the bill even arrives. Leaving often the mathematically disinclined and the broke to try to sort out a tip on a bill of $500+.

    The tip is not mandatory anyway but putting it on the bill also has people not see it, tipping on top.

    I have served tables and been in big parties.

    And many restaurant owners have the wait staff tip the management/bartenders/kitchen staff/food runners, further offsetting their costs and putting more pressure on the tips coming in from the servers.

    Not sure legislation will make much difference, unless you remove the mandatory tip out to compensate for the resto not wanting to pay anyone the wages.

  • Benj

    What surprises me is that it seems that the “restaurant people” seem especially sensitive to this idea.

    Imagine being charged more for buying 8 suits at a time because it takes a lot of time – that seems like nonsense. I find it hard to believe that a table of 8 takes more time to deal with than 4 tables of 2.

    I suggest offering good service to large groups and then this bill becomes moot. Or if it is necessary than restaurants should charge more.

  • Befuddled

    Is this for real? I am absolutely shocked that something so ridiculous is being brought up. Do our MPP’s have nothing better to do?

  • KatieMc

    Compulsory to reward service, regardless of its quality?
    I don’t think so. North America is famous for good service and it’s no secret that it’s motivated by tips as much as a desire to do a good job.

  • curious

    I hear so many complaints from servers as to how little they make; the hours they put in at work; the angry and irate customers who can never be satisfied no matter what; yet, in this industry, there are so many who ‘want’ to be servers and waiters and bartenders etc…so if it is a thankless job then why do so many ‘hungry’ young adults venture into this industry? I speak as one whose own children wait on tables as their ‘job’ and just love it and by that I mean the money.

  • D. Female

    The best comment made on this thread goes to the person who pointed out the following:

    in a jobless economy, this is a priority?
    July 8, 2010 at 12:57 am | by guy.

    The people creating the bill have no idea how the hospitality industry works. The hospitality giants need to step up and stand up for the industry as a whole because the entire industry will suffer if this bill is passed. The smaller players should get together and create a united voice and share their knowledge in how it will effect everyone.

    “Sensitivity” to this topic would be the wrong way to describe the people responding to this thread – the tone is just fact based opinions from the source. And that is exactly the point I want to really make here, before passing this bill they should go to the source and find out WHY they even have this charge in place.

  • j

    A close family member is a chef at a busy restaurant and he can’t say enough how crappy servers will earn up to $400 cash per night with auto grat. Meanwhile the cooks in the kitchen slave away for $400 a week BEFORE taxes, with no tip out at the end of a hard night.

    Let’s even out the playing field. If you’re not a good server, then your tip should reflect that.

    As an aside, it is not customary in many countries to provide a tip for service. Servers end up making a living somehow.

  • Stephanie Quinlan

    I worked in restaurants during my university years, and I’m fully in favour of having automatic gratuities outlawed. Telling that I must tip whether I want to or not AND telling me how much I’m going to tip has always struck me as presumptuous and arrogant. I’m an adult, thanks. I can make those decisions for myself.

  • Japhet

    I’m all for legislation protecting guests if it also protects the staff.

    As someone who’s been stiffed many times by cheap bastards and those who claim to be ignorant of tipping practice, automatic gratuities for large parties are a suitable perk for working hard to make the party a success. I’m a professional and without the tips at the end of the day, I would not be able to make a decent living. I still only clear just over $20,000 a year so I’m not rolling in money.

    The POS at my hotel can even split the auto grat for multiple cheques and that’s when the server really needs it. Inevitably, there will be one or two people who rationalize their lack of a tip by figuring that the other folks are leaving enough.

    Some ground rules:

    The party should ALWAYS be informed if a gratuity is included.

    Management should not be able to dip into the tips. Hell, they should be paying their BOH staff a decent wage anyway.

    Some parties take more work than others. Sometimes, I add it, sometimes I don’t. A manager should be keeping track of this kind of thing.

    If a server has a bunch of support staff behind them, they deserve a better tip.

  • Hospitality Lifer

    Let’s start with the acronym T.I.P.S which is where it all starts. To Insure Prompt Service!!

    Auto grat does not neccesarily guarantee that this will take place. Management must make sure that staff adhere to a service standard and be accountable to perform to that level regardless of whether they are getting an auto grat. Usually when this takes place, the guest will pay over the 15 – 18% that is being added, the restaurants reputation does not suffer and customer counts do not decline.

