Here’s when and how much you should tip in Canada, according to an expert

If you’ve ever been hesitant to enter a tip when paying, you’re not alone.

How much you should tip in Canada for certain services can be a tricky subject, and even knowing when it’s appropriate or not to tip can sometimes be confusing.

Are you expected to tip when having a coffee? If a screen asks you to tip when picking up takeout, is it rude not to? What if your waiter spills spaghetti on you?

To address some of these concerns, Narcity Canada recently spoke with etiquette expert Lisa Orr to find out the do’s and don’ts of tipping to help you avoid discomfort the next time you’re put out. on the carpet.

have you already have give a tip ?

“The only time I would say it’s really non-negotiable — and if you can’t afford it, you shouldn’t go — is in a restaurant context,” Orr said.

She explained that if you’re not planning to leave 15-20%, you shouldn’t eat out.

“It’s the expectation, and it’s part of how people in the restaurant industry make a living,” she said. “So that’s the only place where I think it’s really socially non-negotiable.”

How much should you tip for a meal when dining out?

If you ate well and want to tip well, the standard is now 18%, Orr said, when it was 15%.

She continued: “15% is low end, 18% is good, 20% is great. There can be a range, depending on where you live – I’ve seen up to 22%.”

Orr added that if you’re unhappy with your service, it’s still not a good idea to tip less than 15% because it’s taken away from “all the other people who were behind the scenes delivering your meal”.

Instead, she simply recommends that you do not return to that restaurant or argue with the manager.

Do you have to tip if you get takeout?

“It’s arguably optional because it’s not service-related,” Orr explained.

“So my personal view is that I’m not going to leave a number like 15, 18 or 20% because it’s linked to a lot of other things – it’s table service, there’s a lot of different elements that come into play.”

“But if it’s a great location and depending on the size of the order, I might leave 5%, I might leave 10%,” she said. “It could be a dollar figure.”

Although you don’t have anything to leave, Orr says it’s nice to give something in appreciation if the takeout is done well, the service is good, the food is well packaged and your order is ready on time.

If you’re in a cafe and wondering if you should tip, whether you stay or not, it’s again at your discretion.

“For me, if it’s a coffee that I know and I know the barista, and I’d like to leave a little extra, I’ll leave a little something extra, but that’s optional,” Orr said. “It is not necessary if there has been no service.”

Is it rude to have a payment gateway ask you to tip?

“I don’t blame [businesses] for asking,” Orr said. “I think it’s more about technology that doesn’t necessarily correspond to how we behave. And so I think that creates a disconnect because we’re like, ‘Well, I thought I knew how to behave, but maybe this technology is telling me I’m being rude.'”

That being said, you can always say no, even though as Canadians, “we’re very good at feeling guilty,” notes Orr.

“I think it makes us a little stressed because we feel like if I’m being asked, I have to do something about it,” she said.

“And that’s sort of what they’re betting on as a company that you might feel socially awkward about and then give more money to.”

Nails, hair, eyelashes, what is the appropriate percentage to tip there?

While some personal care places have a prompt on their machine that gives you a number, Orr says it tends to tip around the 10% zone but notes that it depends on the situation.

“If you have a very expensive service, it could be a very large number, so it could become a dollar figure that seems appropriate,” she said.

Also, if you are going to a new place, you can always do some research beforehand on the appropriate tip amount, such as searching online or asking friends and family.

“You can always ask the tech,” suggests Orr. “You can say, ‘I want to tip, I’m not sure what the norm is here, can you give me some advice?'”

What should newcomers or visitors know about tipping in Canada?

“How complicated,” she laughs.

Unfortunately, we have a very indirect culture in Canada, and we don’t explicitly state how much you’re supposed to give and where you’re supposed to give.

“Restaurants are mandatory,” Orr said. “Everywhere else, be aware that there may be a tip expected, and if you can, try to get information from personal care services and for catering services.”

“Do your best to get an idea of ​​who referred you or where you searched. And if you’re not sure, you can ask!”

Are there any tipping faux pas everyone should avoid?

Orr says not tipping in places where it is required is a big no-no.

“Even if you’re unhappy with the service, even if the waiter spills food on you, I don’t care what it is, […] it’s part of the cost of the meal,” she explained.

If you’re worried about whether or not you should tip, she says it’s always best to tip.

“If it’s someone you’ve enjoyed working with and you never tip them, they may not like working with you and may not feel recognized for the work they do. ‘it does for you,’ she noted.

“So if you want to make sure you get that appointment on a Friday afternoon or with your nail technician, or if you want to make sure your coffee is always ready when you order – a little tip, a little appreciation, can increase your chances of getting the service you want when you want it.”

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.


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