Tipping Standards

Success in accommodation, food services and tipping standards is dependant on favourable economic conditions both here in Montreal and elsewhere in the world. A success that leads people to eat out in restaurants, to travel and to use accommodation services.

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Best Tipping Standards

Bar Tab. 15% to 20% or $1 per drink. If you are having a drink at the bar, settle up with the bar attendants before you move to your dining table. If the bar has a cover charge, don't tip on it. For free drinks tip $1 to $2 per round.

Bartender. 15% to 20% or $1 per drink. If at the bar before a meal, settle up with the bartender before you go to your table. If a bar has a cover charge, you do not tip on it.

Breakfast Included. Estimate the value of the meal by looking at the menu or make your own estimate. You then should tip 15% to 20%.

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Busboys. Nothing unless he or she acted as a beverage attendant or did something extra special like cleaning up a mess. Then tip $1 to $2.

Counter Service. Sushi counter, coffee and food counters usually have a tip cup next to the cash register. Spare change and a smile are always appreciated.

Coat Check. $1 to $2. 

Cocktail Server. 15% to 20%. For free drinks, tip $1 or $2 per round. 

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Double Time. If you hold a table for two serving periods, make sure you tip double and ease the server's mind by telling him or her about this half-way through. 

Drive Through. Nothing.

Hotel Room. When breakfast is included in the price, estimate the value of the meal by looking at a menu.

If there is no breakfast menu with prices, consider the quality of the hotel and the price of an evening meal, then make your best estimate. Your tip should be 15% to 20% of your estimate.

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Maitre d'Hotel. Nothing, unless he or she gets you a special table or the restaurant is full and you had no reservation. Then tip $5 to $10. 

Musicians. In lounge, $1 to $5. If you make a special request, $5. Tip is optional if he or she just stops by and plays.

Restroom Attendant: $1.

Restaurant Server. Proper tipping is 10% for bad service, 15% for good service and 20% for great service. Tips are before taxes, but tipping on tax is OK too.

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Self Service. Nothing in restaurant or buffet unless there is some service. Tip 10% to 15% if the server delivers all or part of your meal and keeps your drinks refilled.

Separate Checks. Ask the server to go ahead and add a tipping percentage of 15% or more to each check.

Take-Out. If you get good service, that is if the counter attendant gets and packages your food, then tip $1 to $2 or up to 10%.

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Teppanyaki Chef: 15% to 20% of the total bill and the gratuity will be split among the wait staff and the chef.

Teppanyaki being a Japanese style of cooking. Diners are seated around a flat-top grill while the meal is prepared and the chefs show off their seasoned and often flamboyant culinary skills.

Waiter. 15% to 20%.

Wine Steward. 10% on the wine is perfectly acceptable and 15% depends on how helpful the wine steward was in choosing the wine and in serving it.

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Food services and drinking places account for 85% of employment in our Accommodation and Food Services industry. This is one of the reasons why we put together a local tipping standards chart so people who rely on tips can earn the proper living they deserve. 

Montreal URBAN Kit
Tipping Standards by Rachel Louise Barry


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