Tip shaming | Should we be ashamed of the tip we give?

A customer leaves a restaurant after an evening that he thought was pleasant, until, surprisingly, someone sent him a post that went viral on social media. The waitress to whom he left, according to him, a more than reasonable sum, publicly humiliates him for having given “only 10%” of a tip.

Shaming customers who don’t tip generously enough, called tip shaming in English, is increasingly denounced on the public stage and is seen less and less. You just have to search for the keywords “tip+shame” to realize how this phenomenon is growing and that the debate is raging.

The phenomenon began when the pandemic returned, in the United States, when servers began to publicly denounce customers who left the restaurant without leaving “a minimum of 20% tip”.

“I hate Europeans,” for example, wrote the waitress @madison.tayt, originally from New York, on Twitter, “they left a 10% tip1 whereas here, it’s 20%.” His publication caused a huge reaction and said waitress was reprimanded so much that the tweet was deleted. People online told him to “blame the culture, not the customers” and that “$70 on a $700 bill was a good tip for bringing a few plates to a table.”


Just a few years ago, tipping was generous, especially when the pandemic returned to encourage restaurant workers who had suffered.

Another waitress, @tamela.anderson on TikTok, also shared with her followers a tipped bill of around 10-15% which she said should have been 20%. The disparaging comments did not take long: “Tipping is not obligatory”, reminded one Internet user, “you should blame the (restaurant) sector, not the customers”, pointed out another.

More discreet in Quebec

In Quebec, the phenomenon also exists, but is more discreet: dissatisfied servers will express themselves on their personal Facebook page or in private groups of industry workers. Regardless of the means used, servers no longer seem to have much sympathy among the general public and those who try to shame customers are increasingly seeing their tactics backfire. Most publications of this type are quickly withdrawn, failing to find the support initially sought.

However, just a few years ago, we were generous when we offered tips, especially when the pandemic returned to encourage restaurant workers who had suffered from it. From now on, tipping fatigue seems widespread and well established in society. Customers feel guilty about never leaving enough tip, especially since the tipping functions on the terminal display a minimum of 18%.

We have definitely reached the limit. With inflation, the average restaurant customer’s bill has exploded, and the customer’s ability to pay is increasingly limited. As an industry, we have to ask ourselves: would we rather have 20 tables that will tip 20% or 30 that will offer 15%? Because you can’t have everything!

Laurent Godbout, chef and restaurateur

“In Quebec, tipping 15% in restaurants has always been the norm. But our 15% is added to the total bill, which already includes 15% taxes. The customer therefore finds himself paying 30% of the price of his invoice, which is enormous. Restaurants that have recently modified their terminal to offer tipping options of 18%, 20% or 25% are in fact asking the customer to add 40% of fees to the total of their bill,” summarizes the chef.

Indeed, the culture of tipping in the United States, where taxes are lower, seems to have quietly made its way to Quebec. Payment terminals have subtly changed their options in many restaurants across the province. The 15%, 16% and 18% have become 18%, 20% and 25%, which creates discomfort for the client who feels obliged to leave more than he would like.

Submit the invoice to the customer

Robert Dion, editor of the specialized magazine HRI Mag which is aimed at catering professionals and who is interested in the issue, is very sharp on the culture of tipping. “It no longer makes sense!” he says. I have been campaigning for a long time for a solution. We pushed the increase in wages, then inflation, into the customers’ hands, but we can’t blame them for that, otherwise we’ll lose them. »

He reminds us that, although the American culture of tipping, “the famous 20%”, has arrived in Quebec, we do not have the same economic reality as our neighbors to the South. “In Quebec, the minimum wage is $15; in the United States it is around $9. We can’t just say, “They’re doing this in the United States, let’s do the same thing.” »

According to him, the limit has been reached and restaurateurs will not have the choice to withdraw, and waiters will have to accept that 20% tip is not the norm.

A recent survey, relayed in HRI Magalso indicates that 62% of Canadians left a higher tip1 than desired in 2023 only because they felt forced to do so by being offered the terminal options. “The survey results clearly demonstrate that merchants’ tactics to encourage consumers to tip more are working, but they risk alienating their own customers in a context where we are all trying to adapt our budgets to inflation. »

Consult the text of Daily Mail (in English)

View the survey

reference: www.lapresse.ca

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