The Saturday Weekend Review #15-“Tipping Out” The Team

Tipping Out Tips

Tipping out the team sure never happened when I was young and worked in the back of a pub in the UK as a dishwasher boy. It would have been nice if someone were to hand me a few pounds (dollars) extra at the end of the night thanking me for my hard work. In all honesty I was getting paid a fair wage at the time for my role and it was never an expectation of mine.

It was alot of work trying to keep up with the dishes in a busy restaurant although it did help me to pay for my education. It was one of the worst jobs I ever held in my life but I never did complain as I was just happy I was working. I never did spend my money in the pub to eat nor do I remember tipping being something that was the norm.

As a couple we don’t go out to eat much mainly due to the high cost but also because we love to cook homemade meals. We have a friend who works at Tim Hortons and says line-ups are non-stop and at the end of the day he is physically exhausted. He works there so he can save money which helps him pay for his University education. He reminds me of the type of guy I used to be when I was his age.

He gets minimum wage and if anyone does say, “keep the change” they all split the money, including the back-end staff but not management. Tipping is not required in the consumers eyes at Tim Hortons as it is in the full serve restaurant industry although staff at both work equally as hard.

Leaving tips is a sore subject for those that don’t believe in leaving a tip for good service and think that restaurant owners should pay their employees proper wages. When consumers hear some owners are making millions of dollars it’s easy to see why some people just don’t care to tip leaving the servers and the team in an awkward position. Some people feel that patrons shouldn’t have to feel embarrassed if they don’t want to tip or feel pressured into it either.

We’ve had a server in a buffet restaurant visit our table, tell her name, smile then take our beverage order, drop off the drinks and that was last we saw of her until she brought the bill. I would have gotten more service at Tim Hortons than I did that day yet it’s not required of me to leave the Timmy’s team a tip but it was the server in the buffet restaurant.

The buffet style is as “fast food” as it comes, comparable to eating at a restaurant which cranks out meals as fast as possible.

You might even get servers in full-serve restaurants thinking, “why do they (buffet restaurant servers) get tips when we have to work harder than them”. There will always be that struggle with who works more or harder in the food industry with this tipping mindset in place.

So although I know some of you are saying, wait a minute they are both different roles Tim Hortons and the restaurant server that’s not always the case. If Tim Horton’s employees were paid less than minimum wage and relied on tips would you tip them for their fast food service?

How much should we tip in Canada?

Well that’s a good question for those that don’t know.  I was told upwards of 15-25% before tax depending on the restaurant. It was then when I realized that maybe I can create the same experience in our own kitchen. There’s no reason we can’t make burgers, fries, pizza and club sandwiches at home for a fraction of the cost of eating out.

Last year we  decided to eat out vs eat in on my birthday at a local chain restaurant with some gift cards I had received. The total cost for burgers and fries for 2 came to $27.97 and that’s no tip included. I can buy a weeks worth of groceries for the cost of that meal and if we added in a tip it would have went up another $5.60. I guess the definition of fast food differs to some because I’d categorize this burger meal we had to be fast food whether eating it in or out and buying it from a full serve restaurant.

From a financial stand point it makes no sense to us when we can buy all the simple ingredients and make it at home, depending on what we would order. From the “live a little” stand-point we should just do it and enjoy life. I agree but if I’m going to eat out I’d rather go somewhere that will give me the foodie experience of a lifetime rather than plain old food I can cook.

I was not surprised when I was reading an article by Steve Mertl about Ontario politician MPP Michael Prue who wants tips to go to the servers and not management. Prue has introduced his private members bill to amend the provincial labour law, Mertl says.

“An employer shall not take any portion of an employee’s tips or other gratuities.”

I had no idea that some owners and managers were taking a cut of the tips through something called “tipping out” which is required by staff. What was more shocking was that some servers had to pay upwards of 4% of their gross sales whether or not they made any tips. If I was the server I’d be telling them to tip-off and see you later if they wanted that from me.

Tipping out is where the server has to pay a percentage of his/her tips to the house or team each night. This money gets divided amongst the people who helped the server make the customers experience a memorable one. Everyone from the person who greets you when you walk through the door, to the person who washes the dishes at the end of a meal. Each of these people would get a cut of the cash pot, which in all honesty makes sense to me. The problem in this system they say is when the management team is holding out their hands for their cut.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that management makes more money than the wait staff, dish washers and general cooks. In some cases the wait staff may make an overall higher salary after tips then management but managers  get their wage no matter what. They don’t have to worry if they don’t make enough in tips to take home at least minimum wage for their work that night. If you are in a restaurant that is staffed with trained sous-chefs and red seal chefs then you can also bet they aren’t getting minimum wage either.

So that leads me to  question should management be getting a cut of the tips at the end of the night? I don’t know because I don’t work in a restaurant but I’d like to learn more about the industry behind closed doors. Management are part of the team after all and it wasn’t until I read what Steve had to say that I even knew about this. There are also many servers who work their butt off only to be dissapointed that at the end of the night they may have just broke minimum wage in tips or worse, not at all.  Should this role be comparable to someone who works in sales on commission? Lots of questions but no answers, have your say today.

