In Germany summer has finally kicked in, and people are starting on their summer vacations. And on vacation, of course, people tend to go to a lot of different restaurants. One tricky question for me (apart from language, table manners and all that) when I was abroad was how do I tip waiters?
Different countries have very different customs regarding tips and gratuity in general. While not tipping is normal in one country, you might earn a lot of angry looks in another country for the same behavior.
In Germany it is not customary to leave large tips! Waiters in restaurants and barkeepers are paid by hour, so they don’t rely on gratuity to make a living.
What you should do, though, is round up the amount of money you have to pay. This makes it easier to pay and it is also considered polite. If your bill is, let’s say 9.30€, you would give 10€. If your bill is higher you can round up to a larger amount, for example from 62€ to 65€ or from 94€ to 100€. You can also express how much you liked the service by giving a few extra euros or not giving any tip at all. 5-10% is a generous tip you can’t go wrong with.
How to give?
When you ask for the bill, generally the waiter will come to your table and tell you the amount right away. You should give him the money and tell him the amount you want to give – including the tip! This means you don’t leave the tip on the table when you go, as you would in the United States in many cases.
Bars, taxi, other services?
The same rule of thumb applies for bars and taxis. Additionally, you might find cleaning personnel sitting in front of some restrooms, in some places. It’s ok to give those people some of your change, maybe 30 or 50 cents.
Enjoy your summer wherever you are or decide to go! :-)