Montreal restaurant ditches tipping to raise employees' wages

Patrons at a restaurant in Montreal's Mile End neighbourhood can put their calculators away when they get the bill for their meals, as tips will no longer be accepted.

Larry's on Saint-Laurent Blvd. says the concept is to offer stable wages to its employees at a time when things are uncertain.

Starting Monday, expect higher prices on the menu: 20 per cent more for those dining in, and an extra 15 per cent if you're getting take out.

"Certainly if it takes out the discomfort of having to decide what the tip is as well," said one Larry's patron. "I'm all for it, it doesn't bother me. We know that we're going to be paying more anyway and I think it makes sense absolutely that we would have that included in the price."

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The owner said the COVID-19 pandemic brought so much uncertainty for the staff, bringing back staff meant providing a steady paycheque.

Staff will make between $18 and $40 per hour depending on experience.

Another aspect of the tip-less concept is to reduce the pay gap between servers and kitchen staff.

The Quebec Restaurants Association (ARQ) says the pay gap is a big issue, and that other restaurants have tried the no tipping policy, but that studies show it doesn't usually last.

"The problem is more that consumers don't do the split between the tips and the price of the meal," said ARQ communications officer Martin Vezina. "So when they are checking the price of the meal is increasing because you are including the tips in the price, they don't see as 'ah yes the tip is included.'"

Larry's owner said he's not looking to start a revolution, just to do what makes sense to his employees.  

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