Can I Give You a Tip?

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TORONTO — We’ve all read about the added pressures the coming minimum wage increases and new HST will bring to many restaurateurs, but now a fresh critique has entered the fray that could have more serious implications for the foodservice industry.

In a recent Toronto Star story, wait staff in that city revealed that the little discussed trend of tip-outs — common among servers, hostesses, bartenders and bus-staff — have been more frequently extended to salaried managers and even restaurant owners. According to several servers quoted in the piece, the practice has intensified as a result of the hike in minimum wage.

Needless to say, the story caused quite a stir, with some 120 purported members of the Toronto food scene commenting on the article’s online version.

Perhaps most contentious, is the suggestion that some managers and owners, are starting to levy a required tip-out charge, based not on the individual server’s earned gratuities, but rather as a percentage of net sales. It’s an idea that has some hourly employees in the industry crying foul.

And, while a representative from the ministry of labour, quoted in the piece say such a practice is not illegal, it would appear this issue is only now making its way into the consciousness of the general public and could have far reaching implications for servers and owners on ethical, financial, taxation and public relations fronts.

To read the Toronto Star article, click here.

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