Cheap Canadians? Vermont Restaurants Add Mandatory Tips

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If the wait staff at some Burlington, Vt., restaurants can tell you’re an out-of-towner, expect to see an extra charge at the bottom of your bill. It’s the mandatory gratuity, usually adding on an extra 18 percent or more.

As tourists flock to Vermont, they bring with them different tipping customs — or worse, a stingy pocketbook, reports ABC News. To counteract $150 restaurant bills with only $1 left for tip, restaurants around town have started tacking on gratuity, customarily only added for large parties, to groups of any size.

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And in some restaurants, it’s up to the server to determine if you’re a generous local, a stingy foreigner or — even worse — a downright cheap Canadian. With Burlington within easy driving distance from Montreal, speaking French is a (near) sure tip-off to the server to be proactive if they want to see any tip come their way. Anne-Marie Humbert, originally from France but now living in the town next to Burlington, has been hit with mandatory gratuity charges at a local bistro and an Asian restaurant, just because she was speaking French, she told Vermont’s Seven Days. Waiters assume she’s from Quebec and pop the charge below the bill’s subtotal.

One Burlington restaurant owner told ABC that all foreigners have proven pretty cheap with tips when compared with Americans. But it’s likely just based on tradition. It isn’t uncommon in Europe for gratuity to be part of the final bill, leading some visitors to not even plan on adding a tip at the end.

But tip-aware Americans, like Humbert, who contest the add-on are typically able to get out of the addition, ABC reports, assuming they aren’t part of groups of five or more. While the visitors from the Great White North might argue they’re being discriminated against, restaurant servers claim that the bills have a printed suggestion of an 18 percent tip. Some servers, though, have turned that suggestion into a demand.

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23 comments
BjornSkis
BjornSkis

I live just south of Vancouver BC 2.5 million canadians  we only have a pop of 250K in our county we are out numbered by them

there is a simple reason canadians don't tip. THEY DON'T CARE!  They don't live here you don't know them so they don't care


Reasons for not tipping  " you should be happy were are just coming down here" " If not for us you would not have all you have here" yes I have heard it all.

canadians have a bad image in mexico or anywhere else they go as either low tippers or non-tippers.

The restaurant owners don't care that they don't tip because it does not affect their bottom line.

It's pretty simple folks they have no respect for you. Now that being said not all canadians are rude many are kind and polite and very good visitors.The good ones are embarrassed by the bad ones. 


Now one other point the way they drive down here because they don't care they cut you off change lanes

they also like to leave all the trash from shopping in the parking lots and carts.

I cant even shop at our local cost co look up bellingham Costco


well cheers folks it's simple they don't care  

dcappo
dcappo

Get shitty service = no tip

Decent service = Marginal tip

Good service = good tip

Simple

Mat Chapman
Mat Chapman

Where is the Nation Restaurant Association in all this? Oh yeah lobbying

to keep the wadges low so big corporate restaurants can keep profits

up. They are not educating the residents, immigrants, and visitors that

the server is only paid $2.14/hr and relying on their " generosity" to

live on. The hospitality industry is the largest employer in the US,

even larger than the government. Don't forget that the server does not

get 100% of their tips, typically 3% of their sales goes to the busser,

bartender, etc. So if a tip of 15% is given the server is taking home

12% minus 20% for taxes so they are taking home 9.6%. i.e $40 check and

an hour of work = $3.76. Let's end this antiquated system that

originated during the last depression. $2.14/hr has been the standard

for over 30 years.

Sanene
Sanene

In all fairness if there is a large party at a restaurant, or even  more than, say, four or six people,  the management of the restaurant should state clearly in writing on the menu that a certain percentage is required to be paid in addition to the cost of food as a service charge. This makes it clear what is expected. It is unfair for a wait person to spend all their time at the beck and call of a large party and be kept from the opportunity to make tips from other customers and then not be compensated extra for it.

However, in the case of a couple or a single patron at a restaurant, t I

would never stand still for a fraudulent scam such as the ones gleefully described by a servers in this article.Simply

because a server has decided how much extra  he/she THINKS they are worth, that does not give them the right to steal it from a customer by trickery. That is Fraud..  If a

restaurant customer puts up with it because they are too afraid to open their mouth and contront the employee, then they dont deserve any sympathy. 

I usually tips 15-20% and treat the waitperson courteously, BUT If a waitperson tried to scam me and write in a tip I did not want to pay or did not feel appropriate, the first thing I would be call the manager.  If there was no manager on the premises at the time, I

would scratch out the fraudulent amount the waitstaff had written in

and put a bunch of Xs in the space for tip or gratuity to emphasize I

will not be scammed. Scribble real hard so it can't be erased. When I got home I would write a letter of complaint to the

manager/owner of the restaurant and to the local consumer fraud office stating

what happened. If I was a local, I would write a letter to the local newspaper exposing the restaurant as allowing fraud to be committed on its premises.  If a credit card was used, I would contest the charge with the credit card company.  Apparently some

restaurant employees think they are being cute, as evidenced by the video accompanying this article,  but this is not cute it is Fraud, which is a crime, and

should be treated as such.  Anyone who tolerates this sort of fraudulent behavior and slinks out of the restaurant with their tails between their legs,  too embarrassed to stand up for themselves should not be surprised to be victims of fraud in this and in other situations.

