How Much to Tip in Canada

This last Canada Day weekend, my girlfriend, some friends and I took a trip to Kingston Ontario (lovely by the way). We went out for an amazing meal at chezpiggy, but it was rather expensive.

Now I grew up in Europe, where tipping is not custom (for the most part). So when the bill arrived I thought that a 10% tip would be adequate (it worked out to be around a $25 tip). This is where I got slammed by everyone else at the table for being cheap. According to my table if you have received good service you must give at least a 15% tip. Only if the service was awful do you tip 10%. Apparently my $25 tip would have insulted the waitress (who was very good). Which inspired me to do some qualitative research and to open a discussion.

Interesting Tip Info
Tripadvisor suggest tipping up to 20% for great service.
– If you don’t have a calculator handy a great tip offered to me by my girlfriend was to add the 2 Canadian taxes together (the provincial and federal) which, depending on the province, is roughly 15%. Then tip this amount.
– Most service workers who receive tips actually perform tip-outs, meaning that they share a portion of their tips with other people they work with (from kitchen staff to bar help), and this can be calculated based on sales not tip amounts, so they may lose out if you refuse to tip.
– Bad food doesn’t necessarily equal bad service. If the food isn’t to your liking a great way to access the quality of your server is to see how they handle it when you tell them the food was not up to par. If they give you a free meal or replacement, then they have done their job well.
– It’s not legally required to tip in Canada, it’s something I call a social obligation.

Service Professionals that I Personally Tip & the Percentage Tip Amount for Each
Waiters/waitresses (servers) = 15%
Bar staff = $1/drink
Hairdresser = 15%
Taxi = $1-$2
Take out food = $1 – Delivered food = 10% or $2 minimum
Coffee shop = 50¢

I wanted to get everyone else’s opinion on the subject of tipping. How much is adequate for bad service? For okay service? And for great service? Should you always tip a percentage of the bill’s total or do you believe if the bill is expensive you can lower the percentage of the tip? What service professionals should you tip?

I really want to discuss this. I have previously worked in the service industry (both in and out of Canada) and while I understand that salaries in this industry are lower and tips are meant to be declared, most of the time they are not and that actually people who work in bars and restaurants can earn the same salaries (if not more) than what are usually classed as professionals. Having said that, I am a huge fan of giving credit where credit is due, so if I receive good service I want to tip, regardless of the industry.

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