News / Edmonton

Millennials more generous tippers than 'hard to please' baby boomers: Alberta Survey

Though that doesn't mean they're better for business.

Flikr/Dave Dugdale

Albertans may believe in tipping—and often, tipping well—but there’s a generational divide when it comes to generosity, according to a new online survey from a western Canadian market research company.  

According to results released by Insights West on Tuesday, half of Albertans would tip "nothing" in a sit-down restaurant if the service was below average and the server wasn't busy.

But while that includes 39 per cent of millennials (aged 18 to 34) the number of baby boomers (defined as anyone over 55) who said they’d walk away without leaving a cent is 62 per cent.

"Baby boomers in Alberta are definitely harder to please,” said Vice President Mario Canseco. “It really caught our eye.”

He said they saw the same generational trend in both Alberta and B.C.

 “I think what we see here is millennial and Gen Xs have all been through that, we’ve all worked as servers at some point, and we tend to be more mindful of these things,” he said.

But he added that part of the answer to bigger tips from young people is likely technological.

Insights West

 “We’re using credit cards and debit cards now, and the machine prompts you to leave 10, 15, or a 20 per cent tip, and maybe you wanted to leave more or less,” Canseco said.

“It’s easier with machines, but it also forces people into doing it. We got some feedback, from people who said ‘I hate that the machine tells me where to start.’”

But millennials may not be the boon for business you might think, according to Jordan Beatty, the general manager of the Sherlock Holmes pub downtown. Boomers tend to have more disposable income, he said, and therefore rack up bigger bills.

“If you have one beer over an hour and a half and tip a dollar, your percentage is going to be bang on,” he said.

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