tipping toronto

People tipped way more in Toronto after the pandemic hit new data shows

With no extravagant evenings out at restaurants, tipping in Toronto could have gone two ways.

People could have decided that since they weren't getting any fancy friendly service, they wouldn't leave any fancy-friendly-level tips. Or they could choose to see an industry and its people in crisis, and decide to do something about it.

New data shows they chose the latter route.

Toronto residents seem to have been feeling more generous during the pandemic and opted to tip more for takeout meals.

Data gathered from Toronto restaurants using Square, a financial services and technology company, indicates customers started increasing their tips early in the pandemic, Square economist Felipe Chacon tells blogTO.

Normally people tip more when dining out and getting table service, Chacon says. But when lockdown orders started, all tips were for takeout orders and Square saw those tips increase. Tips went from an average of around 16.5 per cent in early March 2020 to 18.9 per cent in mid-April.

In Toronto, averages increased to nearly 20 per cent in the summer, with certain days reaching up over 22 per cent, but have since fallen down to around 18 or 17 per cent, Chacon says.

Median numbers also increased in Toronto — from about 15 per cent in the spring of 2020, then jumping to 18 per cent after May 2020.

"The fact that the median tip went up tells me that just people, in general, are tipping more, it's not just being driven by high tippers," Chacon says.

The data comes from several hundred businesses in Toronto, he says.

Lead photo by

Fareen Karim


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