Gratuities, Tips, Reward, Gift…?

gratuity (normally called a tip) is a sum of money customarily given by a customer to certain service sector workers for the service they have performed, in addition to the basic price of the service. In a time were we seem to feel the need to TIP at almost every interaction, what exactly are we paying for? What are the criteria, the amount exactly? Let’s have a look and see if we can figure this out.

An old acronym goes; TIP: To insure prompt service. Sounds good, but there is more to it than that. If you want the legal aspect, check this page;

I can’t really speak much for other industries where TIPS are seemingly normal, but I do have some thoughts on the hospitality industry. Typically in most restaurants with the exception of Quick Service, tipping for service is the norm. Although, even in some fast food service restaurants, tipping is starting to be a thing. That coffee that used to be $5 plus tax, is now plus tip, making it a $7 coffee. To be fair, fast food employees are paid poorly, as are professional restaurant servers and cooks. I believe we need some sort of criteria to base a TIP on, not just promptness.

  1. Greet the customer with a smile; were you at least acknowledged upon arrival?
  2. Be flexible when possible; this could be anything from group seating to bill splitting.
  3. Be prompt and attentive; the promptness thing above…
  4. Know the restaurant’s products; menu and overall restaurant knowledge
  5. Be proactive and attentive; are your needs being met?
  6. Handle challenges immediately; are problems being dealt with such as food quality or order mistakes?
  7. Make the experience personal
  8.  Ask for customer feedback
  9.  Check on your customers often
  10. Speak Appropriately; Etiquette Matters

If you were to use this as a basic criteria, and say give point rating to each item on the list, perhaps it might go something like this. Depending on your preferred percentage…let’s say 20%. Two points for each item on the list. Bob was a pretty good server, but his product knowledge and promptness were a little weak. There was also a mistake with an order, which took some time to correct. With this in mind you may want to TIP accordingly, 14%. Still a pretty good tip in my world. And an important thing to remember as a customer, is to give feedback. Bob cannot become a better server without it.


Long a contentious issue, tipping has become even more so during the pandemic. Delivery drivers and others in food service have essentially become front-line workers. In recognition of the potential risk they face in making and delivering meals, ethicists have advised showing appreciation with a tip — and, if you can afford it, a big one. The pandemic has provided an opportunity for people to rethink the way forward, and some restaurants have adopted no-tipping policies in an effort to make workplaces more equitable. Toronto’s Avelo, Burdock Brewery, Richmond Station and Ten have all gone tip-free over the past year. This of course forces the restaurant to pay higher than average pay scale, which in principle means the costs are still passed on to the customer via higher menu prices. Interesting times we are in for sure. Cheers, and have a great weekend! 28 sleeps until Christmas!