Should tipping just be eliminated and employers forced to pay a fair wage to their employees?

What are your feelings towards tipping out and some of the money going to management?

What’s Happening At The CBB House?

Not too much is going on at the CBB house at the moment although the seedlings for the garden are doing well. I promised I’d do a weekly update on them and they are slowly growing for us. I haven’t lost any yet so that’s a good sign although we are sitting on the fence waiting for spring to show up.

I’ll also be taking the winter machine off the road this week. I finished up an oil change on it the other day so it’s time to bring out the CBB beast… finally!! Did you take your winter tires off yet?

What’s Happening With  Canadian Budget Binder?

I’ve talked to my designer and continue to work on the new site behind the scenes. What would you like to see for CBB? Share your thoughts. I’m also thrilled to see that we are almost at 5000 LIKES on Facebook. I never dreamed that so many people would want to talk about personal finance. I don’t say just Canadians because our group is so diverse with people visiting from all over the world although Canada tops the charts.

It’s great to get the perspective on life, money and culture of different countries and Canadian Budget Binder encourages people to step up. If you are new to the blog please have a look around and if you have any questions at all simply email me. You can also hook up with me on the Facebook page where you will typically find me yapping when I’m not at work or working on the “honey-d0″ list.

I’m also on the hunt for someone who wants to have the CBB fans “Bust their Budget” so if you want us to look at your budget email me. If you have a debt pay-off story you want to share send it my way. You never know if your story will be the next CBB Fan Contribution Post.

Canadian Budget Binder Blog Posts
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web search terms

Google Search terms really help me to understand what people are looking for at Canadian Budget Binder! Any typos below are simply how the person who searched Google and typed it in search incorrectly, or me ;-) Another week of thousands of search terms but only a few good ones worth mentioning.

Top Pick: The Justin Bieber Budget-  Coming to a blog near you the Bieber Budget,  NOT! I did find it fascinating that someone would search that. How about the CBB Budget.. is that comparable do you think?  haha!

  • Quotes about Quiet Smoking- I didn’t know smoking was a loud addiction.. maybe they wanted “quit” Smoking
  • Women Only Want Men With Money- I’m not going to touch that one but it does go both ways
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Mr. CBB
I’m from the UK and now a recent permanent resident in Canada. I bought my first house at the age of 21 after University then my second at the age of 24. I’ve always been fascinated with personal finance, savings, learning to make money and watch it grow while combating debts along the way. Canadian Budget Binder is a place where I get to share my experiences with personal finance and learn about yours along the way. I hope you stick around and check me out on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest where I am active on all social media sites. Cheers, Mr.CBB
Mr. CBB
Mr. CBB

Comments

  1. The majority of serving staff are paid less than the rest of the staff because it is assumed they make a certain % of the bill as a tip. The tip is already factored into their pay scale by the government. Busboys, dishwashers, cooks, everyone in the restaurant is paid more than the server. People have forgotten that TIPS has a meaning: To Insure Prompt Service, that means from the time the customer walks through the door until they leave. A good server will mentally track their customers meals and comment to the kitchen if the meal is taking to long and the customer is getting anxious. A good server never has an agitated customer, as the service is efficient and polite, each course is served in a reasonable amount of time and all the required condiments for the course are on the table, plates are removed quickly, but not taken out from under the dinners fork, dessert and coffee are fresh, and served as the meal is ending, or when the dinner requires. That will get you a 20% tip from me, and the money is for the server, not the rest of the staff, defiantly not for any of the kitchen or management staff. Should the server wish to offer some of their tips to a good bussing worker that is their choice, does not mean they must share it with the rest of the bussing staff.

    • That’s just it assumed. I don’t know if I would take a job where they would assume I’m going to make x amount every shirt. They should just pay a fair wage and if people want to tip then so be it. I’m betting more people would eat out and restaurant owners would see more money coming in.

  2. Thanks for the mention Mr.CBB. That’s awesome that you are almost at 5000 Facebook likes, I could only wish to have that many likes, but I didn’t even start my Facebook group until 4 or 5 months ago.

  3. brickbybrickinvesting2012 says:

    Thanks for the mention! It’s awesome you are almost at 5000 likes, glad to see your success!

  4. I don’t think that tips should go to managers that’s for sure. I don’t tip at places like Starbucks…yes, I guess I assume they should pay their employees fairly. I think people who work behind the counter at Starbucks make more per hour than servers do, at least they did back in my day, which is why tips were expected in that type of situation. But where does tipping end? I don’t get a tip for my work, even though I provide a service. It’s very vague and controversial.

    • That’s part of my point as well with the Tim Horton’s job and I don’t understand how restaurant owners get away with paying their employees less than minimum wage. Why bother having a minimum wage in the first place then. What is the difference between one service provider to the next? You are right… I agree.

