Here’s a Tip


TORONTO — If you work in the Toronto hospitality industry, you’ll likely know that the time-honoured convention of tipping has sparked some interesting debate this year.

First, at the fourth annual Terroir Hospitality Symposium — hosted in March at Hart House on the U of T campus in Toronto — event organizers assembled a breakout session in the guise of traditional debate, where the issue of the day was tipping, and whether or not the hospitality world would be better off abolishing it, in favour of mandatory, built-in gratuities.

Teams argued both sides of the issue in front of an eager crowd of industry compatriots, and when the dust settled, the exact same number of people who were in favour of tipping before the debate began (58 per cent), remained in favour of it after the debate ended. One might assume that nothing was achieved, but the exercise did bring the issue to the fore in front of some of Toronto’s most influential foodservice professionals.

Then, a few months ago, tipping was back on the radar, after a Toronto Star story called to attention the controversial practice of tip-outs in the restaurant industry, with most commentators incensed about its role in some Toronto restaurant’s operations.

And finally, the latest shot fired across the tipping bow comes from Queen’s Park. recently tweeted about Ontario Liberal MPP David Caplan’s newly tabled Bill 81, The Elimination of Automatic Tips Act, 2010. It seems that Caplan is quite alright with the status quo of traditional tipping, but does the Ontario government agree? Stay tuned.


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