Sunday, December 13, 2009
Canadians Reputation as Bad Tippers Lives On and Christmas Season is Changing
Having worked outside of Canada I have experienced the lousy Canadian tipper and know first hand how bad we are abroad. Give me an American to serve any day of the week before one of my own. Not to say we are all bad tippers but this guy from Owen Sound takes it to the extreme. But the fact one person wrote this article makes me wonder how insensitive we are becoming.
Just the last couple of days I will give you an example of where I work which is not fine dining but still is an above average steakhouse. This time of year you don't want to do a party at our place as their is no auto grat added on. In Canada with no auto grat you are playing with fire.
The other day a guy had a table of 10 ladies at lunch and the bill came to over $400. They all paid separately and left $10 tip altogether. He lost money after tip out.
Last night I had a $248 bill for 4 people and they left $10. A couple ordered two Sirloin Oscars and I upsold one of them to a bigger size steak and when they got their bill questioned me on why the two had a different price. Well idiot , what did you think you were getting the bigger steak for the same price? Or what about upselling people to bottled water and getting the reply , why is there something wrong with your tap water? Or how about mentioning the feature and the price and having the guy who is looking away the total time doing an eyeball roll and whistling out of his mouth saying , $28.95 jesus..... then complaining he didn't get enough french fries so I got him a bit extra for nothing and then promptly leaving me a next to nothing tip afterwards. The list goes on and on. People doing parties and making next to nothing.
Thank heavens we do make a higher minimum wage but some nights it is hardly enough. In the States I just want to say that I think even if you had a higher minimum wage than the small amount you make now you would still get the great tips. Here though if we were to make your hourly wage the Canadians would still not tip anywhere close to what the Americans do because we up North are cheap. There I said it!
The only way you can make extraordinary income here is if you work with minimal staff and do corporate banquets where the auto grat is added on or work in a restaurant that caters to the white collar crowd. That essentially means fine dining. Something I used to do but got out of cause working where I am now fits in with some other responsibilities like seeing my kids once in a while. How long I can work serving these morons is another thing though.
Now a note about Christmas season. A waiter friend who has been in the business for forty years said something the other day and it is making sense. Because of the plural society in which we live presently it is now Happy Holiday rather than Merry Christmas because many people do not celebrate Christmas. Therefore a lot of the Xmas staff dinner out now is replaced with a bonus and that is it. The city I work in now has over 50% inhabitants who were not born in Canada.
Another thing is the drinking by law. Now you only have to have .5 parts per million ( or is it 1000) in your blood of alcohol instead of .8 so what a lot of employers are doing now is doing lunches instead of dinners to avoid the police who do not do road checks during the day. They are also making employees sign a waiver to say they are not libel should after the staff dinner someone should have drank too much and gotten in an accident showing their blood alcohol level too high. Therefore not much drinking is taking place.
So a lot of people are eating at home now which may be a trend moving forward.
Well anyway back to the tip situation and the difference between Canadians and Americans is the Canadian is very cautious in nature while the American is more outgoing and it shows in their generosity. I am not saying we here up North are terrible people but I think here we show too much worry about what may happen tomorrow. We are fearful more cause we have been screwed more I think. Without getting political which I am anyway we have no leaders in this country , no innovation going on , no green climate policy , we are rocked by billion dollar misuse of public money scandals every few months , etc etc...Now it is just in our psyche. So we tip less.
Okay that is enough for now. Sorry for blabbing on and on and on and on.......
Radio talk show host of "The Hospitality Industry News Network" and author of "You Only Live Once" about his early years traveling around and working on ships and foreign countries Steven blogs about his thoughts on the restaurant industry as he sees it today.
Check out his web site at www.stevennicolle.com for more information.