HicksBiz Blog

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Tipping is outta control By GRAHAM HICKS first published EDMONTON SUN, January 1, 2019

By GRAHAM HICKS Tipping in the restaurant business and elsewhere  is getting ugly. It’s gone from an act of appreciation for excellent service to a cat-and-mouse game,  squeezing a maximum tip out of the customer through suggestion, guilt or credit card payment options. My family – 14 of us — enjoyed a holiday brunch. The server was friendly and efficient. But it was a buffet. Besides collect the dirty dishes, all she had to do was serve coffee and tea. The bill, when presented, included a mandatory “service charge” – i.e. an automatic 18% tip for large groups – or $66.51.  The aforementioned server, however, quietly mentioned it was a “group tip” distributed to all the restaurant staff.  If I wanted to give her an additional personal tip, she wouldn’t refuse. Blindsided and guilt-tripped, I added another $25.  Which worked out to a 25%  tip — over $90! Yes, it was voluntary.  Did I feel pres ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: The crisis in Alberta is NOW By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, December 28, 2018

Hundreds of truckers joined the Truck Convoy in Nisku on December 19, 2018 to support the oil and gas industry in Alberta.Larry Wong / POSTMEDIA NETWORK By GRAHAM HICKS You do not have to be a petroleum engineer to see where Alberta is heading in 2019. Down, down, down. Not an earth-shattering Depression-era or early-‘80s downward spiral. Just the same relentless grinding – the same double-clutching through endless muck – as has been happening since the Great Oil Price Collapse of 2014. It’s not about massive lay-offs, not in the private sector. Every job done by a human being that could be eliminated has been eliminated. It’s about 0% wage increases, a steady cutting of employee benefits, no more company pension plans, buy-outs of employees 55 or older … Graduates from NAIT or the University of Alberta in any of the “hard” sciences – i.e. engineering, computer programming – used to have jobs waved in their faces. N ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Farewell to fine dining By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, December 25, 2018

Drunken Ox at Night, Sober Cat in the Morning.Shaughn Butts / Postmedia Lay a wreath, make a moment of silence to mourn the death of fine dining in Edmonton. Fine dining – white linen tablecloths, napkins, crystal wine glasses, an array of cutlery, well-dressed servers serving with tongs – left us in 2018. Oh, there’s a scattered few  – Hardware Grill, The Harvest Room, La Ronde at the top of the Chateau Lacombe, Ruth’s Chris, Madison’s – but Characters is gone, Alta didn’t make it, and Gini’s Fine Dining in the west end is soon to close its doors. The top restaurants in town, led by RGE RD and Corso 32, are all startlingly casual. At Captain’s Boil, hot, fresh seafood comes in plastic bags for eating by hand. Which is sad, but inevitable. Formality is a trait that’s all but disappeared in Edmonton for everything but high-school grads. Even then, jeans, open-neck shirts and sports jackets are considered “f ... Read the rest of entry »