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Tipping in Germany - Taxi Drivers, and in restaurants

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Apr 5th, 2009, 07:55 AM
  #1
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Tipping in Germany - Taxi Drivers, and in restaurants

What is the customary tip? Is it a percentage, like in the US?
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Apr 5th, 2009, 08:33 AM
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Unless the taxi driver is helping a lot with my luggage, I usually just give one euro or so. Kind of depends on how friendly they are, did they play loud, funky music, or were they polite, that kind of thing.

Restaurants, I usually do 10%, unless it is something small, like a drink, then I will round up a bit. If service was crappy, I do not tip a thing, but I will let them know that I was not happy, preferably speaking with the manager. I managed a large restaurant in Germany, so if an employee was rude or the food was bad, I always wanted to know.
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Apr 5th, 2009, 08:38 AM
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Taxis:
IF you want to tip, round up to next 50c or full Euro amount.
3 examples: Fare 8.30, tip 20c; Fare 9.50, tip 50c; Fare 9.00, bad luck - usually no tip

Restaurants:
There is no such thing as a customary tip. Service is always included, and waiters don't live on the tips (even though they can become a reasonable part of their income). So, by nature, the tip should be reserved for situations when you feel that your dining experience was actually better than "just okay".

Some local people hardly ever tip, some leave random, changing amounts depending on their mood or visual impact of waitress, some have their own 5 or 10 pct "strategy".
Anything from exact amount, or rounding up, to 10% would be within the common frame of customer behavior.

Some people tend (mostly more out of thoughtlessness) to over-tip on small amounts, e.g. coffee is only 2.50 but they pay full 3 Euro.
WHEN I want tip (i.e. when service was more than just shoving food to the table), I usually don't tip very small amounts on larger checks, but go more for 5-10 percent.
Example: When your check is 49.90, a mere 0.10 "tip" may be a bit on the cheap side, so I would go for 52-55 Euros.

It is common to "announce" the tip once the waiter brings you the check. So if you pay in cash at the table, and your amount due is 16.30, you would usually give him a 20 Euro bill and tell him "18" (only as an example). Or do same when you give him your credit card.

It is totally uncommon to wait for the change and then leave some money on the table when you go.

If service was not satisfactory, the proper percentage for tipping is ZERO percent.

Tipping (except for small change that you want to get rid off) is uncommon in any self-service kind of restaurants. Ignore the jars.

Bar/Pub (sitting at the bar): you always run a tab, and do not pay your beer glass by glass. So IF you want to tip, you wait and do on the final check.
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Apr 5th, 2009, 08:44 AM
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By law, service (Bedienung) is included in the quoted restaurant prices, and on bills, together with tax (Mwst). So there is no obligation to leave a tip (Trinkgeld) in addition. But it's customary to leave something, usually by rounding up the bill to the nearest euro (for a small bill like drinks) and to the nearest 5 or 0 (so if your food bill is 51 euro, you ask the waiter to round it up to 55 euro, and if 56 euro, to 60 euro. In very smart places, 10% is common but not obligatory.
For taxis, rounding up to the nearest whole euro usually suffices.
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Apr 5th, 2009, 08:59 AM
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Your answers have been very helpful. One more question re: taxis - even if it's a large fare, say 30 or 40 euros, would you only tip an extra euro or would you tip more than that? Thanks.
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Apr 5th, 2009, 09:13 AM
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Probably a BIT more, like 2 Euros, but with Mainhattengirl's caveats in mind.
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Apr 5th, 2009, 10:26 AM
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What others said about telling the server how much you want to tip is key. We tend to pay with cash, and when they come with the bill, the waitstaff usually just stands right there and wait for you to pay. (Unlike in the US, they come put down the bill and walk away.) And when you pay, they give you change right there and then as each server carries his/her own "wallet". So if they come with the bill of 52 euros, you give them 60 euros and say you want 5 euros back (assuming you want to tip). If you don't say anything, the server will give you change for 8 euros. It is not customary to leave your tip on the table after you've paid.
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Apr 5th, 2009, 10:34 AM
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Or just leave 55 euro (for a 52 euro check) and say 'Stimmt so' (shtimt zo). The server will say Danke schön and put the money in their pouch. Done!
If you are paying with larger bills (say 3x20 euro), just say '5 euro zurück,' (5 euro back).
Never ever leave loose change on the table as you leave - it's not done.
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Apr 5th, 2009, 11:57 AM
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And finally, you must ask for your bill when you are ready to leave. It is considered impolite to present the cheque before it's asked for..
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Apr 5th, 2009, 12:12 PM
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Zahlen bitte!
Bill please.
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