Several Toronto restaurants eliminating tipping, adding mandatory gratuity

Aug 17 2020, 8:33 am

Several Toronto restaurants have eliminated traditional tipping and added mandatory gratuity to lessen the blow to the service industry due to COVID-19.

Three restaurants, Burdock Brewery, Richmond Station, and Ten have all publicly shared how they’ve changed the way their staff receive tips, and added an 18% hospitality fee.

The service industry has struggled the stay afloat during the pandemic as many closed their doors for good in Toronto, however, others are finding ways to ensure their staff is taken care of during these hard times.

Burdock Brewery issued a statement on August 7 after opening their patio to the public, sharing the news that they’ve changed how their employees get compensated.


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“We’re going hospitality included for several important reasons: to provide a predictable living wage for our servers and kitchen staff during these unpredictable times, to avoid the race and gender prejudices that often come with tipping, and to limit back and forth with credit card machines for a safer patio experience,” said Burdock Brewery.

Burdock isn’t the only restaurant that shares a similar sentiment.

Richmond Station shared that due to the pandemic and financial aid packages offered by the government, they noticed a gap between “workers with fully insured wages and benefits from those employees working in industries entrenched in tipping culture.”

Their new model will have customers see a price increase of 18% and the additional revenue will be given to the employees.

“All this is to say, as staff return to work in a pre-vaccine/post-lockdown era, we are confident that their increased pay rates will match what they would have made with cash gratuities, accepting that business volumes at present are significantly down,” said Richmond Station in a statement on their website. “As customers become more comfortable dining out and capacity restrictions decrease on the advice of health officials, the restaurant will see a return to pre-COVID business levels, and wages can rise as we get there.”


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Ten has also followed suit in the 18% increase and will be charging the service fee onto each table, which will go towards back and front of house employees.

“We have also decided to eliminate tipping and will be charging a untaxed flat 18% service charge onto each table. This service charge will be split evenly between our BOH and FOH,” said Ten.

The goal is to ensure service employees are able to stay afloat during these unprecedented times.

As for the recent additions, the three restaurants have made the changes effective immediately.

Karen DoradeaKaren Doradea

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