Takeaway food | Hard to digest the “15% – 18% – 20%” trio


It’s crazy how a payment terminal can get us morally out of it just by showing these few characters: 15% – 18% – 20%. Especially when picking up a takeaway order at the restaurant or buying croissants at the bakery.

Posted at 6:30

Some terminals even go as far as offering the addition of an 18%, 20% or 22% tip.

Customers have reason to raise their eyebrows. Especially since the percentage is calculated on the amount after taxes. On an order of $ 50 ($ 57.49 including tax), a tip of 18% ($ 10.34) is then equivalent to 20.6%.

The problem is that we might find it exaggerated, we feel a little caught up. We are given the choice between three possibilities and it seems we have no others. Or, we are afraid of making a bad impression by giving much less than we are told, while we wonder if our discomfort is legitimate or if we are chicks like Séraphin. Hello guilt!

There’s nothing new about takeout orders, though. Nor in the tips, after all.

So what has changed?

First, the number of restaurants offering takeaway orders exploded with the pandemic when dining rooms were forced to close. We no longer collect just quick meals at the counter where there is a Styrofoam cup to collect tips in return. Now, the food offering is more varied and upscale, which comes with bills to match.

“The operators [de ces restaurants] they activated the flagship function on their terminals to help their employees abused by the pandemic and it was maintained ”, summarizes the spokesman of the Association Restauration Québec (ARQ), Martin Vézina.

Although the restaurants now operate without restrictions.

For some reason, this trend of suggested tips has spread to other types of businesses like bakeries and dairy bars.

At the same time, the pandemic has significantly increased card payments, even for a simple ice cream cone or loaf. So the “15% – 18% – 20%” jumps on us more often. And their dollar equivalent is steadily rising with frenzied food inflation.

As a consumer, Quebec Franchise Council president Xavier Chambon finds that “it’s a bit of a perverse way of presenting things,” remembering that “by definition, tips are for table service. However, some franchisee, he says, is imposed by their franchisor on a programmed terminal in a certain way.

The ARQ adds that the terminals are programmed by the payment companies that rent them, so that restaurateurs do not “necessarily have control” over the displayed percentages. This is how Quebecs come across the usual tips … in the United States.

Terminal provider Moneris says its customers can “tweak the tipping options” as they please.

Until the end of June, in fact, customers of the Versa restaurant, owned by Stefano Faita, in the Villeray district of Montreal, were offered a tip of 18%, 20% or 22% when ordering to take away. It hit 15%, 18% or 20%, because “we thought 18% was too much,” one manager told me.

Restaurateur Alexandre Brunet, creator of the Pizza N chainsOh 900 and Morso, also assures him that he can “program and decide numbers”. But terminals can neither tip the pre-tax price nor know whether a meal has been eaten in the dining room or is a takeaway order.


At Pizza NOh 900, customers rarely leave 15% when they get a pizza.

The good news is that tipping is never mandatory and the terminals allow you to make your own choices.

If you want to omit the tip, you can press the green button to skip this step, an unknown but effective trick. Several terminals also offer to enter a percentage other than those suggested or to enter a monetary amount.

Alexandre Brunet says it’s “very rare” on his premises for customers at the takeaway counter to drop 15%. “Most people enter an amount,” which doesn’t offend him, quite the opposite.

15% is when you get a service for an hour or two, that we bring you an appetizer and wine. It is a reward, not a gift.

Alexandre Brunet, creator of the Pizza N chainsOh 900 and Morso

At Madame Thaï, in Vieux-Longueuil, a manager notes that some “leave nothing, while others leave too much. It varies a lot. “In fact,” there is no standard yet. The standard is under construction “, underlines Martin Vézina, of ARQ, as the phenomenon is very recent.

Until then, feel free to use your judgment to determine a logical and reasonable amount, even if it means having to wait a little longer. It is never pleasant to swallow a bad account.


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