There has been considerable discussion around the ownership of gratuities left in restaurants. Recently, two high profile media stories reported servers complaining about having to pay the house a share of their tips. There is also a Private Member’s Bill in Ontario that would forbid restaurants from taking any share of tips from servers. The challenges that gratuities pose for managers and the policies that deal with these challenges is a subject of ongoing research at the University of Guelph Sustainable Restaurant Project (UGSRP). It is important that this particular issue not be oversimplified and be considered in a broader context before judgment is passed.
The majority of restaurants have some form of mandatory tip sharing or pooling with other staff members. The amount that is shared and the staff who it is shared with varies by restaurant and has generated significant interest in both the industry and the media.. The discussion document linked below is intended to provide an overview of the evolution of the practice of tipping and foster a discussion of the broader context of that it occurs. This is a complex issue without simple answers or solutions and regulators, managers and others should not rush to judgement. This is part of an ongoing research project we are undertaking and we will have more detail at a later date.