Tipping in Restaurants

In Montreal, tipping in restaurants is expected because most if not all restaurant workers earn minimum wage. Despite their hard work they earn the minimum wage rates per hour set by the Government of Quebec. A general minimum rate of $12,50 per hour and a minimum rate of $10,45 also per hour for employees who receive tips. 

Restaurants are part of the food and beverage segment, the largest in the hospitality industry. A segment divided into high-end restaurants, fast-food eateries and catering establishments.

The other two segments of the hospitality industry are Accommodations and Lodging and Travel and Tourism. A total of three segments that rely heavily on customer service. 

Appropriate Tipping in Restaurants

Busboy. None but, in many restaurants, the servers must give the busboy a percentage of their total tips.  

Coatroom Attendant: If there is already a fee, you don't have to tip, otherwise, $1 per item or coat.

Host or Hostess: No tip is necessary unless you convince the host or hostess to give you special service. In that case, make your tip in accordance with the size of the favour.

The Maitre d’ is the person who can improve your dining experience. A twenty-dollar tip will help establish a relationship between the two of you or, you could tip $1 or $2 for each pre-assigned seat. However, in fine-dining establishments, a group of six or more often receives a bill with the gratuity already incorporated.

Rules for Tipping in Restaurants

In the province of Quebec, the minimum rate is $12.50 per hour and the minimum rate for employees who receive tips is $10.05 per hour. In other words, restaurants pay their employees less because of the tips they receive from most customers. 

In Montreal, tipping in restaurants is expected and is based on the quality of the service received. 10% for an OK job, 15% for a good service and 20% for an exceptional service. If you received poor service, it's best to tell the server.

In some restaurants, at the end of their shift, servers give a pre-determined portion of their tips to staff members who are not tipped directly. So, when a  customer leaves a small tip, their server receives less from the tipping pool.

Montreal Tipping Suggestions

Restaurant Owners - none but "employees who participate in a tip-sharing arrangement can ask their employer to manage the arrangement and to distribute the tips".

Restroom attendant: $1. They maintain and clean the facilities and make sure that toilet paper, soap, paper towls and other important items are available.

Servers expect 15 to 20 percent of the pre-tax amount of the bill (not including the wine). Leave 5% more If you feel your server did an excellent job, if you stayed for a considerable amount of time or if the restaurant is of the "fine dining" kind.

If a Sommelier is involved in the selection and in the serving of the wine, he or she should be tipped 15 to 20 percent of the wine bill. 

Guidelines for Tipping in Restaurants

The Quebec law states that:

Any gratuity or tip paid directly or indirectly by a patron to an employee who provided the service belongs to the employee of right and must not be mingled with the wages that are otherwise due to the employee.”

And, the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la santé tu travail, the CNESST states that:

"An employee who receives tips has the right to freely and voluntary consent to participate in a verbal or written tip-sharing arrangement. Plus, an employee hired in an establishment where a tip-sharing arrangement already exists is required to take part in the arrangement."

Montreal Tipping Standards

Buffet: Nothing, unless a waiter delivers the food, then 10 per cent or $1 per person. For the drink server: $1 to $2.

Counter service: 15 to 20 per cent. Tipping on takeout is common not the norm, but one should tip at least 10%.

Delivery person for individual home food delivery: 5% to 10% of the total bill. Delivery person for large corporate food delivery: 15% of the total bill. 20% if the person is required to handle unloading of the food and setting up the entrees.

Server at a partial service restaurant: 10% of your total bill. Use discretion based on how much the server is expected to do for you.

Take Out: If the restaurant features carryout meals, 10% or $1 to $2. If the restaurant is typically only a sit-down location, tip at least 15% for the effort.

Montreal TOURISM Kit
Tipping in Restaurants by Rachel Louise Barry

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