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The Tip of the Iceberg

Tipping after a meal has long been a standard in this country, as well as in the US, but perhaps it is finally becoming a thing of the past.

Many of you are aware that tipping in Australia and New Zealand is unheard of, especially for those who have travelled to the land down under. In Europe, gratuities and taxes are included in the price of the meal, and it appears the same trend is taking shape in North America, at least in Ontario.

Several restaurants in the Ottawa area, as well as a few in Toronto, are paying their staff a comparable wage – in and around $23 an hour. They have raised the price of meals accordingly, but tipping is no longer expected, required or accepted.

Kitchen staff are ecstatic about the concept, as they never realized very much from tipping. Most of the gratuity went to the wait staff. Patrons, already faced with post-pandemic hikes in meal prices, are pleased with the prospect.

When you think about the concept, you have to appreciate its origin. The word tips is actually an acronym, stemming back to days of old when knights were bold and so forth. People would enter an Inn, make sure they were well looked after, and a token amount of money was given to the server, To Insure Prompt Service – TIPS.

Very few other professions have the ability to increase their income by tips, and I agree restaurant staff should be paid the same rate as other professions. I never understood why they needed a separate wage level from everyone else.

Perhaps the lead these restaurants are taking will catch on. The days of leaving 15 cents at the Kresge counter are long gone, and now 20% gratuity is becoming the norm.

Something to think about!

Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, award-winning photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. Watch his show, ‘Jonathan van Bilsen’s photosNtravel’, on RogersTV, the Standard Website or YouTube.

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