Minimum wage is going up in Ontario in just 4 more days and then again in exactly a year from January 1st. With the massive jump in wages happening in a relatively short amount of time, there's a lot of emotions around the increase. The plan is to start off by taking the current $11.60 an hour wages, to $14 an hour by January 1, 2018 and then to $15 in January 1, 2019.
Now while there are a ton of issues surrounding the wage hike, one topic that has been circulating is how tipping will be affected in the coming years. Tipping is a customary occurrence in Ontario because certain jobs are paid below minimum wage with the expectation that staff will make up the difference in tips. However with wage increases, it begs the question - do we still need to tip?
The short answer is yes - you still do. Like all other wage increases that have happened in the past, liquor serving workers (people working in restaurants, bars, clubs, etc) will still make below minimum wage, earning $12.20 an hour after the new year.
Now how much should you be tipping? Well there is no obligatory amount since it's always based on the guest experience and the satisfaction on service received, however there are some loose guideline. It's most widely accepted that the baseline tips for service are:
- 15% - Okay service
- 18% - Good service
- 20% - Great service
- 21% - 30% - Exceptional service
There are people who also don't believe in tipping at all (which is their own personal choice) however in many restaurants, bars, clubs and liquor serving establishments, a no tip results in your server having to pay out regardless for the meal and service you've received. If you're wondering why, it's because most servers are obligated to take a portion of their earnings and give it back to the restaurant to pay out other support staff on the team (hostesses, busboys, the bars, expo staff, etc). So no matter how much of a tip you leave, they still have to give back a percentage of their sales.
Now when it comes to other services where a tip is customary, you'll find that there aren't that many others outside of the food and liquor industry. Traditionally your hairdresser, taxi driver, and food delivery people deserve a little extra for their time and service.
Some people also like to give a small tip when they get take-out, buy coffee, get an ice cream cone or other smaller purchases, but it is not expected. The tip that you give is for the service received but unless you received table service like you would at a restaurant - there's no expectation for a tip.
Finally, when it comes to bad service you are more than welcome to not leave a tip at but you should communicate that it was due to poor service (you can always write a note on the receipt). As someone who's worked in the serving industry I always opt to leave 5% (the general amount for a servers tip out back to the restaurant) because I don't believe that they should have to pay out for my meal but they also don't deserve a full tip if the service was unsatisfactory.