How much is your barista taking home in tips?

We’ve all been there: You’re about to pay an exorbitant amount for a cappuccino, and the barista turns the iPad over to a display of tip options… 15%, 20%, and even 30%. What do you choose? You imagine your barista’s student debt, or maybe their ambitions to fund a short film. 

The guilt takes over as you decide what to do next. But in reality, it’s not that big of a deal, according to the four baristas we spoke to for this story. Coffee shop workers aren’t as tip-dependent as other service industries, and, according to last year’s data, they often make more than minimum wage.

  • Shruti, the operations manager at Cafe Paradise in Toronto, pays all her baristas above minimum wage. “I don’t want them relying on tips that may never come,” she said. 

Tips can add up: According to our sources, people tip about half the time, with the average tip hitting $1. At Paradise, staff rake in $200 to $300 in tips on an average weekday, with double on weekends. Split among them, each barista takes home about $25 per hour in tips alone.

  • On a six-hour shift, a barista makes $150 in tips on top of their minimum wage base salary, for a rate of $41.55 an hour. For context, that hourly rate would earn over $86,400 a year assuming a 40-hour workweek.
  • This is a conservative estimate. At Field Trip Cafe, each barista can rake in anywhere from $50 to $200 in just tips per shift, with some days even surpassing $300, noted Cam, a barista at the cafe.

Yes, but: Factors like location heavily influence foot traffic and, consequently, tip earnings. While cafes in bustling areas like Field Trip and Paradise thrive, those in quieter locales like Laundry & Lattes may only see $20 to $30 in tips per day, according to its owner, Kevin. 

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