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View Full Version : Tipping - Canada vs US


Amberle3
03-26-2004, 10:27 AM
I posted on another board about tipping housekeeping, and mentioned that restaurant waitstaff in the US are paid differently than waitstaff in Canada. Which then got me thinking - I wonder how many people know this? So here's my questions:

1) For anyone out there currently working in a restaurant - are waitstaff still paid at least minimum wage or has Canada now gone to the US standard of paying waitstaff less than minimum wage on the assumption that tips will make up the difference?

2) How many people were aware that waitstaff in the US are paid less than minimum wage? I was shocked when I found out several years ago, and most of my clients are shocked when I tell them now.

Pretzel
03-26-2004, 11:22 AM
I know in PEI waitstaff get paid minimum wage plus tips, don't know about the rest of Canada though. I was aware of that they got less than minimum wage, but it doesn't affect how I tip. If their government says that is all you have to pay them, and its up to them to make up the difference, then you better try and earn the tip, not just expect it.

Susan--Ontario
03-26-2004, 11:50 AM
Here in Ontario the minimum wage is $7.15 as of Feb 2004, but wait staff's minimum wage is $6.20.

Therefore the government expects that they will make at least 95 cents an hour in tips. If I have extremely poor service I will leave the 95 cents to show them that I am dissatisfied.

Our wait staff make much more than that per hour. They do very well when they work hard.

mom_rules
03-26-2004, 12:44 PM
My DS works in the kitchen of a restaurant he's paid below minimum wage ($6.75 /hr) and does NOT get tips.

hockey mom
03-26-2004, 05:40 PM
Our wait staff starts at $6.85, which I thought was minimum wage.
We are lucky in the fact that we recieve raises, benefits, RRSP contributiions, bereavement and sick days. Not many servers are that lucky. I believe that many of our patrons know we make good money but still tip us very well, dispelling the notion that servers are only tipped because they are underpaid.

I was aware of how underpaid servers in the states are and so I tend to increase my tip a little more.

MaMudduck
03-26-2004, 09:05 PM
When we were eating in Le Celliar at Epcot we asked the waitess ( from Nova Scotia) how she liked working at WDw etc. etc. etc. we finally asked her how much she was paid on an hourly basis and to my shock & horror she told us, she was paid$2.00 per hour!!!! . Yes I know housing is included but come on, 2 bucks p/h. No wonder some of them get alittle grumpy after working at that rate.:rolleyes:

Muziqal
03-27-2004, 03:18 PM
Don't let the $2/hour fool you. The guys/gals that get to work in food & beverage make A LOT more $ than those of us who worked in the mine (360 movie) or in the post selling roots wear. We make about $7/hr...and the housing comes out of our pay cheques - it is not provided for free by Disney, along with costs for transportation (bus system to and from a few different locations). I had the "fortune" of ticking off the attractions box at my interview 'cause I thought "I can work in a restaurant anywhere, why do it at Disney World?". Wrong idea. The average take home of my friends who worked in Le Cellier was $1000/week in cash tips. I was eating tuna for lunch and my buddy was buying a truck with money he made in a month of serving at Le Cellier. If you want to tip anyone...TIP the guy who gives you his spiel about the movie!! haha! They could use it. And if any of your kids want to go do the program, tell them to work in food and beverage...not attractions. They work less and make way more $ (this contributes to being able to do more while on the program as well...for example. I could afford to go on the cruise once while I was there and still came back in debt...my buddies who worked in Le Cellier could afford to go on a cruise per month...or even on a bi-monthly basis). There are trade-offs, of course (I don't like serving people food)...but if we're getting monetarily technical...the $2 an hour is nothing to be shocked about. The $1000/week US in cash tips is something your server neglected to mention...how much did you tip him/her? HAHA!

jersey shark
03-29-2004, 07:31 AM
I was totally unaware of the seemingly different approaches of compensating wait staff in Can vs US....not sure if that's totally true though...many diff "levels" of restaurant caliber....there seems to be many more upscale eateries (even per capita) in the US and I doubt their staff is at $2/hr.

If true though at casual dining places, it may make sense...obviously you want the wait staff to perform well and be motivated to do so with the prospect of a large tip coming their way at the end of the meal.

I find generally service in US restaurants at an extremely high, hard-to-beat level....even in a casual place like TGIFriday's it's extremely impressive to me to have my soda refilled (big glass already!) without me even asking (that's the standard now) and of course there's no charge for this! All perhaps a reflection of very customer-friendly policies of the restaurant combined with the "eagerness to serve" mentality of the staff. Cdn standards, though high too compared to rest of world, seem somewhat lower versus the US in that resaurants often have ridiculous policies that make it hard to work around if you're the server trying to satisfy guest....example...want your pasta with extra marinara sauce (at Old Spaghetti Factory in downtown Calgary)....you'll be charged an extra 3.49 (or whatever)....the net effect of a policy like this is to irritate the customer who may be inclined to tip less. I actually know an ice cream place in Vancouver where they CHARGE for samples!!!! (you know, when you're in pre-decision mode on the cone you're about to get and want a little taste first!)

It's remarkable how much you could miss the tip-driven, service-oriented approach...in New Zealand (where basically there's no tipping), simple restaurant requests take forever to get done, valet parking takes forever and a day to bring up your car, etc.... (all of which is easy to explain...there's absolutely no incentive for staff to satisfy these requests quickly and effeciently ), but all lead to frustration for the customer.

My own opinion....there's merit in tipping, our present system of tipping is good in that it drives excellent service, and there should be NO NEED to feel bad for US servers and adjust your tip upward accordingly...by definition, if you've been dealt great service, you'll WANT to tip more!

hockey mom
03-29-2004, 08:29 AM
Jerseyshark- I have been serving free soda refills to customers for about 10 years now have recieved free refills pretty much every where we dine here, but yet when we head to Disney we have stopped, ate, and asked for more soda only to realize we were charged for it. Guess we figured everyone had the same policy.

Mortlives
03-29-2004, 09:00 AM
One thing I didn't notice being mentioned, and perhaps this is on both sides of the border as well, but it's my understanding that in some upscale restaurants here, waitstaff aren't employees. They pay a fee to get the tables to wait. Even when this isn't the case, I would have a hard time not tipping anything. My idea of a punitive tip is 10%. The only time I actually left a penny, the guy didn't bring me what I ordered, and then told me that "the computer said he was right". Since he had entered the order into the computer that was somewhat less than compelling. I figured the computer could tip him. Please note, my companion agreed with my recollection of my order, I didn't get to eat at all because I couldn't flag this idiot down, and what he claimed I ordered is something I would never eat even to be polite at a dinner party.

I'm also surprised by kitchen staff not getting tips. When I was waiting tables in the not-so-recent past, 1% of my sales went to kitchen and bus staff. This meant that I could really be stiffed by a bad night. There were a couple of times when I would have large tables that wouldn't tip, and I would be basically out of pocket. Do I believe in automatic gratuities for large tables? You bet! I gave good service, and so I was more than a little upset that serving these idiots cost me money. I'm not saying you shouldn't be able to argue if the service is bad, but it should take a manager to agree you should be out of pocket. Large tables are a lot of work, and take your time away from serving other people, and are frequently the worst tippers.

Ciao,
Mort.