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Tipping Culture in Victoria BC--Advice from Canadians Please

My husband and I are driving up the coast from Southern California to Victoria, BC this spring, and I'm wondering if tipping customs in Victoria are similar to tipping customs in the US. Dining? Housekeeping in hotels? I would appreciate advice from Canadians.

Thank you.

Posted by
603 posts

Yes it is similar in restaurants and hotel housekeeping. I will say that more restaurants have increased the tipping ‘options’ to be 18%, 20%, 22% on the credit card terminals. If it is a more casual place I will choose the option to decide on my own tip and will do 10% or 15%. We are seeing requests for tips in bakeries (where coffee is also served) when buying a few baked items. There is a growing push back on both the amount of tip and the situation ie bakeries. So if you are receiving average service, by all means go with 10 or 15%. We have a reasonable minimum wage here so tips are not meant to make up for that although it is expensive to live in Victoria these days. I hope that helps a bit. Enjoy your journey; I have done that trip many times and it is lovely.

Posted by
1265 posts

Prices in B.C. have increased noticeably over the last few years. And so has the tipping expectation notwithstanding that the minimum wage has increased. Tipping "suggestions" on credit card have been as high as 30% at some places.

We definitely feel the tipping fatigue and have stopped tipping on most takeout/pickup orders rationalizing that the restaurant is saving by not paying for delivery services. Remember the days when you got a 10% discount for takeout?

Posted by
407 posts

Thank you for responding, Claire and funpig. Sounds like the tipping culture is very similar to what we experience here in southern California. I think we'll feel comfortable tipping like we do at home.

Posted by
9436 posts

10-15% is low for California in a restaurant w table service. 20% is the norm.
I was looking forward to reading more responses from Canadians in the BC area.

Posted by
407 posts

Susan--I was thinking more of the 18%, 20%, 22% options Claire mentioned as showing up on credit card terminals. Very much in line with what we see here in Southern California, and how we tip in a full service restaurant.

Posted by
4305 posts

I'm in Florida right now and have to say that one thing I enjoy at home is the server bringing the terminal right to me at the table to select a tip electronically and then tap. I've been here two days and both restaurants have taken my credit card out of my sight to swipe it and bring back a receipt for me add the tip and sign.

Posted by
7465 posts

@Allan, if you use Apple Pay with your phone, the servers won’t be able to take your payment method out of your sight.

Posted by
9436 posts

Leslie, good to hear. 18-22% is appropriate, not the 10-15% mentioned, i would think in Victoria.

That’s the thing though, some people tip below the norm, and we don’t know if a poster here is one of them. And why i was hoping for more responses. I used to be a server, so i’m sensitive to this subject.

Posted by
407 posts

Allan--another option is to look for a QR code on the table in some of the more casual places that allows you to order and pay on your phone. This option doesn't require Apple Pay or Apple Wallet which some places don't have the ability to process. You just enter your credit card number after placing your order.

Posted by
603 posts

Susan, my reference to 10-15% was very specific….a casual place; for example a bakery with beverages, sandwiches, where I take the food to a table to eat. Not much service but still acknowledging that there is some service. That is not the same as a sit down meal, with full service, where yes, 18-22% shows up on the terminal. We are quite aware of being supportive of the service industry but I don’t tip the same at Starbuck’s as a Michelin starred restaurant. (However, even with table service, if the service has been quite poor, then a reduced tip of 10-15% is likely more common than not). As of June 2024, servers will be paid the minimum wage of $17.40.

Posted by
9436 posts

Claire, i agree with you completely.

Posted by
189 posts

I live on Vancouver Island. If I’m eating in a coffee shop that serves from the counter on paper plates, I will maybe tip 10%, if that. We had a popular coffee shop in my community who had counter pick up on paper plates, and charged 50 cents for a paper cup to have water, as well as asking for tips on the cc machine. That didn’t go over well at all. Lost quite a few customers.

If I’m in a nice restaurant, with good food and service, I will pay 15-18%. As Periscope says, I won’t pay tips on tax. If I get take out from a place regularly (independent, not a fast food place) I’ll pay 10% because I know the people.

After the pandemic when tipping expectations skyrocketed, the head of the restaurant association was interviewed. He said if you don’t want to tip what is suggested on the machine, just keep hitting ENTER until you reach the screen that allows you to enter a %, an amount, or even no tip if you so choose. I won’t be bullied into tipping 20%.

Posted by
3249 posts

Some restaurants may also charge a blanket service charge for a party of 6 or more people, 18% last time we were out in a group.
In that case , that’s your tip, no need to tip more.
The whole tipping culture is out of control….just my humble opinion.

Posted by
407 posts

Many thanks to the Canadians that have answered my question. I do appreciate the expanded answers provided, and find that they are also in line with what we tend to do--tipping less at places where we order at a counter but the food is brought to the table, and still less where the entire transaction takes place at the counter. Just finished making all my hotels reservations for this trip and am really looking forward to it.

Posted by
4066 posts

You should also be aware that you will pay about 12 or 13 % per cent sales tax, combining the national and provincial taxes. I'm being vague because the amount can vary through circumstances. Combining the tax and a tip, say 15 per cent, suddenly your meal is almost 30 % more costly than the price stated on the menu.

Posted by
440 posts

Minimum wage in BC is going up to $17.40 an hour. Every employee is entitled to 4% holiday pay on top of that. This puts a full time worker at over $35000 a year salary. Not great, but nothing to complain about either. I'm now less likely to leave anything, but definitely not anything remotely close to the numbers thrown around in this post.