    Not everyone is cut out to be a server, just like not everyone is cut out to be a doctor…it is managements job to be sure only those that can do the job…do the job!!!

  • Peter

    I am one of those patrons who sees red when an automatic tip is added to the bill when i am dining with a group. I always tip my server but greatly resent being forced to tip a particular amount. Servers who complain about the amount of money that they earn should quote the amount of money the take home every year (quite often it is tax free). It is one of the few occupations that they get away with not declaring their full income. However, the one profession that I get upset about are bartenders. Now there is a lucrative job. They usually get more than 15% tip on every beer they serve,($5.00 per beer and at least $1. tip) What a rip off just for taking the cap off a bottle.

  • Calluna

    Waiters don’t get benefits, pensions and put up with a lot of crappy cheap people. Plus they have few employee rights and often get fired, or just not scheduled with no notice for such things like gaining weight or getting old…that is why you see a lot of young staff. It is a very hard job! Keep it simple…tip generously.

  • Jo

    All points taken about the lousy pay, cheap patrons and difficult conditions that waitstaff endure. However, the bottom line is that tipping is supposed to show how much the patron enjoyed their dining experience and appreciated the efforts of exceptional service like performance bonuses for great employees in office jobs. Those systems are not perfect either, but I would still rather than my great effort be noted. My husband and I were recently treated SO badly by our waiter that we concluded he deserved no tip at all. He was not simply neglectful, but also belligerent. But we knew that the tip would be shared with other staff, including the bussing staff who did a great job. We allowed for that with a bare minimum (all on the credit card), noted it on the receipt and I made a point of speaking to the owner/hostess and explained our reasons. She was very apologetic and said she would explain to all the staff. Who knows if she did. Our hope is that the bussing staff got the entire tip or that after dinner service they “schooled” our waiter on how his conduct affects them.

  • KellyD

    Just to clear things up a little, a tip out isnt based on your tips, its based on how much you sold that night. If you get a large party that spends $1000 and leaves $20, you OWE the restaurant $80, even if you only make $50 that night.

  • hospitality lifer

    I have been in the restaurant industry 35 yrs as a manager and EVERY other position in a restaurant/bar/hotel. Kelly D if you work in a rest that wants 10% tip out…you are crazy to stay,,NO rest charges that % for tip out. 2-3 % to kitchen or BOH (back of house) and 1 % to bar..is standard.

    Kitchen serves EVERY guest in the rest…servers, only the ones seated in their section.(unless the guest eats nothing)

    For the most part servers are lazy and irresponsible…they walk around with a sense of entitlement and take no accountability for how their actions, (Or lack of) affect the Restaurants reputation…

    They do not want to do anything but collect the tip tray off the table at the meals end and then complain about it when it is too low.

    they walk away with that tip tray and will not pick up a glass or dish to clean the table…and NOW a days they have people that run the food to the table for the server…

    NO AUTO GRAT….EARN your money!

  • Japhet

    This is such an overreaction. How about introducing legislation forcing restaurants to clearly communicate their tipping policy with the guest?

  • D.Server

    I have worked as a server for over 12 years in various capacities such as part-time to supplement my full-time job, as my full-time job and now its getting me through university. I am grateful that this profession exists because it has allowed me to make a decent wage up and until now without having a really expensive education and student loans to boot. I honestly don’t see why people would be so upset about having to pay a 15% auto grat. If the service is really that horrible (like perhaps u didn’t really get anything you asked for) then talk to the management and in most cases they will adjust your bill. Those who complain about a meagre 15% grat added to their bills are the same cheap people who normally, either don’t tip at all or only tip 5-10%. Where I work I have the ability in most cases to give my guests the option of whether or not they would like the gratuity automatically added and 100% of the time people want it added so they don’t have to do the math at the end of the night.

    I believe that for the most part, restaurants are very fair establishments because they want and need their patrons to return. I would say that more than any other industry, if you complain about your service something will be done about it. In contrast, if I go to a government agency or use a government service in most cases the service sucks and I have no one to complain to, but I’ll still hand over PST, HST, Income tax and whatever other government fees exist so that these moron politicians can continue to spend all day coming up with bullcrap ways to take money from those less fortunate!

