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Tipping in restaurants around the world: a general overview

People often wonder how much to tip at restaurants depending on where they are in the world. The answer is: as much as you want! However, there are some customs that we could follow… let’s see which ones!

Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

Tipping at restaurants, how to behave once you have asked for the bill at a restaurant or pizzeria? Here’s a few… tips!

Let’s just add a general premise: if you don’t leave tips in cash, always try to use TackPay! This is the only way to make sure that your money always ends up in the waiter’s pocket!

In the United States tipping is a must. Its value varies between 15 and 25% of the bill. It is important not to forget this, since in this country the waiter’s salary depends largely on the extras given by the customers. If you stay in a hotel, porters should be given one dollar for each piece of luggage they carry, while maids who clean rooms or provide room service may be left with one or two dollars per night on their pillow.

In the UK, the receipt usually includes the item “service fee”, i.e. the amount of the tip for the service provided by the waiters. If there is no such indication, you can round up the bill or leave 10% of the total. In pubs, there are no similar rules to be followed: orders are usually taken directly at the bar, so there is no need to acknowledge the waiters for anything. In hotels, one pound per night is sufficient for the maids on the floors. In cabs, finally, you can simply round up the fare.

In Italy there are no precise rules. However, it is a good rule, especially if you were satisfied with the service received, do not forget to leave the waiters an extra amount. This also applies in case you pay by credit card.

In Spain and Portugal, restaurants usually leave 5–10% of the total bill on the table. In “cheap” establishments, however, this can be avoided. For a cab ride, the fare is rounded up by giving the taxi driver an extra 50 cents or the cents that are missing to arrive at the next euro. Even in hotels it is customary to leave with an extra charge: usually five euros is enough.

In France, there are places where service is included in the bill (usually 15% of the total). In places where tipping is not expected, you can leave between 2 euros and 10–15% of the bill on the table. The same count can be made when taking a cab, while in hotels no one will notice anything if you do not leave an extra.

In Germany and Austria tipping is not mandatory but is at the discretion of the customer. It is good practice to round up the bill by adding 5–10% of the total, both in restaurants and at the end of a cab ride. In hotels, the same rules apply as in the United States: one euro per piece of luggage for porters and one or two euros for maids to be left on the bedside table at the end of the stay.

In Belgium, Nederlands and Luxembourg, tipping is included in the price whether in restaurants, cabs or hotels. A small tip, however, will always be appreciated. It also applies to those assigned seats in cinemas and theaters.

In Greece a tip is always appreciated, even if it is symbolic. You may decide to round up your bill, or leave 10% more than you paid, depending on the quality of the place where you ate. In a cab, on the other hand, you make a round figure.

In Croatia, tipping is usually around 10%. However, this applies only in restaurants, where you can leave less if the bill already includes a cover charge. In bars there is no obligation, while in cabs it is sufficient to round up.

In Finland, Norway and Denmark, waiters are generally not charged extra. In Finland, in particular, checkroom attendants in restaurants and porters in hotels should be given special consideration. In Sweden, on the other hand, tipping is either included in the bill or an amount is left for waiters (usually 10% of the bill).

In the countries of North Africa, the Middle East and Asia, “baksheesh” is the term commonly used to indicate a tip.

Always remember to leave a tip if you eat at an establishment in Turkey. If you forget, you will be considered rude. Two tips: for waiters, calculate 5–10% of the total and do not “dare” to ask for separate bills.

In Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, the tip is usually calculated at 10% of the bill. The service staff is almost entirely foreign and relies heavily on extras from customers.

In Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt, tipping in restaurants is equivalent to 10–15% of the total bill. It is advisable, however, to give something to employees of other establishments (such as hotels or resorts) as well as taxi drivers.

There is no tipping culture in Japan or China. It is therefore advisable not to give extra money to waiters, porters or taxi drivers, as they may be offended.

In Asia, however, there are exceptions, especially in the Southeast: in Thailand, for example, a tip of 10% of the total bill, as well as a few coins to waitresses in hotels, will be welcome. The same applies to Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia.

In Russia it is not customary to leave a tip in restaurants. A service charge is often included in the bill in the better restaurants.

In the countries of Central and South America it is customary to tip anyone who provides a service (10% of the total amount is sufficient): waiters, service workers in hotels, parking attendants.

In Australia it is not customary to leave a tip, while in New Zealand a sum of 10–15% of the bill is acceptable.

Finally, in the Pacific Islands, local traditions dictate that tips are not accepted. The exception is French Polynesia, where the same rules are followed as in France.

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