One week to go! Tipping Questions

Old Mar 28th, 2008, 04:37 PM
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One week to go! Tipping Questions

Hooray! Only one week left before we leave for our first trip to Europe/Italy! (And one week to get over this lousy cold!!!) This forum has been invaluable in our planning!


Can someone help me with information on how much and to whom we should give tips? Thanks, everyone, for your help!

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Old Mar 28th, 2008, 04:53 PM
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We have found that 10% is very much appreciated for good service. It is still true today that some percentage of locals do not tip at all. All that said - we have tipped more if service was really over the top - though some people will scold you for that!
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Old Mar 28th, 2008, 05:36 PM
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There is a huge tipping thread going, but , in a nutshell, tipping varies somewhat from country to country and seems to also depend on what you are used to at home.
Americans tip more then anyone else often tipping anyone they come in contact with, and tipping as much as 15-20%, locals tip from nothing to 5-10% depending on many factors, Australians, Brits , and Canadians seem to be middle of the road.
Tipping while always nice is not as ingrained culturally in Europe as it is in America, and in some countries less is expected as waitress/ers are paid reasonable wages , but in others perhaps more is expected.
My experience in France is round up cafe bills ( so if bill is 7.20 euros I leave 8 euros) , at a nicer place like a restaurant I tend to leave 5-10%.
I round up for taxis, and I give the hotel maid 1-2 euros if she actually does something extra for me( bring extra towels etc) .
I don't recall tipping anyone else, but I don't stay in places that have door men or bell boys.
No one will refuse your tips, but no one will freak if you don't give one or don't leave enough.
I did have a waiter once try to pull a fast one on me, he took my bill ( which was about 13 or 14 euros, and I paid with a 20 euro note) , I waited and waited for my change to come back, finally I asked for it, he seemed surprised, but really for 2 pieces of pizza and some pop no way in hell was I tipping 6 euros! ( This was in Paris not Italy) He sheepisly returned it , and I left him 2 euros.

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Old Mar 28th, 2008, 05:39 PM
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Merrisr, are you serious? 10% or more in Italy? No wonder the dollar is in trouble.

mollyme, try to sound as if you are not American (Italian servers have a Pavlovian response to American accents; they drool in expectation). The tip on a European level -- 0-5%.
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Old Mar 29th, 2008, 03:14 AM
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Hi M,

Tips are not expected in Italy.

Restos include a 15% service charge in the price. Do not leave more than loose change on the table for very good service.

You needn't tip anyone else, unless they provide service above and beyond the call of duty, and then just a Euro or 2.

Enjoy your visit.

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Old Mar 29th, 2008, 03:47 AM
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It is much more appreciated if you order a proper meal (four courses in Italy) and not just pasta and if you drink a bottle of wine with your meal instead of coke.

Tipping is not necessary. You can round up small amounts or give 5% maximum.
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Old Mar 29th, 2008, 04:45 AM
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...well in most of the continent, the credit card slips have no place for tips so I just assume in those restaurants tips are not expected...if the restaurant makes a special note service is included, no tip...if the credit card slip has room for a tip and I have seen something to the effect service not included....might add at most 10% (BTW a new phenomenom in London, when you dine in a restaurant and present your credit card, the waiter does not take your credit card into a bck room where it can and is often compromised but rather the waiter brings a little terminal to your table and in the case of some restaurants asks you to enter the tip directly into the terminal (in others he gives you a printed slip with room for the tip and if you add a tip, he enters it in the terminal in front of your eyes...wish that was mandated in the USA but we're technologically inferior in these matters too)..

Taxi drivers no (rarely use cabs, public transportation is fine throughout most of the continent)

Don't know about hair dressers (wrong sex), barbers (never have needed a haircut in Europe), porters (the hotels I stay at don't have porters or when I'm on a group tour, this is included), local tour guide (if good, 1 unit of the local currency), Tour Directors on coach tours ($4 US or its equivalent a day as recommended in the Trafalgar Tours brochure), $2.50 US per day to the coach driver (or its equivalent).

