(File photo)

To tip, or not to tip?

That’s the question that BC-based Research Co. is asking Canadians.

The company conducted a survey of how Canadians feel about tipping in a restaurant environment and found that one-third feel the need to tip, even if the service was considered sub par.

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Servers jobs are far from easy when a restaurant is busy. Most people take in their server’s performance, how busy the restaurant is, and the server’s tableside manner into account when they tip, says Research Co. 

One thing to consider is that in Victoria–unlike the majority of Canada’s major cities–most restaurants pool all servers tips together, which some servers think removes the incentive to provide exceptional service because they don’t reap the benefits of their hard work. 

Canadians from BC as well as the rest of Canada were asked a series of questions by the survey company and its findings may be surprising to some. 

Tipping in a sit-down restaurant

Around one-third will leave a gratuity between 15% and 19% if they receive exceptional service that is not busy (37%), busy (34%) or extremely busy (32%). The business of the restaurant does influence the tip they leave but not by much, as the results of the survey show. 

Similarly, one-third of Canadians said they would give a tip of 20% or higher if the service they receive from their server is exceptional in quality (between 34% and 36%).

Service that is good, but not amazing renders the server a tip between 15% and 19% if the restaurant is not busy (34%), busy (41%) or extremely busy (37%).

If average service was given by a server, about two-in-five (41%) said they would leave a tip between 10% and 14%. 

28% of Canadians said they’d give a higher tip after receiving average service.

Surprisingly, about 36% of Canadians said they’d leave a lower tip (between 10% and 14%) to a server who’s clearly working in an understaffed environment, even though that server likely has nothing to do with the business’ staffing issues. 

Lastly, Research Co. found that over three-in-ten say they would not leave a tip if they got bad service and their server clearly wasn’t busy.

“Two-in-five Canadians aged 55 and over (40%) would walk away from a sit-down restaurant without leaving a tip if they perceive that their server was idle and aloof,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co.

“The proportions are lower among Canadians aged 35-to-54 (29%) and aged 18-to-34 (24%).”

Tipping in a to-go situation

The survey found that over half of Canadians (54%) don’t think a tip is necessary when the server packs their food up as a to-go order.

For food delivery, over one-in-ten think they do not have to tip for delivery to them, and two-in five believe the tip range should be between 10% and 14% in delivery scenarios. 

Some to-go businesses that almost half of Canadians say they never tip at are: coffee shops (43%) and cafeteria style restaurants (49%).

Millennials and Gen Z tend to tip more frequently

The Research Co. survey found that one-third (33%) of Canadians believe that servers in restaurants deserve a tip regardless of service quality. That statistic climbed to 51% with surveyees between the ages of 18 and 34-years-old.

67% of Canadians think servers don’t work for their tips anymore, they simply expect it. 

Even more than that, 70% of Canadians agreed with the statement, “Food servers cannot get by on their salaries alone—it is important to tip them,” and 69% agreed that, ““If the salaries of food servers were better, there would be no need to tip servers.”

So, how do you base the size tip you’re going to leave? Let us know in the comment section below!

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