  • Kristen

    Automatic grats are a necessary evil, as parties of 6 or larger ARE more work for the server and support staff (and kitchen). It should not be against the law, however, it should be mandated that the restaurant inform the party upon booking/seating, so the diners have the opportunity to make other arragements if they are unduly offended. The tip-out is also necessary for the restaurant industry, as many bussers, hosts and food-runners work very hard (sometimes much more so than certain servers)and they absolutely deserve a cut of the tip, as they contributed to the dining experience. Contrary to popular belief, the tip-out rarely reaches the kitchen, who cook for every table (I do take huge issue with restaurants that issue tip-outs to managers but not kitchen staff, who are always on the bottom of the pay scale). Tip outs rarely exceed 6% of sales, so with a 15-20% gratuity, the server is still taking home a fair share. If they are constantly paying out more than they are collecting, it should be time for them to re-evaluate their style, as it is clearly not pleasing the guests or to find a job in a restaurant with more generous patrons.

  • dinedout

    That this is even a debate is assenine. And also so typically Toronto, a city that shamelessly touts cutting edge culinary experience while at same time condoning and even encouraging slipshod, sloppy service to accompany general culinary mediocrity. ‘Mandatory’ tipping is a complete insult to the diner, no matter what city you’re in. Oh, poor servers, they work so hard… welcome to the world darlings, where the rest of us also work hard, only to be forced to relinquish our hard earned money to ill-mannered, haughty, resentful servers.
    Those who shine (and really, what does that even mean- as long as you don’t throw up on a guest you’ll get a tip) will be rewarded with a gratuity. Those who don’t should get the hell out of the service industry.

  • teekay

    I’m okay with an automatic gratuity for large groups because more often than not, it’s convenient for dividing up a bill. That being said, I was out once with a large group and our server added a gratuity that was calculated based on the AFTER-TAX total of our bill. We adjusted the gratuity amount based on the pre-tax total. As we were leaving, the server actually confronted one of the men in our party – screaming at him and calling him names – because she thought we had ripped her off. It was a completely inappropriate and ugly display. And yes, I have waited tables in my day and can say that she was waaay out of line.

  • kpkpkp

    If a restaurant wants to charge a mandatory “gratuity” whatever the purpose, then they should raise their prices and pay their employees more. It is that simple. To ambush customers with a mandatory gratuity is a major load of B.S, because then it is not a gratuity – it’s a mandatory charge.

    Someone needs to look up gratuity in the dictionary, I think

  • Roma

    Tips should be something extra to regular salary. It is up to the customer to give it or not. Be thanksfull to visitors for just coming in your restorant!…

  • Jonathan

    I recently moved home to Canada from the US. I will not frequent any establishment that automatically adds a gratuity on the bill without disclosure. If you provide excellent service, I will reward you handsomely IN CASH (which is how most servers like to be paid). If your establishment requires a gratuity for a certain sized party, you must disclose it ahead of time before I make the decision to spend my hard-earned dollars with you. I will not pay tax on any gratuity that is added to a bill, period, but that is what is currently occurring in Canada. And, if you provide crappy service, you will get tipped (or not) respective to that service. If you provide crappy service, you are definitely not getting 18%.

  • Keith

    For the clown who is suggesting this bill be passed …. I support my family on these wages (tips). Does Mr.Caplan realize that servers “tip-out” on their sales? The policy at my restaurant is 7% of my sales before tax …. regardless of my gratuity. So, if I serve a large group who spends $2,000.00
    before tax, I am “tipping-out” $140.00. So, if a large group was not “auto-gratted” and left me $150-$200 (this happens a lot) My evening of service was worth $10 to $60? I hope Mr. Caplan likes eating at McDonalds, because quality servers will disappear. I think Mr.Caplan should do a little more research . If grat is disclosed, people can make their own choice whether or not they want to dine at an establishment.

  • Keith

    And to all the clowns with an opinion who have never worked in this industry…. SHUT-UP. If you genuinely receive bad service, no restaurant is going to enforce an automatic gratuity. In European countries, a professional waiter is very highly regarded and a very respected profession. For those people enjoying $60 steaks and $300 meals, I hope you enjoy $10 service, because this is where this is heading.

