Half of Albertans Do Not Tip At All After Bad Restaurant Service

For “average” service at a sit-down establishment, most residents would tip 10% to 14%.

Calgary, AB – Half of Albertans say there are circumstances in which food servers should not be tipped at all, a new Insights West poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, 49% of Albertans would tip “nothing” at a sit-down restaurant if the service was below average and the server was clearly not busy. An identical survey conducted by Insights West in British Columbia found that a third of British Columbians would not tip in the same situation.

A third of Albertans (32%) would leave a tip of 20% to 25% for exceptional service when a restaurant is exceptionally busy. For service perceived as “good” when the restaurant is busy, a plurality (43%) would leave a gratuity of 15% to 19%. For “average” service, 45% of Albertans would tip 10% to 14%.

A majority of Albertans leave no tip in snack restaurants where they take their food to go (69%), restaurants where they order and pick the food up themselves (59%) and cafeteria-style restaurants (53%). Two-in-five (42%) never tip at coffee shops.

When picking up food to go, seven-in-ten Albertans (71%) say they tip nothing. When food is delivered to their home or office, 41% offer a gratuity of 10% to 14%, but 12% give no tip at all.

While three-in-four Albertans (76%) believe that food servers nowadays simply expect a tip, but don’t work hard to earn it, two thirds (65%) agree that food servers cannot get by on their salaries alone and it’s important to tip them.

Three-in-five Albertans (60%) acknowledge that if the salaries of food servers were better, there would be no need to leave tips. In addition, one-in-five (20%) think that food servers deserve a tip in all circumstances, even if service was bad.

“Baby Boomers in Alberta are definitely harder to please at a sit-down restaurant than their younger counterparts,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs, at Insights West. “Three-in-five Baby Boomers would leave no tip if they believe service was below average at a restaurant that was not busy.”

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary.

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from May 15 to May 18, 2017, among a representative sample of 602 Albertan adults. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 percentage points. View the detailed data tabulations.

For further information, please contact:

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West