Monday, February 8, 2010
Canada , Tipping , Menu Change , And Other Rants
During an evening I get a lot of 12% to 17% tips on the pre tax. For instance I get a bill of $80 and I will get a $10 tip but never a $20 tip unless it is your odd exception. Then I could get a $95 bill and get tipped something stupid like $7. After that I get a table with a bill of $300 and they will tip me a blinking $30. Where I work if you walk out with 10% of your gross sales after tip out it is considered good. I like to say I almost always beat that easily.
But it all depends on what type of clientele you have. If you work in a finer dining place here you will make good money. Similar to that of the States. I am sure in the States it is probably the same thing. If you work where there is a large West Indian population or there has been an economic downturn you might find your tip percentage lower.
I have had $97 dollar bills rounded off to $100 with the tip. We have had parties at our place where the automatic grat is not added on and between the two waiters made $15 each after tip out. The list goes on.
Here is the deal though. The really good places to work are few and far between nowadays. If you change jobs you better know what is in store for you. I stay where I am cause it fits with our 1 car family and my wife's other job. Once I went downtown to work a night at this fancy restaurant so they could see how I work and I them. After tipping out the kitchen , manager , bar , bussers , and splitting the tips based on a stupid point system it wasn't worth it. No married person with a family could afford to work there. Probably explains why everyone in the place was single.
But getting back to your Canadian tipper. To be brutally honest in this country the Canadian is untrustworthy of what may happen tomorrow. Our standard of living has dropped in the last 30 years , we have had governments in place that have helped themselves to the public trough and gotten away with it leaving the taxpayer on the hook. There is no real accountability. Governments worry about just the time they are in power. Cost of living here is extremely high. You pretty much have to live where there are no busses in service to find a reasonable rent. The baby boomers are starting to retire broke so they are not tipping much and the ones who have money know better than to spend their winters here.
So take my warning ahead of time , when you are serving a Canadian and they appear pretty average run of the mill type don't expect much in the way of a 20% tip. They probably left with so much money and had to put some in case they got hit with another bombshell when they got home. It is not that we didn't think the service was excellent it is just we freakin don't know next week what is going to happen so we have to save for a rainy day. We had to have the Olympics up here again that will just create more debt that could have went to building a hospital. The list goes on.
Now you say maybe we shouldn't go away if we cannot tip the 20%. Just stay home. Well maybe we want to get away despite the lousy exchange rate. Maybe sooner than vacation here we choose another country. Perhaps we spend money on other things too when we go away. Maybe you will end up making a bit more when we sit down in your section that you would have made otherwise.
My country is changing both people wise and thought wise. People wise so that the immigrant who comes into this country wields the power. Instead of adapting to the new country they live like they do back home. We had to change our menu to accomodate them. Last week the bacon came off. Even though I know the reason for it why do we do that? Do we have to accomodate everyone on what they want when they arrive? When the older generation moves on I am out of the a la carte industry. The young people are broke coming out of school and the middle age will be counting their pennies.
Fine Dining is disappearing fast around these parts. I say open up a Banquet Hall! Just do weddings and parties with the add on grat.
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.