The debate has been raging in Quebec for several weeks. Should tips be shared with chefs to attract and promote the profession? However, for Quebec Institute of Tourism and Hospitality (ITHQ) chief Liza Frulla, Quebec must proceed after consultation with the municipality.
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“It must move, must deflate the question! The stars are aligned, but we have to be careful when applying,” she said in an interview with Le Journal.
Currently, according to the Labor Standards Compliance Act, the tip is taken by the person who receives it from the customer, very often the server. The industry wants the government to change its legislation to allow tip sharing in all restaurants.
“It really needs to be discussed. If there is a division between whom is it? Not only the owners of restaurants, but also the cooks, the waiters, everyone needs to be consulted,” said the former minister.
Restaurants face a serious shortage problem that is even more evident in the kitchen. With inflation raising the price of meals and thus tips, the pay gap between several occupations has widened, making hiring more difficult.
According to Association Restoration Québec (ARQ) data, last year servers made an average of $35.92 per hour (including tips). For comparison, a chef earned $23.14 per hour in 2021 (see below).
“It’s not complicated, we don’t have people in the kitchen. If you are not treated well, why should you work in this field?” asks Ms. Frulla.
- Listen to Alexandre Dubé’s interview with Association Restoration Québec spokesman Martin Vézina on QUB radio:
The one who has been at the helm of ITHQ since 2015 can clearly see the problem of labor shortages, especially in the kitchen. She believes the quality of Quebec’s gastronomy is at risk if nothing is done.
“Recently I went to a great restaurant but the experience was not complete. The kitchen was a mess. Do you see that [à cause de] Because of the shortage, they hire almost everyone,” she notes.
In this context, restaurant owners also have a role to play in order to pay employees decent wages. “Sharing tips doesn’t relieve the restaurateur of the responsibility to pay their people.”
If the quality is right, Ms Frulla no longer hesitates to give 18% at the end of her meal and advocates increasing tipping in Quebec, as we see it in the United States.
“We took a trip to Stowe, Vermont. Tips are now 18-20-22%, we no longer offer 15%,” she said.
But if the price gets too high, is there a risk that customers will leave the dining rooms? “Of course there is a cost balance, but what worries me the most is quality. If the team isn’t up to the bill, people will stop going to the restaurant,” she concludes.
AVERAGE CATERING SALARIES
- Waiter/Waitress: $35.92/hr (tips included)
- Bartender/Bartender: $35.57/hr (tip included)
- Chef: $23.14/hr
- Kitchen help: $15.63/hr
- Diver: $15.07/hr
– Listen to Patrick Déry’s economic column with Sylvain Larocque at the microphone on QUB radio:
– In collaboration with Francis Halin