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Canadians Cut Back on Tipping and Turn to Savvy Money-Saving Strategies When Dining Out: Doggy Bags, Happy Hours and Value Meals Surge in Popularity

Money-saving hacks include grabbing a doggy bag (36%), opting for value meals (34%), and taking advantage of happy hour deals (26%).

Canadian consumers are reaching the tipping point with 67% feeling the pressure to tip, while 54% saying inflation has affected their ability to do so.

Across all global regions surveyed, Canadians are cutting back on tipping the most (25% are tipping less), while 19% of locals in other regions such as the U.S., U.K., and France are tipping less

QR menu codes face strong resistance: approximately nine in ten (90%) prefer physical menus, 36% ‘hate’ QR versions.

74% of Canadians are dining out once a month or more, with 31% dining out once a week or more.

With dining costs on the rise, Canadians are cutting back on tipping and getting creative to save a few bucks when eating out, according to the latest research from Lightspeed Commerce Inc., the one-stop commerce platform empowering merchants to provide the best omnichannel experiences.

Lightspeed surveyed more than 7,500 dining consumers globally, with 1,500 respondents in Canada to better understand how dining trends have evolved in the past year. Some good news for restaurants on the horizon: 44% of respondents said they will either continue to dine out at the same rate, or increase going out in the next six months. That being said, consumers are certainly looking at how best to stretch their dollar, as seven in ten (69%) diners report higher meal prices, and four in ten (42%) notice their favorite dishes are shrinking in size—a phenomenon commonly referred to as ‘shrinkflation.’

Dining Out on a Budget

With 74% of respondents dining out at least once a month, and 31% dining out once a week or more, Canadians are looking for ways to continue to keep dining fun and affordable, and pulling out all the stops. A savvy 39% are hunting for deals with coupons, 33% are choosing value meals, and 26% are making the most of happy hour specials. 

Doggy bags are back in vogue! Nearly half (36%) of respondents are not shy about asking to box up their food to stretch their dining dollars. Interestingly, 43% of women compared to 28% of men are more likely to enjoy a second meal with the leftovers. Older Canadians, particularly those aged 55 or older, are similarly inclined, with 41% taking doggy bags home. 

“Value is certainly top of mind for restaurant diners at the moment,” said Dax Dasilva, CEO and Founder of Lightspeed. “Restaurateurs need to adapt to an environment of cost-savings, but also perceived value. Customers don’t want to sacrifice the experience of dining out, they still want to feel like they are treating themselves. Keeping this in mind encourages repeat visits, and a better overall customer experience.” 

The Tipping Point

Canadian consumers are reaching the tipping point; while 67% feel more pressure to tip, 53% say inflation has affected their ability to do so. Notably, across all global regions surveyed, Canadians are cutting back on tipping the most (25% are tipping less), while 19% of locals in other regions such as the U.S., U.K., and France are tipping less.

A whopping 77% of Canadian diners are not fans of auto-tipping prompts on digital screens. Canadians also feel the most strongly about eliminating the need for tipping altogether (34%; tied with Belgium) when compared to consumers in other global regions.

The most common reason Canadians feel the pressure to tip is because they want to avoid appearing stingy or cheap (36%). Meanwhile, compared to their U.S. counterparts, the majority of Canadians are less likely to tip higher percentages. 47% of Canadians said they prefer to tip between 10-15% and 15% tipping less than 10% overall.  On the other end, 27% of Canadians are willing to tip 16-20%, but this falls flat when 38% of Americans are willing to tip the same amount.

Interestingly, for scenarios outside of the normal tipping etiquette, survey respondents were generally more supportive of tipping delivery drivers (48%), while coffee shops (22%) and ordering at the counter (15%) fell short.

QR Codes and Menus Don’t Mix

The backlash against QR code menus is palpable. While 20% of respondents appreciate their hygiene benefits, nine in ten (90%) of Canadians would rather flip through a physical menu, especially at fine dining spots where this jumps to 93%. Some 36% say they downright ‘hate’ QR code menus, and nearly a quarter (24%) grumble that the text on digital menus is just too tiny to read.

The disdain for QR codes is more pronounced among the older generation, with 54% of those aged 65 and above requesting a paper or printed menu when presented with a QR code by a server. Additionally, 35% admit to not being tech-savvy enough to navigate QR code menus.

“Technology on its own, does not necessarily provide a better customer experience,” said Dasilva. “Restaurants should think holistically about how best to integrate customer preference and technological innovation to create a unique dining experience. The use of QR codes is not inherently negative. They can be extremely useful in the case of at table payments, or quick ordering; it’s more about understanding the use cases that work than applying a catch-all solution. By staying adaptable and responsive to changing consumer preferences, restaurants can not only survive but also thrive in the current landscape.”

To learn more about Lightspeed, visit


Lightspeed initiated a consumer survey throughout May 2024 using third party survey vendor Medallia. Over 7,500 responses were collected globally, distributed amongst the following countries: Canada (1,500 respondents), United States (1,500 respondents), United Kingdom (1,000 respondents), Germany (1,000 respondents), France (1,000 respondents), Netherlands (1,000 respondents) and Belgium (1,000 respondents). Respondents were required to be over the age of 18, and have attended a sit-down restaurant within the last six months. All responses collected were anonymously.

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