tipping toronto

This is how much you should really be tipping in Toronto

Tipping etiquette remains a highly-debated and confusing part of dining for many people in Toronto, and there still is no real consensus on how much to tip in different dining situations. 

Recent studies on tipping in Canada have presented conflicted findings, so I decided to ask an unconventional source for guidance.

What artificial intelligence thinks about tipping

ChatGPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) is a chatbot launched by San Francisco-based OpenAI in November 2022. The chatbot can be used for natural language processing tasks such as text generation and language translation. 

It also has the ability to generate human-like text responses and interacts with you in a "conversational way." 

Known for its consistently detailed responses across many areas of knowledge, ChatGPT has gained lots of attention and is frequently unavailable for use due to its high demand. 

The dialogue format also makes it possible for the chatbot to answer follow-up questions, admit its own mistakes, challenge incorrect premises, and even reject inappropriate requests.  

It's important to note that the chatbot only has access to information up to 2021, so its responses may not be truly reflective of current trends.

I previously asked ChatGPT to name some of the best and worst things about Toronto, and to give me real estate advice. I decided to switch gears this time and pose several tipping-related questions to see what it had to say. 

Here are the answers ChatGPT gave to the following questions.

How much should you tip in Toronto?

In Toronto, it is common to tip 15-20 per cent at a restaurant, and around $1-2 per drink at a bar. Tipping hotel staff, hairdressers, and taxi/ride-sharing drivers is also expected, at a rate of $1-5 per service.

Keep in mind that these are guidelines and the amount you choose to tip may depend on the level of service you received. 

How much should you tip for takeout food?

It is not as common to tip for takeout food as it is for sit-down service at a restaurant, but it is still an option. It's generally expected to tip 10-15 per cent for takeout orders, but it's ultimately up to you to decide what you feel is appropriate.

However, if you received exceptional service or the staff went out their way to accommodate your order, you may choose to tip more.

It is worth noting that many restaurants have been struggling due to the pandemic, so if you are able to, consider tipping more to help support them. 

How much should you tip on Uber Eats and Doordash?

When ordering food delivery through a service like Uber Eats or Door Dash, you will have the option to add a tip for the delivery driver. The recommended tip amount is typically around $5, but you can adjust the tip amount to whatever you feel is appropriate.

Keep in mind that delivery drivers rely on tips as a significant portion of their income, so if you received good service, it's a nice gesture to tip more. 

It's also worth noting that you can add tip amount after the delivery is completed, so if you're not sure how much to tip at the time of ordering, you can always adjust it later.

Why should you tip more at restaurants than other services like ride sharing? 

Tipping more at restaurants than other services like ride sharing is a common practice because the cost of providing service at a restaurant is typically higher than for other types of service. 

When you dine at a restaurant, servers have to take your order, bring your food, check on you throughout the meal, and clear your dishes. They also have to handle payments, make sure the table is set correctly, and sometimes even make recommendations for menu items.

All of these tasks take time and effort, and servers typically earn a lower base wage than other types of workers, so tips are a significant part of their income. 

On the other hand, ride-sharing drivers only have to pick you up and drop you off. They don't have to provide additional services like food service or handling payments. Additionally, ride-companies typically pay drivers a higher base wage than traditional taxi companies, so tips aren't as important to their income.

Do people tip more in Toronto than they do in other cities?

Tipping customs can vary by country and region, so it's difficult to make a direct comparison between different cities. However, generally speaking, Canadians are known to be more generous tippers than Americans.

The standard tip for good service in Canada is usually around 15 to 20 per cent for restaurants, and around $1-2 per drink at a bar, while in the US it's usually around 15 to 20 per cent in restaurants and $1-2 per drink at a bar as well.

It's worth noting that while tipping customs may be more generous in Canada, the cost of living in Toronto is also higher than many other cities, so the tip amount may need to be adjusted accordingly. 

Why do some places in Toronto give a minimum 20 per cent tip option?

Some places in Toronto may give a minimum 20 per cent tip option for convenience or to encourage customers to tip more. This can be especially true for places with a higher volume of customers, such as large restaurants or bars, where it may be more efficient for servers to have a set tip amount.

It's also worth noting that some places, particularly those that are focused on providing exceptional service, may have a higher minimum tip option because they believe that their service warrants a higher tip.

Additionally, places may offer this option to help the staff, as they may have been impacted by the pandemic and this can help them to compensate thew lower wages. 

It is ultimately up to the customer to decide how much to tip based on the service they received. 

Although many of the answers the chatbot provided were surface-level and common sense, its detailed responses and ability to answer follow-up questions explain its popularity among people looking for advice or recommendations. 

Lead photo by

Fareen Karim

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