Calgary

Mandatory 16% tipping dropped by Earls.67 restaurant

Six months after the Earls.67 restaurant in Calgary adopted a mandatory 16 per cent hospitality charge, the company says it's returning to regular tipping.

Company tested the fee as a way to even out wage disparity between front and back-end staff

Six months after the Earls.67 location abandoned regular tipping in favour of a mandatory 16-per-cent hospitality charge, the company says the experiment has come to an end. (David Bell/CBC)

Earls restaurant on Stephen Avenue is going back to the old way of doing things.

Six months after the Earls.67 location abandoned regular tipping in favour of a mandatory 16-per-cent hospitality charge, the company says the experiment has come to an end.

Mo Jessa, the president of Earls Restaurants, says the company tested the fee as a way to even out the hourly disparity between front- and back-end staff.

"As the train moves towards the $15 minimum wage, it's creating a massive disparity between what the front of the house makes versus the back of the house," Jessa said. "It's going to become the industry's problem to solve."

But he says the experiment was received with mixed results from both customers and staff.

"There are people out there that strongly believe that tipping gives them this autonomy to decide what they want to leave for the server and it dictates their experience," he said.

Jessa says the industry needs to come up with new models to ensure a more equal distribution of pay among restaurant staff. 

The restaurant is expected to switch back to the regular tipping system on Feb. 20.