I think that covers it..oh yeah no tipping to the bar tender at an English pub (although buying him or her a drink is appreciated)!
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Old Mar 29th, 2008, 04:48 AM
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Oh..I forgot to mention...don't worry about it...after all when you're on holiday chances are you won't be coming back to the same restaurant in the near future and if you return to the restaurant a year later, chances are the same waiters will not be there.

So in effect if you don't tip when expected, so what...enjoy your trip and don't worry about such minor matters as this.
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Old Mar 29th, 2008, 05:00 AM
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xyz123 wrote: "if you return to the restaurant a year later, chances are the same waiters will not be there."

It's more likely than you might suspect that the same staff will be there. Serving at table is more of a career in much of Europe than it is in the US (or Britain and Ireland). That is to some extent linked with the fact that servers are not working primarily for tips.
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Old Mar 29th, 2008, 05:09 AM
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...and I'm sure they will remember every single person, especially in a European restaurant where tipping is not part of the national culture, who ever stiffed them?
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Old Mar 29th, 2008, 05:14 AM
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I live in Brussels and I went out for a quick lunch in a brasserie yesterday with my husband. The bill was 31 euros something (salads and cokes)...he left 33 euros. I would have left a euro or 2 more - I'm Irish and we tend to tip a bit better. My husband is Austrian and they just really just round up a bit. A belgian would have left even less normally.
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Old Mar 29th, 2008, 05:34 AM
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I just got back from Italy and was very surprised to find most restaurants didn't include a service charge. On our first trip most had it included but that was way back in 2002. What I did find was several restaurants had a cover charge of 1 or 2 Euro per person and this was not a service charge as I always asked. These were not high end restaurants either.
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Old Mar 29th, 2008, 07:01 AM
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travelfan1, that cover charge is extremely common in Italy, maybe you just didn't always realize you were paying it. It's the coperto, for bread and table linens.

I have to disagree with traveller1959. I've never been in a restaurant in Italy where they were bothered by the fact that I only ordered two courses (I could never eat four courses). And often Coke is more expensive than wine!

I generally add a couple of Euro in cash on the table. If you add it to a credit card bill, the waiter will not get it in most cases, it will go to the restaurant.
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Old Mar 29th, 2008, 07:07 AM
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travelfan1 wrote: "I just got back from Italy and was very surprised to find most restaurants didn't include a service charge."

They do. They don't add it on; it's included, just as is the cost of ingredients, rent of premises, and other costs. Why should they factor out the wages of some of their staff and show that as a separate item?
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Old Mar 29th, 2008, 07:34 AM
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>>>I just got back from Italy and was very surprised to find most restaurants didn't include a service charge.<<<

Sounds to me like a misunderstanding. The concept of "service charge" is unknown in most European countries. The menu lists a price for a dish. This price is calculated by the proprietor and includes all costs - raw products, energy, rent, salaries, taxes.

This explains why menus do not include a "service charge".

You simply pay the price which is listed in the menu. That's all. If the proprietor charges more, then it is simply fraud.

Giving a tip is just a pleasantry in Europe.
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Old Mar 29th, 2008, 07:52 AM
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We always tip in restaurants (and taxi drivers.) Sometimes they look a bit surprised but there is alway a big smile on their faces and a "thanks you" ( in whatever language).
Feels good!
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Old Mar 29th, 2008, 08:05 AM
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danon, if a person is surprised when you tip, then you have behaved inappropriately. Does it matter? Yes, because it affects perceptions, and it is how your compatriots are perceived that is most affected. Hence the account (given on this forum, I think by NeoPatrick) of the waiter in Venice who demanded a 15% tip.

If you always tip, you are probably wrong; if you never tip, you are probably wrong.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2008, 03:22 AM
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Susan - The cover charge wasn't for the bread...there was another charge for that!

So I get from all this if you ask if service is included, are told no, you still shouldn't leave but around 5%?


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Old Apr 2nd, 2008, 04:08 AM
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travelfan1, if you ask in Italy if service is included and you are told no, you are either being told a lie or the server does not understand you (quite possible, given that adding on service charges is not the way things are done in Italy).

Maximum tip around 5% sounds okay to me, bearing in mind that it is in addition to built-in service charge. I would tip only if I got more than basic reasonable service.
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