Skip to main content

Some Ontario restaurants are starting to adopt a tip-free dining model. Here's how it works


Some Ontario restaurants are beginning to adopt a tip-free model for their patrons by increasing menu prices -- something they say allows them to pay their staff more and retain them.

Barque BBQ, located at 299 Roncesvalles Avenue in Toronto’s west end, has a sign greeting customers when they enter, informing them they will not need to tip their servers

“We always felt like the tip model was on the way out, no matter what,” owner David Neinstein told CTV News Toronto Wednesday. “This is the right thing to do.”

Every employee at Barque makes at least $22.25 an hour in order to match Toronto’s living wage.

“It allows for stability and predictability of income,” he said, highlighting that, with this model, employees need not worry whether their income will be impacted by the unreliability of tipping.

“They get paid no matter what – doesn’t matter if it's a Tuesday or a Saturday night, you get paid the same,” Neinstein said.

The restaurant officially adopted the model on May 4, and Neinstein says it’s been a huge success so far.

“We developed the policy along with our staff,” he said. “Because that's the whole point – keeping a great team together.”

"Keeping staff is better for morale, it's better for talent, it's less expensive for turnover."

He even said they haven't received any complaints about the rise in menu pricing.

“That was the one thing I was most worried about,” he said. “In fact, we've had very little resistance so far. It's been very good.”

Another restaurant, Aiana located in Ottawa, Ont., recently adopted a similar model, asking patrons not to tip and instead raised prices.

“A salaried position normalizes and mainstreams our restaurant workers,” he said. “I strongly believe that it acknowledges that a restaurant job is not just a gig, it’s a career choice,” owner Devinder Chaudhary told CTV News Ottawa.

“For some of the guests, it’s a bit confusing, but that confusion lasts for about 15 seconds and it’s all very well received,” he said.

Going forward, Neinstein said he hopes more businesses adopt this model.

“The goal is to make this the norm,” he said.

“I expect, in the future, the government will make this policy and, unfortunately, it's companies like ours that have to do it now, but hopefully, [that] won't be necessary in the future.”

With files from Ted Raymond. Top Stories

Here's when your weight loss will plateau, according to science

Whether you’re shedding pounds with the help of effective new medicines, slimming down after weight loss surgery or cutting calories and adding exercise, there will come a day when the numbers on the scale stop going down, and you hit the dreaded weight loss plateau.

Stay Connected