“It’s a good thing” becomes “round it up”: the advance of electronic payment provides for a different way of tipping (Antwerp)

Bram Tech of cafe ‘t Klokske does not notice a drop in tips. © Jayne-Nattida Kanyachalao

Antwerp

Corona already ensured that we started paying more cash and contactless and since 1 July all companies must offer at least one electronic payment method. That seems to be another line through the bill of the catering industry, where cash tips have been commonplace for ages. But the cafes and restaurants seem to be keeping up with the times. “People ask me every day to tip via bancontact”, we hear at the Groenplaats in Antwerp.

Despite the bad weather, the terraces on the Groenplaats are well filled. The pints and shrimp croquettes pass by in quick succession, as does the payment terminal. Because paying with notes or coins, who does that anymore? Since corona, the cash in our pouch has increasingly been replaced by bank cards, or we use payment apps on our smartphone. Especially now that entrepreneurs have to provide at least one electronic payment method, the threshold for paying with cash is higher than ever. And so fewer people will just throw some money on the table and say: it’s okay.

Another blow to the staff in the catering industry. Or not? “Not everyone is aware of it, but you can just as well give a tip via bancontact. You just say: round up to the top”, says Bram Tech of cafe ‘t Klokske. “I don’t expect a big change with that new commitment, the biggest turnaround has already happened during the pandemic.”

Providing good service is the most important thing, according to Saul Van der Veken of the Antwerp café Het Groene Hart.  “People ask me every day to tip via bancontact.”

Providing good service is the most important thing, according to Saul Van der Veken of the Antwerp café Het Groene Hart. “People ask me every day to tip via bancontact.” © Jayne-Nattida Kanyachalao

“I see little difference in this area myself,” says Saul Van der Veken of café Het Groene Hart. “People ask me every day to tip via Bancontact. We also see that people pay electronically and then leave an extra cent behind. There are so many options. Of course you can’t force people to give a little extra, but with good service you can certainly make a difference.”

Depending on operator

Electronic tips are therefore easier for the customer, but a new problem arises for the recipient. “Since the arrival of this system, along with the introduction of the white cash register, it has become more complicated to filter tips from other income,” says Fabrice D’Hooghe, who does not fully trust the business. “It is more cumbersome and as a result fewer staff members will receive what they are actually entitled to. I also work in the hospitality industry, so I always tip when I eat somewhere else. It’s a kind of mutual respect and there always will be. Cash or bancontact will not change that.”

Pascale Rosseau insists on always tipping.

Pascale Rosseau insists on always tipping. © Jayne-Nattida Kanyachalao

Much depends on the owner. “He determines whether the tip is distributed fairly afterwards and not put in his own pocket,” says Pascale Rosseau. “My daughter works in the catering industry herself and it used to be easier for her to earn some extra money so that she could have one herself. The threshold is now greater to give a tip, but I do it all the time.”

“Tips have long been paid via bancontact. Most people are aware of it,” confirms John Everaerd, owner of Retro 22 on the Grote Markt. Here too we hear that it is mainly a matter of honesty on the part of the business manager to distribute the electronically collected tips fairly among the staff. “And he’s one of the fairest I know,” a customer shouts on the terrace. (vip)

John Everaerd enjoys his own terrace for a while.

John Everaerd enjoys his own terrace for a while. © Jayne-Nattida Kanyachalao

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