 

Tucker13
Tucker13

Stay out of quaint diners with a large Earwig population. 

Jim Kittel
Jim Kittel

On a similiar note: for those locals who complain about automatic gratuities, they are in place to protect the server. Most people are unaware that most if not all chain restauraunts (Applebees, Outback, Carrabas etc) have a mandatory 3-5% tip out on ALL sales from the servers to the busboys and hostesses... What that means, is if you have a large party that runs up a 300 tab, where god forbid the kitchen messes up an order so you take "revenge" on the restaurant and leave no tip... then guess what? That poor server who is making 2.50 an hour has to pull 15 dollars out of her pocket to pay the house on that 300 tab. This is MANDATORY, Actually even more than Canadians this stiffing of tips most often happens with a party of African American descent, so often that it has coined the ironic PC slang of Dirty Canadians. IE: Ha Ha you just got another table of Dirty Canadians.... (My wife has been serving for 5 years in multiple states at Carrabas, Cheesburgers in Paradise, and Outback.) Anyways keep in mind the next time you want to be a disgruntled customer who you are really hurting when you stiff the tip because it doesn't affect the restaurant in the slightest bit.

jenniferherd
jenniferherd

My family and I visit Burlington, VT every year. We have friends in town, it's a great spot for shopping, is brimming with local culture and we always have a lovely experience when dining in the restaurants. I have many happy memories there since childhood, and am saddened to read this article and be automatically lumped in with those who are "cheap Canadians." (Yikes!)  We are regulars and tip generously wherever we go. 

I'm not kissing up here. But I promise you that I can't remember a time we had bad service and left a minimal tip at the end of the meal - in fact, I'm confident enough to say it never happened. Have you been to Ri Ra? The Vermont Pub? Their staff are among the friendliest I have met. The pedestrian area on Church street has such a happy vibe and the local folk are mainly very accommodating and kind to us.However, as one who has worked in the service industry in my day and age, I understand that, although servers generally don't make the best wage, a tip is meant to be a thankful gesture of good service and is NOT mandatory. Though I'm not convinced it's right to slap a gratuity on the bill according to whether or not a customer is foreign to the town. I'm sorry to hear Burlington's establishments have dealt with short-changers, but I can strongly assure you that not ALL of us are like that.I'm not from Montreal and cannot address whatever alleged nastiness is being applied to them in this article, but you know what? It doesn't sound very nice from MY perspective.I also see you're talking stats here. But please don't label us "cheap Canadians," considering what loyal customers many of us are to your tourism industry. Some of us put away good money to be able to afford to stay there for a couple of weeks and don't care to have that dampened by some snotty and downright prejudiced gratuity just because we're not from Vermont.Thanks, and have a wonderful day.

commentcomment21
commentcomment21

As a bar tender, I hear a lot of mixed reviews about tipping.  I am fortunate enough to work in a small local go-to bar that's always packed with regulars who tip generously.   But every now and then you hear someone complaining that they shouldn't have to leave a tip to someone who simply opened your beer bottle.  But this is why you should....

Consider the fact that the bartender has a lot of people to 'tip out' at the end of the night.  Sometimes house tip outs can run as high as 6% of your bar sales (although the norm would be about 4%).  Then once you've tipped out to the house you'll need to take care of your bar backs and sometimes bussers as well.  This can run about 2%, maybe a little bit more depending on how you did that night.  Anyways, as you can see these percentages add up.  I was recently asked to bartend a special event party, in which many people were American (and not just because I assumed they were but because they all used American money which we accept in Canada) I sold approximately $1200.00 in sales (which is a slow night) and had to tip out 6% in sales (approx $75).  I was left with $40 for myself and couldn't afford to take care of my bar back.  This is why 15% is ALWAYS the minimum you should leave for good service.

GoldenGir1
GoldenGir1

It's amazing how all those north US towns complain about cheap neighbors across the border, when they wouldn't have much business or customers to go off on without those Canadians. Every border town in US I've been to complain about the same thing - all those damn Canadians come and drive on our roads, cheap tippers etc etc

First of all, tip is based on quality of service - if it were mandatory charge, it should be built into the bill.

Secondly, if you are nationality or racial profiling customers and adding on the mandatory tip based on such profiling, possible discrimination lawsuit?

Third, All those businesses would go bankrupt or have very little customers if it weren't for the visitors that came from across the border who by the way pay sales tax when they shop or dine in the US - which goes towards the US government, not Canadian government, which are then used to fund all the public infrastructure. They are bringing business and foreign money - why are you b*tching so much? So greedy.

Cut the crap out and stop trying to take advantage of non-locals. It always is those tourist traps, and shady businesses that attempt to cheat me that ruins travel for me.

