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Jul 3, 2009 08:44 AM

How much do you tip in Toronto restaurants?

Out of curiosity, what do you normally tip at various restaurants in the city? It used to be 10-15%, now I believe 15-20% is the new standard. I've typically found 20% to be on the high side, unless the service is truly outstanding, but don't know if I'm alone.

For comparison, would your tip be different if you went to a casual place (ie. $20 per person), vs a formal place (ie. $100/pp) vs a really expensive all-in chef's menu (ie. $150+/pp)?

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  1. It really depends on the place. If it's somewhere I frequent every couple of weeks, it's at minimum 20%, all the way up to 40% depending on the service and what we've ordered. If it's at any chain, usually 15% - same goes for new restaurants.

    Always a penny and smiley face drawn on the bill for bad service, which is thankfully very rare, and confined to chains.

    1. Usually 20%, but it really depends on a number of factors... for example, tipping more if bringing your own wine.

      1. In my opinion 10% is absurd unless the service was really bad. 15% is still lowballing it a little, although adequate I suppose. I always tip out 20% (disclaimer-I know people in the industry, how hard they work and the bullshit they put up with sometimes). If the service is exceptional, I will go as high as 25%, but that's rare.

        If the service is truly horrific (as in rude) then I leave nothing. That's happened once or twice in Toronto. It should not matter whether the place is casual or upscale. Service is service, no matter where you are. That being said, the exception for me is to tip out extra for wine service in higher end establishments as well.


        1. Agree, I used to be a 15%er but now I generally tip the full 20% after taxes, or $2 on each $10, rounded up or down a bit depending on what denominations of cash I have. I tend to frequent the same few places over and over and the staff recognize me. I'm of the opinion that if you can't afford to tip decently you can't afford to eat out, or should eat out somehwere a bit cheaper. In general serving staff work very hard for low pay and they put up with a lot of crap. I hate dining with people who nitpick service looking for excuses to lower their tip. Ugh.

          However I do agree that in the case of absolutely horrible service (willfully negligent, insulting, rude, etc.) you shouldn't tip. But you can't just leave a tiny or no tip and leave anonymously. You need to communicate your displeasure (preferably politely) to the server or manager and explain why you are unhappy so they know what the problem was. If you say nothing and then rip them on the tip they will simply assume you are just cheap and then continue to give the same poor service to others. Nobody wins there.

          Thankfully, I rarely if ever receive that sort of terrible service. Usually if things are a bit slow or mistakes are made I can see that there's a reason, like a very packed and understaffed restaurant, so I try to be understanding and not hold it against my server.

          1. I'm curious if other diners are calculating the tip on the total food and drink cost, or the total after all taxes? I base the tip on the amount I spend BEFORE any taxes. I've also noticed that some places are calculating the tip and adding it to the bill even when there are only four or five diners. We typically tip from 15% to 22% of the pre-tax bill, but sometimes more.

            1 Reply
            1. re: foodyDudey

              I think the general rule is on the pre-tax portion (including drinks and everything). Not sure why you would tip someone on the tax that the government gets.