  5. Christine Weadick says:

    We very seldom go out to eat….. I have a hard time justifying spending the money for something I can make at home for less. That said, I have no problem rewarding good service with a reasonable tip to the server. Ever watch serving staff in restaurants??? They are always on the move and if they stop to write up a bill or such they constantly look up around at their customers checking to see if anyone needs something. Even at Timmies staff are always on the move somehow….By my thinking management doesn’t need to stick their hand in the tip jar unless they are running their tails off serving the customers with the rest of the front line staff.
    We had the snows taken off the truck a couple of weeks ago when we had it in for that surprise brake job, the boys did an oil change and grease job too while it was up on the hoist. Bill’s been paid as of last week. The water softener salt is in the basement now instead of the back of the truck. Next job on the list is to start some cleaning and sorting stuff to get things cleaned up some. The fire fighters are having their bi-annual junk pick-up next Sat. so there is a box in the front porch for things to go out for that. A couple of boxes have gone to the Sally Anne Thrift store already. I try to do a little bit every day or so working around the regular things to get done and the usual running around. Once the ground dries out enough outside there will be work to do out there with the rakes and such.We still have standing water back there so I don’t step on the grass yet but stay on the deck to look things over. I finally got the grow light up and some small egg cartons to use for seedlings… My african violets need to be re-potted too.

    • Sounds like its been busy around your house and going to get even busier. We’re like you where we would rather stay home and cook then go out and spend money on something we can easily make at home.

  6. My daughter has worked at restaurants and Tim Horton’s.She made minimum wage and also keep a portion of the tips. Yes, these tips were shared with the other workers.
    My other 3 children work in minimum wage jobs, where tips are not given. That was their choice.
    I do not believe anyone should be paid below minimum wage.If the person wants to work for tips, that is their choice. They weren’t forced to take that job. They could use it as a stop-gap job, until another comes along.
    I personally hate tipping, even though I do it. Instead of giving a percentage, I give a standard tip.

    • The only reason that people are paid below minimum wage is because people keep taking the jobs saying, ya I’ll work for below minimum wage and bust my ass to try and make tips to pay my bills. Not all servers make more than minimum wage after tips, even if they work a long day.

  7. I worked at a golf course, the wait staff and dishwashers all made minimum wage. Most tips were charged to members accounts. A percentage would be taken off the top for the back of house staff. I had no problem with the dishwashers and line cooks getting a portion. I did have an issue with the executive chef and sous chef who I know make salaries getting a portion of that. Also we did huge tournaments where a 15% grat was automatically added to the company’s bill. The wait staff did not get any of that. Most often it was mostly split between the executive chef and sous chef (the sous chef is my husband’s best friend, this is how I know) with a small amount going to the rest of the kitchen staff. . Yes, they work hard for these tournaments but so do the wait staff. We would bust our butts too.
    I also worked at Tim Hortons and the Management wasn’t allowed to get tips, they helped a lot but the tips were split evenly between the front of house staff.

    • It’s interesting to read all the different situations about tipping. Personally they should be done with it, pay a fair wage and let people enjoy a meal out without feeling like they have to not only pay for a meal but part of the staffs wages.

  8. We’ve both worked in jobs where our income was dependent on tips before. I give at least 18%, more for excellent service. And always a $5 minimum regardless of percentage. The only time I’ll lower those numbers is if you treat me like absolute crap. But it has to be really, really bad for that to happen.
    I think it’s ridiculous that people think they work harder than servers. How difficult do you think it is to greet each and every person with a freaking smile on your face? Extremely difficult sometimes. And you don’t even know all the stuff they do in the back. Maybe the companies should pay their employees more, but they don’t. And IMHO if you don’t tip you’re a stingy, heartless jerk.

  9. theoutliermodel says:

    I tip differently depending on the venue. At a coffee shop, a barista might be the change from my bill if they made my day somehow – a friendly conversation or a good recommendation for example. At a fast food venue, I never tip. At a buffet, also very little. At a bar, usually $1-2 per hour. At a midrange to upscale restaurant, 15% and up.

    Unless I get crappy service – then all bets are off :p

  10. Katie Slater says:

    I totally agree that management should not get any portion of tips. When I leave a tip especially for very good service, I would be very disappointed to find out that 100% did not go the the server & kitchen/other staff. Tipping is kind of a personal to me because I know how tough it can be to make $ when you’re just starting out. #CBB

  11. Jennifer Oram says:

    We usually tip 15-20%, as long as the service was good. Thanks for the post, I’ve never really thought about how it is all split up between the employees–and most definitely it should not go to management! #CBB

  12. I don’t think managers should get tips unless they are in there waiting tables themselves. I don’t mind tipping for good service, but I hate even leaving 10% when the waiter is terrible, but I still usually do. I rarely leave tips in tip jars unless the employee has done something really great. Actually at Subway once, I asked a question about a new Italian chicken sandwich and the employee let me taste the chicken before ordering. I did leave her a $1.

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  2. [...] were scraping by day-to-day on my tips from the lunch truck,  I continued to use my credit cards to survive but kept optimistic that [...]

  3. [...] talked a bit about tips and restaurants a week or so back and I believe ultimately it’s up to the customer what they want to leave, if [...]

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