  • Emily

    I absolutely support this bill and I worked in the industry for many years. Tipping is linked to service, not obligation. It is the same way that commissions or bonuses are linked to other professions- performance equals cash! If a bartender or server cannot meet expectations, then another job might be a better idea. Realistically, you will have some tables that tip more than others. This is a reality that goes with the territory. A great example of how auto-gratuity can sour an experience and take advantage of a guest is at Morocco in Yorkville. They put a 20% auto gratuity on high tea. This is applied to any table if it is 2 guests or 20. Their reasons for doing so are weak at best, and I know any person with any sense would agree. I find examples of this disgusting and will never return. Get over yourself- you serve sandwiches and sweets. Servers can go on about how difficult their jobs are and their suffering, but I know from many years of personal experience that it is a well paying job that requires little to no education. Perhaps shelling out some cash in post-secondary education would give you more wage security if you are looking for that. Otherwise, earn your tips by doing a good job and lay off the entitlement.

  • Randy

    I think one main problem is that it may or may not be clear to a customer if an auto gratuity will be charged on any given meal. Since these auto grats are based on house rules, (eg tables >6 or >8, 15%, 20%, etc), and all restaurant rules are different, patrons may not know what they’re walking in to. Is there a law that says a server taking a reservation must tell a customer that there is a 20% auto grat on your party of 7? Maybe a house rule, but not an official law. Do they legally have to tell you this before booking a reservation?

    I don’t mind paying an auto grat assuming I know it’s gonna happen ahead of time, but a surprise autograt because I didn’t read the fine print on the front of the menu, or on the website, or because the server thought in Toronto its a “given” based on “house rules”, well, that’s not right. At the end of the meal, I’m spending my hard earned money. I should know exactly how much a meal should cost me after I take my last bite/sip, and I shouldn’t be surprised by a x% because I have 6 people in my party and not 5.

    This bill should and, rightfully so, protect the consumer from “made up” rules about an extra charge on a receipt. At least there would be a law to back a patron up legally if something sneaky is going on….

    and what’s these side comments about -if you haven’t been in this industry, you can’t give your two cents-. I think anyone who has paid an autograt before should be respected for their opinion.

    Respect to all my brothers and sisters behind the stoves.

  • Michael

    On a recent trip to Japan, we noticed that the service there was a lot better than in North America, and not only do they not expect tips, they do not even accept tips if given.

    They are genuinely putting their efforts to provide good service knowing that they will not be given any tips. Here we automatically tip atleast 15% for below average service, and we live with it. Oh yeah, we’re Canadians, we’re used to being ‘taxed’.

  • Manon

    Last night we went for a xmas dinner with friends of ours. We wer a group of 50 a most of us are retired. When we received our bill we were shocked. We later found out that on top of the cost of the wine they added a automatic 20% tip and then added 13% HSt on top of the cost of the wine and tip so the wine that cost orginally $34.00 ended up costing us $46.10. Since when can they tax on tips. We were given our wine and no one came around to refill our glasses so why should I give this person 20% tip. The meal was the same they added 20% tip which was also taxed 13%. A quarter of our bill was for tips and taxes. We are a retired couple and we both agreed we will no longer be able to afford going out and enjoying a nice bottle of wine and a nice meal. What a shame that this Government as screwed us again.

  • sharon

    Sick and tired of the overcharges on eating out at restaurants..I’m not paying the Gov. or the tips. All i want is good service as a client. or just lose the BUSINESS..

  • Sharon

    LEARN WHAT YOUR RIGHTS ARE FOLKS!

    You;
    Don’t have to pay for glasses (some restaurants have a ‘broken glass fund”

    Don’t have to pay for a customer’s bill if they skip out on you.

    You are entitled to vacation pay, ( 4% of your pay yearly) and holiday pay on statutory holidays; double time and a half or time and a half depending on whether you are full time or part time.

    It is against labour laws to charge you a percentage on your tips to pay for credit card or debit charges.

    If you are on call and come into to work you are entitled to 4 hours pay regardless if you worked less than that.

    If any employer screams and verbally abuses you on a continual basis you can report them thanks to new bullying laws.

    You can refuse to serve anyone who is threatening, or is perceived as a danger to you, or is sexually agressive and you cannot be fired for it. Before, you could only refuse work if a piece of machinery was perceived unsafe by you. Now a person can be considered as a hazard on the job.

    I am not only an ex restaurant worker but I am also an ex restaurant owner. I never treated staff like they treat them now..not even close. Never charged them on their tips. I never touched their tips and they were paid them out after every shift.

    How are restaurant owners getting away with this?

    YOU LET THEM.

    Call your labour board office and learn your rights!

