hospitality toronto

Toronto cafe and bike shop is raising prices to include gratuity

A Toronto cafe and bike shop is following the lead of several restaurants and raising prices to incorporate gratuity.

Fix Coffee + Bikes has implemented a similar initiative to Richmond Station, Ten and Burdock, all of which have axed tipping in favour of a hospitality included model. They actually got the idea from conversations with the chef at Richmond Station, who just so happens to be one of their regulars.

"Since the start of the pandemic, we have been inputting tip amounts to our payment terminal ourselves, to minimize contact at our walk-up coffee window," says Fix owner Fred Sztabinski.

"We realized that by bundling gratuities with the price of our goods, we can make purchases easier while supporting a steady livelihood for our exceptional team members."

hospitality toronto

The interior of Fix Coffee + Bikes, currently off limits for indoor seating. Photo by Jesse Milns.

Incorporating gratuities into the cost of items means a price increase of only about 40 to 75 cents per item, representing a 1o to 15 per cent gratuity which is passed on directly to staff.

"I've always been uncomfortable with the concept of tipping in food service both as a consumer and a business owner, it's just so unpredictable and somewhat arbitrary. Our staff's compensation is unpredictably altered based on a customer's generosity, or the customer's finances, and also the volume of our sales," Sztabinski told blogTO.

"Instead, we feel our staff should be compensated for the work they do. They are all amazing, valued members of our team, and we have confidence they will always ensure our customer’s experience is the best we can make it, they don't need to try and work for tips to achieve that."

Staff also had a wage increase of about 30 per cent along with the new gratuity system, which was launched at the beginning of November.

"It's been great for us as employees," says Fix's Coffee Bar Manager Luis Pereira. "It means a lot to work for a business that shows this kind of care for the people who make it run, and things are running even more smoothly now that the program is firmly established."

hospitality toronto

A hot drink from Fix Coffee + Bikes. Photo by Jesse Milns.

Feedback from customers has been great as well, resulting in positive comments both on Instagram and in person at Fix's walk-up window.

"The only people that are surprised when they visit us for the time are pleasantly surprised, and appreciative, especially if they have any history working in the service industry," says Sztabinski.

Fix was closed temporarily during the pandemic with staff members collecting CERB, pivoting to local bike delivery of coffee beans, baked goods, bike gear and booze.

"I think we're now proof about 1.5 months into this new system that it can be done, with really no disruption. I'm quite impressed how smoothly the transition went," says Sztabinski, who hopes many more restaurants and cafes will adopt a hospitality included model.

"We did hold a roundtable discussion, distanced of course, with our barista and kitchen staff to discuss the proposal beforehand, and seek feedback. We involved them in the decision. That is a bit risky though, could go either way. I think if you feel, as a business owner, it's a good idea, and you are transparent with numbers and how this isn't bumping or cutting wages, just evening them out and making them dependable, staff will see the merits."

Lead photo by

Jesse Milns

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