Tipping Policies

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Here are a few tips about sources, subject headings, and strategies that you may want to start with. Note that these tips are just a start: think broadly about the sort of information you need and about who might have that information (government/association/academic/news/etc.).


Articles in journals, magazines, and newspapers

A. Try searching in Business Source Complete using various combinations of such terms as:

Tips & tipping (Gratuities) Restaurant personnel Minimum Wage
Food industry wages Wages -- Restaurants Restaurant customer services
Hospitality industry Employee retention Employee motivation
Start with this rough exploratory search in Business Source Complete.
Tips:
  • Don't focus just on scholarly articles. Business Source also covers such industry magazines as Nation's Restaurant News and Restaurant Hospitality that may have useful news articles on this topic.
  • Don't just focus on the word "tips" or "tipping." Think more broadly about the end goals: How can a restaurant attract and retain employees? What can a restaurant (and customers) do to ensure a consistently high level of customer service? How about the hospitality industry in general, or any industry that employs many low/minimum wage workers?


B. Also search for articles on tipping, consumer behavior and employee motivation in...


C. Don't focus on just recent articles! Older ones may have some useful perspectives, plus you can often check to see who has cited those articles since they were published... a useful trick to use older research to find related newer research!

  • And this 2013 non-academic article from Slate -- What Happens When You Abolish Tipping -- links to some interesting research which is, of course, even older! However, you can look up the titles of some of those older research articles in Google Scholar and find out what newer research articles have cited them since they were first published. For instance, the Slate article mentions this 2003 article... which has been cited almost a 100 times since it was written.


D. For more of a Canadian perspective, try CBCA Complete and look for articles using the same terms (as keywords rather than subjects) that you used in Business Source Complete. Also try Canadian Newsstream for Canadian newspaper articles. For international news, try Factiva

  • Here's a rough exploratory search in Canadian Newsstream to get you started. Although news articles aren't the results of peer-reviewed research, they might help you identify key researchers & studies, examples from real firms, as well as relevant issues that you'll need to explore further in your research.
  • Still with news, many industry news magazines and blogs are free online and may have articles that touch on aspects of this topic. For example...


Books

A. I haven't seen any books that were wholly focused on this topic, but many of our books/ebooks might provide a broad overview of the restaurant or hospitality industry and perhaps of labour trends and minimum wage arguments. Start by searching the SFU Library catalogue using some of the same terms you tried in your Business Source Complete searches. Here's a rough exploratory search to get you started.


Other resources

A. Try generating a report for restaurants in the Government of Canada's Financial Performance Data Tool for a sense of the average revenue and expenses (including labour) for Canadian restaurants.

And to learn more about the Canadian restaurant industry overall, check IBISWorld for reports such as:


B. Industry associations often have articles and reports on issues that affect the entire industry. See, for example, Restaurants Canada for information on the changing legal environment around tipping in different provinces. Or try the (US) National Restaurant Association, especially their "issues" page on Wages & Tipping -- that's where I found this (now archived) official response to this Economic Policy Institute study on tipped wages in the US.


C. The reference to the Economic Policy institute above got me thinking about the value of think tanks for this sort of topic. Try this search engine that covers hundreds of think tanks. (My exploratory results.)

Similarly, try our new Policy Commons database to search for reports by think tanks and research institutes around the world. Focus on terms such as "subminimum wage" or restaurants and wages.


D. The term "living wage" may come up in your research. Look here for an overview of this concept, and here to learn about the City of Vancouver's actions on this topic. And look here for details on other living wage initiatives throughout BC. (That last link is to an archived site. The content is being moved to this new site. Check the new one later this term to see if it's been updated and expanded as planned.)

  • And if you really want to explore the Living Wage concept further, check out this guide from a BUS 360W class that researched that topic a few years ago. (Some of the links in that guide may be old/broken.)


E. CBC's Marketplace show included a segment a few years ago on how some Ontario restaurants were altering the tip-out formulas for their staff, allegedly in response to Ontario's planned minimum wage hike. I'm not sure it will have any useful facts for your case research, but you might learn more about the intricacies of how tips are collected and shared in restaurants, as well as about how tips fit into the overall compensation of restaurant workers.

More recent items from CBC have talked about changes in tipping since the pandemic. The tipping landscape seems to be changing quickly in our almost-post-pandemic world!...

CBC Radio's "Cross Country Check Up" show focused on tipping on Sept. 18, 2022 (i.e., this semester!). For those who don't know it, Cross Country Check Up often raises current issues, then mixes discussions with experts with comments from people who call in.

  • Pay special attention to any experts who are quoted and search elsewhere for more on their work.
  • Also listen to the experiences of the callers: are there issues or perspectives that you hadn't considered? Make notes and use the other sources on this guide to research those issues!


F. The following post is non-academic, but I see that they link to many studies and news stories. Follow those clues!


G. Our Canadian Points of View Reference Centre database looked at this topic in 2016. Some of the information is now getting a bit old, but it can still be a great source to start with! Check out their Overview of the topic, as well as their short Point and Counterpoint essays, as well as their brief Guide to Critical Analysis for this topic.


H. Public Opinion Polling firms sometimes touch on topics such as tipping, and many of them provide detailed data tables with a question-by-question breakdown of responses. See, for instance...


I. Just for fun (probably not useful for your research!)... did you know that the UK government debated a Bill in 1936 to ban the acceptance of tips in hotels and restaurants?


J. Here's a fairly recent Canadian report on tipping in restaurants from the Agri‑Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie. See also their report on Restaurants post‑COVID‑19.


<No further suggestions yet - but keep checking. Also, don't forget that this is your wiki: you are welcome to add any tips here whenever you'd like. --- MB>