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Tips: companies are twisted arm

The trend of tipping is even more widespread than I could have imagined when writing my first article on this thorny topic that provokes both debate and annoyance.

Posted at 7:30 am

“Even my mechanic entered the tip into his payment terminal. During an oil change last week, I was surprised to find that I now also had to go through the “15, 18 or 20%” tip stage. It has no end,” Jean-Pierre wrote to me, exasperated I suppose.

Chloe went through the same thing when it came time to pay…a plumber.

“He gives me an Interac terminal to pay the bill for the first day of work. A good $2800. The famous tipping trio was shown. I was horrified! Of course, I refused to tip a worker for whom I was being charged $100 an hour. This is indecency! “You have to have the front, anyway.

Customers at a flower shop in Montreal’s Ahuntsic district are also offered tips, Pierre laments.

Many of you would like this often inconsistent spread to stop. Will we ever have to tip at McDonald’s, at the Rona Garden Center, and at the grocery store, where they serve us take-out meals there, too? Why not follow the example of other countries where tips are included in the price?

These are very legitimate questions, affecting both our portfolio and our values. Hence the debates on the subject. But no one has answers. One thing is certain, the labor shortage is causing all kinds of unexpected phenomena, including the multiplication of requests for tips from customers.

Give in to employee pressure

The president and co-founder of Mamie Clafoutis bakeries, Nicolas Delourmel, is very well placed to testify to this. He was harassed by his employees for a year, he told me. “I was not for that and I endured my end. But he had too much pressure from the employees. I had no choice but to set this up lately. Otherwise we would lose our staff. »


The president and co-founder of Mamie Clafoutis bakeries, Nicolas Delourmel, considers that the notion of tipping in Quebec is now distorted.

According to the businessman, “it’s not right” for tipping to become commonplace, especially at a time when retail prices are through the roof. Therefore, he wanted the “zero point” option to be as clearly indicated on payment terminals as the “% and $” options. “I absolutely wanted customers to see the zero, otherwise they would feel cheap! Because it presses. »

This commitment has kept employees happy, while offering an option for customers who no longer carry change. In fact, some had contacted the head office to express their desire to be able to tip electronically.

But this establishment in the nine branches of Mamie Clafoutis has not only made people happy.

It created a commotion that Nicolas Delourmel had not foreseen.

In the beginning, shop assistants aged 14 or 15 earned almost twice as much as bakers who have 30 years of experience and get up in the middle of the night. He created another problem. He was agitated.

Nicolas Delourmel, President and Co-Founder of Mamie Clafoutis Bakeries

For this reason, the employees who perform the service have agreed to give 30% of the tips to the team that makes the croissants and breads.

At St-Hubert, too, management ended up accepting during the pandemic that takeout and drive-thru employees receive tips to make recruiting and retaining staff easier.


Richard Scofield, President and CEO of Rôtisseries St-Hubert

“We don’t have a choice, otherwise people will work elsewhere,” says chairman and CEO Richard Scofield, specifying that the internal policy is “8% – 10% – 12% and no solicitation.” These employees “generally” share their advice with the kitchen team, which also makes kitchen jobs more attractive. Instead, those who serve at the tables do not share.

The problem is that the Labor Standards Law prohibits employers from imposing tip sharing. Therefore, the attractiveness of jobs behind the stove depends in part on the people who provide the service. The Québec Restoration Association expects a modernization of the law.

What status and what salary?

Many of you have asked me how much all these clerks who now have access to tips earn. Are they really tipping employees? If you knew, the decision to add 15% to the bill would be easier, you wrote me.

Verification done, cashiers are not, with a few exceptions, tipping employees.

From 1Ahem May, the minimum wage in Quebec is $14.25 and $11.40 for employees who receive tips. However, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to contract at these rates, which are the minimum allowed, and not the standards, say the restaurateurs. In short, the employees who serve you typically earn more than $14.25 per hour.

This does not mean, as some believe, that the tips they receive are not taxable. All Quebecers are required to report tips received, even in cash, to the tax authorities.

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