New Brunswick — Here’s a tip: don’t pay your waiters and waitresses terrible wages. In a surprisingly forward-thinking move, the provincial government has raised the minimum wage specifically for restaurant and bar staff to $17/hour. There is one caveat — they are mandating that customers are not prompted for tips, or given foul looks if they don’t leave a tip; in essence, it’s a “tipping ban.”
The new ruling comes as a result of Premier Brian Gallant’s recent evening at East Side Mario’s in Fredericton. Gallant says that his waitress really didn’t go above and beyond the call of duty, and he didn’t want to leave a tip. Unfortunately for Gallant, societal expectations and pressures guilted him into leaving a $3.50 tip on a $20 restaurant bill.
“Here’s the thing — she was already being paid to do her job. Why should I tip her? I don’t get tips to do my job,” explained Gallant at a press conference. “I know, I know, her pay probably sucks. But with this new ruling her pay won’t suck. And she better not expect a tip if she serves me another bread roll with a hair on it.”
Waiters and waitresses will also now be mandated access to health insurance through their employer, unionization if they so desire, as well as company retirement savings plans and scholarships. In turn, the staff are being given instruction on not feeling entitled to tips for doing the bare minimum that is required of them.
“I don’t know how I feel about this yet; I guess we’ll just have to see whether I make more or less money. Weekend shifts or Wednesday app night shifts could land me $100 in tips on a good night, but sometimes I’d have dud shifts where I’m making the basic minimum wage,” mused Audrey Simmonds, a fourth-year philosophy student at St. Thomas University.
“I hope it does work out, but I’m worried I’ll miss out on potential big nights, like a wedding or birthday party. Those always have to tip well.”
Many New Brunswickers are relieved that their $12 supper will stop ending up as $18, but as is always the case, some people aren’t happy.
“This is terrible for small businesses — we can’t afford to pay our staff this much,” spouted an irate Jesiah Parsons, owner of The Food Factory in downtown Bathurst. “There’s a point where they only want us to exist to make money for these ungrateful waitresses. I started this business to make money for myself.” When The Manatee reporter pointed out that a single meal would likely cover the cost of a staffer’s wage for one hour, and selling multiple meals and drinks would cover even more, Parsons ushered the reporter out of the restaurant with a broom and a pamphlet for Margarita Monday.