  • fairness

    Our son is a cook in a national chain London On, ,( not by choice) he has had & lost 3 fulltime fine dining jobs in the past 18 mos in this recession due to closures, & scale downs.
    He did his apprenticeship at a private golf club where he was included in the monthly tipout, approx $300.00 .Where he is now employed, the tipout is $50.00, as the owner uses the rest to pay for the tunic service( laundry exchange). Most back room workers have many tunics as they have had to buy their own in previous jobs, & all have had many previous jobs in this industry.I think they can launder their own as in the past.
    No where in Bill 81 does it protect worker’s tips from being skimmed, it’s double win for the employer, who can use the laundry service as an expense, & keep the tips as undeclared income.There is nothing in the Ont Employment Stardards Act referring to distributing worker’s tips.
    If Bill 81 passes, employers will find more innovative ways as mentioned above.
    “Get another job” you say?….he has …3 times in 18 months.
    Now, when my wife & I make a reservation we are sure to ask, ” do the workers get to keep their tips?” If the answer is “NO” or a reserved “sort of” we book another restaurant. I tip the workers for for their skill & service , not the owner.
    The gov has a lower minimum wage for food industry because of “tips”& the owner takes them, this is criminal. Another point, our son’s measley tipout is incorporated in his wage, so it is taxed inside that wage. Our accountant informs me that if he puts down “0″ for tips on his income tax return, he will surely be audited. If he enters the tip ,he’s being taxed twice.
    What an industry to work in…’fairness’ that’s all these folks want & deserve.

  • quickert

    I have absolutely NO problem with automatic billing of tips to larger groups but I cannot understand why the HST must be charged on the tip. This is an extreme scam and should be illegal.

  • jamcclearydave

    “As multi-type professional I realise you have *know* idea what you are talking about, David Caplan!” – aj

    “In other words walk *is some oneelses shoes* before hurting hard working people” – Dave McCleary

    Clearly, the last two posts are people who don’t KNOW what they’re talking about. But with the grammar and spelling mistakes aside, I support Caplan’s bill because these so-called “student” servers have never worked at a Dairy Queen, or a McDonald’s before they found their job at a restaurant. On the Work Smart Ontario website, the minimum wage for STUDENTS, as of March 31, 2010, is listed as “9.60″. Even in 2006, it was listed as “7.50″. Back in 2006, when I lived in BC, I worked at McDonald’s for 6.50/hr with NO tip, NO other benefits, and definitely NO free meals during work, like most restaurants have. Even now, the minimum wage at McDonald’s is 8.25, only very slightly higher than the minimum wage of 8 bucks, the official m.w of BC. Compare that to the lovely $10.25 m.w of Ontario. The reason why you servers MIGHT make less than $10.25 is because you get free meals during your break, which is 2 bucks deducted from your base rate. And you still think that’s bad, compared to the 8 bucks/hr with NO free meals at a fast food restaurant, and may I again remind you, NO tips included? I’d say you all take Dave McCleary’s advice, with spelling corrections.

  • Jennifer Hogan

    Tips are an on-going conversation with me and my friends. Most people think I’m cheap, which is not the case. I just think we are already taxed highly (in some Provinces up to 16%)on top of that we are expected to tip 20% to our server. For what? In my experience, in both high and low end restaurants, service is about the same each time. The server will take your order, small talk on occassion, clear your table and give you the bill. Done! Easy! So for that level of service, the expectation is I pay 20% more?

    I would honestly prefer to pay more for my meal and let the restaurant deal with the tipping as they feel fit. If a server is require to pay the other staff out at the end of the night, then the restaurant should charge more for the meal and the restaurant deal with the payout as they feel fit.

    Another option I prefer, I would tip the same amount each meal regardless of the cost of the meal and I would have a $2 limit if I could. Assuming you are seeing a few tables at a time you still make $2-$12 dollars extra an hour. Seems fair for the work you are doing. It doesn’t require and education, most time not a lot of training, obviously some social skills but common kindness and respect is about all.

    I also find it interesting that servers say this is how they make money, it’s hard work, or they deal with a lot. I would agrue that the buser/dish washer is working their butt off, cleaning tables and doing all the grunt work. Servers go home with (in my experience) double or triple more money. Why don’t I have a say in where my money goes. I would pick them, if we are agruing who is deserving.

    Oh, by the way I was a server for years and I made more money doing that then I would making $40,000-$60,000 a year (depending on the restaurant). So don’t feel too sorry for servers, from my experience they do quite well for themselves. Better than some professionals I know, as they don’t claim taxes in most cases. As for the job being hard, I’ve done a lot hard for a lot less pay.

