The Earls restaurant chain is causing a stir once again by eliminating tipping at a downtown Calgary location and replacing it with a mandatory 16 per cent “hospitality charge” for all customers.
Managers at the newly opened Earls.67 say the hospitality charge will be evenly divided among all restaurant staff, not just servers.
“We’re going to test it to see if it promotes teamwork, engagement and result in a better guest experience,” Craig Blize, vice-president of operations at Earls.67, told CTV Calgary.
It’s not unusual for restaurants across the country to automatically add a gratuity charge to bills for large parties. But at Earls.67, everyone from solo diners to large groups will be paying the 16 per cent surcharge.
The decision has received mixed reviews from customers.
“Why don’t they just pay their staff a higher wage? Why put it on the customer?” said one woman.
But others, including Earls.67 server Nike Fashola, say the hospitality charge is a great way to ensure that all restaurant employees are rewarded for their hard work.
With the distribution of the mandatory surcharge, Earls.67 employees will make between $16 and $24 per hour.
But one business etiquette expert says not everyone will be on board with Earls’ pilot project.
“I think they need to be prepared for some backlash from people who are not happy with having their tip be dictated to them,” Sue Jacques of The Civility CEO told CTV Calgary.
Earls recently made national headlines with a controversial decision to drop Alberta beef from its menu in favour of ethically-raised beef from the U.S. But swift backlash prompted the chain to admit it “made a mistake” and return to using locally-sourced beef.
Earls restaurant in Calgary replaces tipping with mandatory 16 per cent surcharge | CTV News