Bryant Glover
Bryant Glover

No your server is being paid less than minimum wage and most times do not even see a paycheck. The tipping system in the US sucks... I agree that we should be payed like a normal job, however that 10$ burger just turned into a 20$ burger.... 

Matthew Vonegidy
Matthew Vonegidy

I lived in Montreal and worked as a waiter.  Tipping is the norm there but it's not as extensive as it is here in the US.  The standard custom is to match the sales tax, federal and provincial, added to the total amount of the check.  At that time both taxes combined came out to 15% of the check, meaning if the total was $30.00, you paid 4.50 in sales taxes and thus $.4.50 was the proper tip.  Montrealers and other Canadians were mostly very good in following this rule.  However, the lady mentioned in this article is not Canadian, she's from France, where people do not tip in such high amounts.  The restaurant where I worked was located in the old part of the city and thus frequented by European tourists.  The staff was even told to write on the check by hand that the service was not included while waiting on foreign tourists.  Whoever wrote this article is lumping what looks like a French ex-pat, actually from France, into the same category of Quebecors and other Canadians, who always found to be very fair while I was living there.  

sayari10
sayari10

If Americans go overseas amp; don't follow local customs, we are called ugly Americans.

Lance Gregorchuk
Lance Gregorchuk

The word TIP is an acronym for To Insure Proper Service and it used to be paid upfront so the wait staff would do actually that. I find it presumtuous for someone to insure they get a tip for doing a crap job which if you have been to a resturaunt in Vermont you know it is coming; Slow service, cold food, wait forever to even get the check.  Plus from a legal standpoint you do not have to pay the person who served you 18% more then the price of the meal just because they say so, I would tell them to take it off the bill or call the police because it is extortion. 

RobertSF
RobertSF

If it's on the menu and added to your bill, you do have to pay it.

Salvadoru
Salvadoru

Walter responded I'm taken by surprise that someone can profit $5451 in one month on the network. have you seen this(Click on menu Home)

Jason Gordon
Jason Gordon

The 'I' does not stand for 'insure'.  Insure is defined as, 'an arrangement for compensation in the event of damage to or loss of (property), or injury to or the death of (someone), in exchange for...: "the car is insured for loss or damage'; while Ensure means, 'Make certain that (something) shall occur or be the case'.  It would then be shortened to TEP.

From a cheap Canadian. 

Fredbrillo1
Fredbrillo1

I live in Florida where we get ALOT of Canadian visitors in the winter season...thank God... they are wonderful and help support our economy... but.. we also joke about them....

What is the difference between a Canadian and a canoe??? Canoes TIP!!!

jody12
jody12

Having been around the world a time or three, There are different scenarios everywhere. Australia and NZ tipping not expected or given. Servers paid adequately. In the U.K. you buy the bartender a half pint if you are chatting. Europe usually has a service charge spelled out at the bottom of the tab of 12-15%. End of.

There is no way that a bartender deserves more than 5% for opening a beer cap, or twisting a screw cap, unless for over pour, local general info or good nibblie service.

Diner tipping is another tradition and can go as high as 25% or more . 

You must send your food back right away if it is badly prepared. A good waiter will get it sortedefficently.Complaining about it later at the pub doesn't cut it. For truly bad service or deliberate inattention give no tip. Instead write your genuine complaint on the bill and tell your waiter when handing over the bill.  

Service in the U.S is generally far better than in Canada.

Amitavo Mitra
Amitavo Mitra

adding a mandatory gratuity on a party of 5 or more makes sense, given the amount of work involved, which takes potential time away from other tables, and hence potential tips.

but mandating tips on a regular party of 2-3 based on their nationality is plain discriminatory and downright illegal.tipping is a courtesy, not a mandate. and if its a mandate, it should be printed loud and clear on the menu

Commentonitall
Commentonitall

I have waited tables and just like the stereotype portrayed in the movie Waiting, it's true.  But that is because like Bink said below foreigners don't realize servers only make 2.50 and hour at best, unlike in Europe where they get minimum wage and healthcare.  If there was a disclaimer for foreigners to read and understand how it works I am sure they would be more than willing to tip fairly.  On the other hand one time in Boston I was on a date in the North End in Boston.  They assumed because I was young that I would not tip well and added on the gratuity.  It was beyond insulting and ironically enough the tip I was going to leave was more than the 18% they already added in.  I complained and told them they just lost money because they made a judgement call that was unfair.  In the end I left 18% which was less than the 20% to 25% I normally leave because I have waited tables in the past and understand how tough it is.  It's a slippery slope, but $1 on a $150 meal, really?  Come on you cheap b@#$!@$s.

Bink Binkerson
Bink Binkerson

It's not some kind of evil cheapness with Europeans.  Nominal round-off tips are the norm, maybe 7-10%.   This is just because (brace yourself) the employees get paid a living wage, and get health insurance.    How f'ing Socialist can you get?   Awful.    People should be free to nurse chronic illnesses because they cannot go to a doctor.