  • Ruthii

    Seriously, tip out is a problem. It should be addressed, if all the servers in Toronto protested, then business owners would be forced to lower the percentage. Power in numbers, most people dont genuinely want to tip, they do it out of morale or possibly guilt, but thank gooodness they tip. Others blatently refuse and don’t care to tip. Serving is difficult, speaking from experience. Tip out is a joke. Not fair that servers making minimum wage, have to give money to the entire store, those of whom are making minimum wage PLUS their weekly tip out. WE NEEEDD TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS INJUSTICE.

  • MV

    A tip is voluntary and should not be expected. Its like a
    gift, you don’t ask for it! There are many people that work
    for low wages in very demanding or dirty jobs and never get a tip. Its time the restaurant employers take on the responsibilities of paying their staff decent wages and raise the prices if they have to.

  • BE

    Envision a world where there is a tip jar at every fast food chain and they are treated equally to a server at a restaurant. After all, our local fast food chain worker works for a minimum wage of $10.25/hr, under high pressure with a ton of volume throughout the day with their fair share of ‘character customers’ just like the restaurant industry.

    Imagine a world where our servers at these fancy restaurants have an increase to their minimum wage from $8.90/hr to the standard of $10.25/hr and be on par with other minimum wage workers (although I’m sure they make up more then the $1.35/hr in tips to already be on par with them).

    How fantastic would everyone’s lives be if highly profitable restaurants at prime locations (McDonald’s, Boston Pizza, for example) actually paid their workers more then the minimum wage or gave them tips from the hard earned profit they make for their owner. Let’s say, a modest %5.

    In the bigger picture, control the cost of gas, the housing market, transportation costs, car insurance and ridiculous cell phone rates to make living more affordable. Last I checked none of the majority of the above named none industries were struggling and continue to be highly profitable while ripping off their customers and employees.

    As usual, the costs end up being paid by the common folk. Rather that’s in taxes or 20% gratuity.

  • jeff hodapp

    tipping should be eliminated and servers should be slaves of the state who are rented to businesses. if they do a good job, they continue to eat and live. slaves are the solution to the world’s problems. the poor should be allowed to starve so they sell themselves into slavery. why have a minimum wage when people will work for free?

  • Faith

    Tips are supposed to be a bonus to the servers to motivate them to give good service, not a nessesary part of their wage.

    Resteraunts just keep paying the staff less and less and expecting people to tip more to make up for it. Then they can put lower prices on the food and still make the same profits

  • Griswald

    This comes from how many years experience as an owner/operator of a restaurant? Do tell.. we are all intrigued.

    In fact, the restaurant industry has razor thin margins, read any professional trade publication on the matter and you will see instantly. The places with good margins are large franchises that pay their workers next to nothing and have huge supply chains.

    Everyone else scrapes around looking to find where their profit is actually supposed to be coming from. “Do I cut my employee hours or do I cut the lighting in the kitchen?”

    30-40% Employee cost, 30-40% Food Cost, 15% Fixed (Rent, etc)… Throw in variables like equipment maintenance, cleaning (soaps, disinfectants, laundry, etc) waste, spillage, fees, taxes, etc… and what do you have?

    One really ignorant Discus poster.

    (10% Gratuity is included in this post, have a nice day)

  • Griswald

    Tell me where do you go to eat when you take your significant other or family out to dinner? To the place that is $5 cheaper (pp) than the other? Do you hit Jacobs steakhouse for a $600 family bill, or do you prefer East Side Marios where you can order a couple entrees and feed the kids salad and breadsticks maybe slipping them some pasta from your plate without getting an odd stare from the server. (What?! They said is was “all you can eat”, the “you” is plural right??”)

    Yeah, thought so. Restaurant owners would love to hike prices, have a happy kitchen staff, add extra servers so their service was A1 and every one would earn tips in kind, but alas… The consumers don’t want to pay extra.

    So instead they are reduced to adding mandatory service charges. If you were going to tip anyway, why would you care?

    I find the only people that actually care about this are the ones who would never of left a tip in the first place but are too pompous to admit it.

    I realize I’m replying to something years old, these posts are bothersome as the article popped up in Google and I read these crazy opinions.

  • Jeffrey Sivadon

    I believe it’s the customers prague-ative to give it or not.its something it shouldn’t be asked for but given if the service is good

 

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