Amy Pataki’s recent article indicating that the standard tip in Toronto restaurants is now 20 percent has been circulating the web and the water cooler and there are more than quite a few disgruntled reactions. My reaction – as if!! Okay, I’m dating myself but it is a bit presumptuous in my book. We would all like to think that tips are based on the quality of service but in the restaurant industry there is a minimum standard…of the amount of tip apparently. Shouldn’t there be a minimum standard of service associated with this?
I dine out more than the average person and I’ve received average service, great service and exceptional service peppered with some bad. With this new “standard” I need help clarifying what the level of service needs to be to warrant a 20 percent tip. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t begrudge proper tipping. I know how important it is to servers because they are paid less than minimum wage and some have to share tips with other servers, busers, kitchen staff and management (this I don’t understand). Traditionally, tips range from 10 – 25 percent with more for exceptional service. TripAdvisor has posted a helpful guide to tipping in Canada that indicates 15 percent is customary but I think it I would clarify that its the average amount. (Remember this is supposed to be based on the level of service you receive, right)?
How do I calculate the tip when my server:
- is so busy working multiple tables and rushes through my ordering
- is inattentive
- forgets to bring items to the table
- spills, water/wine/ food on the table or me and doesn’t acknowledge it or clean it up without being asked
- is extremely slow moving when the restaurant is not very busy
- is rude or acts like they would rather be anywhere else but serving at the restaurant
- does not know what is on the menu, tells you the dish you ordered is really good, but it sucks
- is part of a group servicing my table and one talks about you to another server within earshot…and its not complimentary
In these instances, I usually just gripe in my head or to my dining companion but I still tip the 15 percent (grudgingly) and don’t go back to that establishment unless the apology is sincere or someone convinces me I should give it a second chance. I can’t just suck it up anymore if I have to increase my standard for this type of behaviour.
In a follow up Toronto Star article, a comment is made by Rachenbaumer stating, “…most Toronto restaurants charge exorbitantly high prices for wine and spirits (plus tax), even though LCBO and agents’ prices are only a fraction of their cost. Wine prices by the glass are often ludicrously high.” Tips are calculated on the food and beverage cost but I never thought about the alcohol mark up.
Things that make you go hmmm.
My point is this…someone, anyone – diners, servers, restaurant owners -please convey to me what level of service I should expect for me to make 20 percent MY new standard.
On the other hand, I probably shouldn’t even dine in New York where this is already the norm.