The 10 per cent tip may finally be a thing of the past in Canada.
Even at food trucks and fast foods, the average gratuity is around 12 per cent or more, according to a recent report by San Francisco-based payments startup Square. The company, which operates in Canada as well, analyzed over two-million customer transactions between February and May 2018 in order to spot tipping trends across the country.
But if the size of Canada’s average gratuity is now inching closer to 14 per cent, the data shows considerable variation across provinces and cities.
Vancouverites, according to the survey, are the stingiest in the country, with gratuities in the city averaging only 12.8 per cent. That’s fully three percentage points less than the 15.8 per cent that is the going rate in Regina, the No. 1 city in Canada when it comes to tip sizes.
But tipping habits in Vancouver seem to be in sync with those in the rest of British Columbia, which came in at the bottom of the list of provinces and territories with an average gratuity of 13.4 per cent. The most generous province in Canada, on the other hand, is Prince Edward Island, where customers add an average of 15.2 per cent to their bill.
Here’s what the results show:
AVERAGE TIP BY LOCATION
· Whitehorse: 15.4%
· Ottawa: 15.3%
· Yellowknife: 15.1%
· Halifax: 14.7%
· St. John’s: 14.7%
· Fredericton: 14.6%
· Toronto: 14.6%
· Montreal: 14.2%
· Calgary: 14%
· Iqaluit: 13.6%
· Winnipeg: 13.5%
· Vancouver: 12.8%
· Yukon: 15%
· Northwest Territories: 15%
· New Brunswick: 14.9%
· Saskatchewan: 14.8%
· Nunavut: 14.4%
· Newfoundland and Labrador: 14.3%
· Nova Scotia: 14.2%
· Ontario: 14%
· Alberta: 13.9%
· Manitoba: 13.9%
· Quebec: 13.9%
· British Columbia: 13.4%
“Do people in Vancouver tip less or do they frequent places where everybody tips less?”Still, it’s hard to tell whether average tipping levels have more to do with cultural differences about what constitutes an appropriate gratuity or whether they also reflect differences in spending patterns, said etiquette expert Lisa Orr.
And local minimum-wage legislation might also affect tipping behaviour, Orr said. After all, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, all of which figure toward the bottom of the provincial ranking, have among the highest provincial pay floors in the country (this was true even before B.C.’s minimum-wage hike on June 1).
WATCH: The first of four annual increases to B.C.’s minimum wage kicked in June 1
Canadians are decent tippers – but not at restaurants
Square did provide national-level data showing how Canadians tend to tip for different types of services – but the results are somewhat puzzling.
Beauty and barber shops, cabs and bars, for example, are where people tend to leave the largest tips, with gratuities averaging 15 per cent or more.
At sit-down restaurants, on the other hand, Canadians leave just 13.5 per cent.
AVERAGE TIP BY BUSINESS TYPE
· Outdoor Markets: 14.5%
· Coffee / Tea Shops: 13.7%
· Sit-Down Restaurants: 13.5%
· Food Trucks: 13.1%
· Bakeries: 12.9%
· Catering: 12.6%
· Quick Service Restaurants: 11.9%
· Taxis and Limousines: 15%
When and how much to tip
If someone is bringing the food to your table, that’s where you should leave the highest tip, Orr said. That’s because your meal was the result of a team effort and your tip will serve to top-up the pay of anyone from your server to the kitchen staff.
The standard tip for run-of-the-mill restaurant service is 18 per cent in big cities, although it may be closer to 15 per cent in some smaller towns where living costs are lower, Orr said.
On the other hand, the survey does suggest that Canadians may be over-tipping when they’re getting their hair done or hitching a ride in a taxi.
The 15-20 per cent tipping range is specific to the restaurant industry, Orr said.
“For cabs and hairdressers, I don’t like to be that prescriptive,” she added.
Leaving $10 or $20 extra at a beauty salon may be enough to show customer appreciation for great service, Orr told Global News.
In a cab, a $2 tip on a $15 trip might be appropriate, but you shouldn’t feel like you have to add as much as 15 per cent to longer and more expensive rides.
That said, a little something extra is in order when your taxi driver, for example, volunteers to carry your heavy bags to and from your front porch. An extra gratuity of between $1 and $3 per piece of luggage would do, Orr said.
On the other hand, “just the ability to use their trunk doesn’t qualify as extra service,” she added.
When it comes to ride-sharing services like Uber, tipping isn’t always an option. But whenever your app does ask you whether you’d like to leave a gratuity, you should know that whatever you decide might affect your rating as a passenger.
And people don’t normally tip when using home-rental services like Airbnb, Orr said.
In the sharing economy, however, tipping conventions keep evolving, she added.
“We don’t quite have the rules down yet and what we expect from each other.”