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? for all expeienced European travelers and residents, tipping/Service charges in Italy and France.

? for all expeienced European travelers and residents, tipping/Service charges in Italy and France.

Jul 14th, 2004, 04:07 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,106
Dear friends,

VAT is not a service charge. It is a tax.

A service charge is not a tip. It is the way the owner pays the staff.

A tip is a bonus for extra good service.

In France the menu will say "service compris".

In Italy it will be "servizo".

It is highly unlikely that ALL restaurants in the whole of Europe include the service charge in the price. This will show up as an additional item on the bill.

ira is offline  
Jul 15th, 2004, 12:38 PM
Original Poster
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Right Ira, which was my thought, that a service charge will show up as an additional charge on the bill. We didn't find this charge added to any bill.

The original assertation was that all restaurants add the service charge of 10-15% as an additional charge to the bill.
nina is offline  
Jul 15th, 2004, 03:11 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 504
According to Sandra Gustafson's "Great Eats in Paris", by law all restaurants in France must include a 12 to 15% service charge in the price of all food and beverages served. This will be stated on the menu as service compris or prix nets. The service charge is the tip( emphasized and repeated in italics), but she recommends adding a little more for pleasant service.
Laidback is offline  
Jul 15th, 2004, 05:17 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 375
OK : There's a 15% service charge in France. But it is *already included* in the price displayed (on the menu, for instance). Generally, it doesn't even appear on the bill, but it can (in this case, it's the cash-register which will automatically remove the 15% from the price, then add them again on a separate line). It doesn't change a thing for you anyway.

However, I will point out that this isn't a tip. It *might* be given back to the staff (there are some fiscal incentives to do so) and I understand that this is mostly done in large restaurants or brasseries, for some reason, in which case it's added to the staff paycheck. But generally, it doesn't, and it goes directly to the owner's pocket.

The service charge had nothing to do, originally, with tips. This regulation was implemented 30 years ago or so in order to put an end to the practice of displaying low prices and then add a service charge to the bill.
clairobscur is offline  
Jul 15th, 2004, 06:42 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,244
Can I assume that in most restaurants in Italy, service is included?

If so, the leaving of a few Euros (5%-10%) as a "tip" is appropriate if the service is very good?

Not trying to make a meal out of this thread, but what do the "Italians" do?

I believe what the Parisians do from what I've seen -- leave the pocket change, i.e. if the bill is 38.50 euro, leaving the 1.50 Euro on the table. Is this correct?

Bottom line, I'm going to Italy and want to do what is appropriate, without over or under tipping.
Budman is offline  
Jul 15th, 2004, 07:05 PM
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Budman: Do the same thing in Italy as you would do in France.
StCirq is online now  
Jul 15th, 2004, 09:04 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,004
In France we have always had a 15% service charge added to our restaurant bill. They have never charged us for bread.

In Italy sometimes it's on the bill and sometimes it's not. They usually charge for the bread.
SalB is offline  
Jul 16th, 2004, 12:08 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 190
Since Norway is part of Europe I thought I'd add that here there IS a service charge added to the bill(as mandated by law), which as has been mentioned makes sure the waiters get a decent paycheck (but the money goes to the owner which then pays it back to the waiters as part of his salary payments). And on most menues here you can see at the bottom of the menu in 4 point fonts that service is included. If you are happy with the service you leave a tip as well, which goes directly the to the waiter AFAIK. So for Norway's part of Europe his statement is true.

Cobos is offline  
Jul 16th, 2004, 07:28 AM
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Hi budman,

Follow StCirq's advice.

Hi Laidback
With all due respect to Sandra Gustafson, unlike the US, in Europe the service charge is NOT the tip.

It is a charge for service. It is usually included in the advertised price, but may be a separate item.

That is why Europeans do not give the waitstaff a 15% tip.

A tip is a little bit added for good service.
ira is offline  
Jul 16th, 2004, 03:37 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 504
I was just just passing along a quote from a seemingly savvy traveler. I personally through the years try to emulate the same procedure I use in the USA...add about 5% if the service was good to bring the total up to about 20%. There again many Americans can't agree on an appropriate amount in the US for good service. It seems that for years 15% was standard, but now it seems to have escalated.
Laidback is offline  

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