tipping toronto

Toronto bakery chastises affluent customers for complaining about tip policy

A Toronto bakery that already has two locations has run into an unexpected issue at their latest spot in an affluent community: people are upset about being verbally asked if they want to tip.

You'd think pockets would be deepest at the newest Bayview location of Craig's Cookies, but it turns out some tempers are the shortest. Lineups that can reach 50 people long with a two-person limit in the store at a time are resulting in some frustrated people reaching the cash register.

Hi beautiful neighbours! Craig here from Craig’s Cookies. I wanted to thank so many of you for your kindness and support of our third location. Most of you have been absolutely incredible. I’m hopping on here to plead with some of you on behalf of our staff to please stop bullying and harassing us over our gratuity policy. You don’t have to tip if you don’t want to. Truly ❤️ If you have questions over our policy please reach out to info@craigscookies.com This policy will be in effect until the pandemic is over. You have made our staff cry, upset and sad. We have never experienced this at our other two locations in Parkdale and Church Street. We do not tolerate gossip or bullying of any kind. That being said, BRING IT ON if you choose to. We lead with love and kindness and will meet your bullying with compassion. But please, let’s all be human. With cookie love, Craig . . . @churchwellesleyvillage #TO_finest #craigscookies #torontofoodie #yum #yyz #gaybaker #tasteofto #tastetoronto #torontolife #torontocookies #gaytoronto #torontogay #tofoodies #instafood #toronto @blogto @torontolife @tastetoronto @parkdalelife @parkdalevillage @huffpostqueervoices @huffpostcanada @huffpost @ctvtoronto @doordash @bayviewleasidebia

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Owner Craig Pike says that they used to have a POS system with the typical option to tip before the transaction is completed. Since the pandemic, they've made all stores touch-free zones where the only thing customers handle is their cookies. The POS is now near staff, with a tap reader six feet away. 

Staff are now trained to ask whether customers would like to leave tips at all locations, letting them know it's not mandatory and to say "no problem" if they choose not to tip. The only concern at any other locations has been one customer asking why the change had been made.

The Craig's Cookies Bayview location has only been open about two weeks, and within the second week Pike became aware that his business was under attack on online forums for the tipping policy, and that people were slamming his products in response.

Pike, used to complaints as a seasoned business owner, logged on to explain that the policy is for everyone's safety and that no one has to feel pressure to tip. He received a mix of support and complaints in return, but it wasn't long before people visited in person to yell their opinions at staff.

He told blogTO that the policy is to protect everybody, and that while he pays his staff above minimum wage they can still use every bit of help they can get at this time. Pike "kicked out the first person ever" who came in complaining about the long line, "yelling out cookies" in his order and saying he didn't understand what had taken so long.

Pike wants to remind customers that they might have to wait to ensure great service for every person, and hopes that if people in line see that the person ahead of them is getting great service, they'll realize that's what they're waiting for. Hopefully such great service is also worth a tip.

Pike emphasized that 95 per cent of customers at this new location have been perfectly pleasant. He says they'll return to a regular POS system "when the pandemic is over."

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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