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Tippingin Europe

Old Feb 10th, 2007, 12:05 AM
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Tippingin Europe

I just thought of another piece of advice I need. In America I understand that tipping is considered part of the salary of the staff in hotels etc. In Australia, staff are paid a living wage and tipping is only done when an employee does something out of the ordinary for the customer. This is our third trip to Europe and we are always unsure of what is expected of us. Do you always tip regardless of service? Cheers Pawsha
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Old Feb 10th, 2007, 12:35 AM
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The working conditions of folks in restaurants and hotels in Europe is more akin to the Australian situation than to that which prevails in the USA: that is, they are paid a regulated living wage. "Rounding up" the bill is appropriate, as is a tip for "out-of-the-ordinary" service.
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Old Feb 10th, 2007, 12:41 AM
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No way you can generalize this. There are significant differences between the countries.
E.g. tipping is much more common (and expected as waiters are, while better paid than in the U.S. in general, still dependent on tips) in Germany than it is in the U.K., where often a tip is automatically added to the bill.
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Old Feb 10th, 2007, 02:00 AM
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Yes it really varies between countries. Where are you going?
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Old Feb 10th, 2007, 02:07 AM
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Service charge is usually already included in most restaurant bills, but it's customary in many countries to round up the bill (i.e. refuse small change) when paying. This is certainly the case in Germany and Austria. If the bill comes to 48.50 euro, you give 50 euro and say 'Stimmt so', 'It's ok'. You don't leave cash on the table and walk away - always tip personally when settling your bill, at the table. In France, many locals don't tip at all (and if you pay by card, they don't normally leave a line open to add your tip, as in US). Prix net (inclusive pricing) is common. It won't harm to add a small tip (round up the bill rather than a fixed percentage), but don't feel you have to. In Spain and Italy, in contrast, many cheaper places don't include a service charge (or tax in Spain, 7%) and most people do leave a tip, but no more than 10% or so. If you sit at a counter in a bar, tipping isn't expected (or leave no more than small change - 1 euro or less).
One place where tipping is expected (and they will let you know in no uncertain term) is at attended toilets in Belgium, and sometimes in France. Many post a price list in several languages. This is more optional in Germany, but most leave a small change - 20 to 30 cents, though they would like more (by picking up small coins from a saucer and only leave 50 cents or 1 euro in view).
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Old Feb 10th, 2007, 02:35 AM
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In and around Munich, a 10% tip is what´s usually expected. Easy..
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Old Feb 10th, 2007, 05:53 AM
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I'll agree it is impossible to make general statements about tipping in Europe. Try not leaving tips at all or just "rounding up" in London and see what happens. They've turned to adding a "discretionary" service charge at many places there -- presumably because people weren't leaving the expected 10 to 15% at nice restaurants. And while 10% is "expected" in Germany, it really isn't "expected" in Italy or France.
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Old Feb 10th, 2007, 07:24 AM
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Hi P,

If a service charge of 15% is included in the price, round up BUT leave change on the table for the waiter.

In the UK and the EU a tip added to the CC goes to the owner, not the waiter.

If service is not included, up to about 15% tip.

Don't ask if a "tip" is included n the price - it isn't.

Ask if "service" is included.

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Old Feb 10th, 2007, 08:06 AM
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ira has hit the most important point of all. Many people confuse "service" with "tip" -- the two are NOT the same. A "tip" is something extra you give to reward or thank a person -- usually the waiter. A service charge is what a restaurant adds on to a bill to help cover their costs and has nothing to do with rewards or special service given.
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Old Feb 10th, 2007, 08:29 AM
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It is very confusing to understand the tipping customs in each country. One thing we learned the hard way was to leave the tip in cash for your server, do NOT include it on your charge statement. We didn't know this, and feel bad that our rather generous tips probably went to the restaurant owner, not the server. Stupid on our part.
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Old Feb 13th, 2007, 06:14 PM
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Anyone knows the expectation for wine tipping in Germany & Austria? In the US it is expected to tip 15 - 20 % of the wine price no matter how expensive the bottle is. Can we assume 10% of wine tipping is equally expected in Germany & Austria?
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Old Feb 13th, 2007, 06:33 PM
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We had an Italian dinner (at Via Sistina) our last night in Cologne. We had a carafe of wine and food, and our waiter refused *any* tip at all, even rounding up, which I had read is what you are supposed to do in Germany.
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Old Feb 13th, 2007, 06:38 PM
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Contrary to what has been said on here, in the UK it is not customary to leave a tip in restaurants that have a service charge. There is nothing to stop you leaving something for the waiter if you wish, but it is not expected.

Places you normally would tip in the UKbr />
Taxi.
Hairdresser.
Spa/personal treatments.
Restaurants without service charge.

(If you have had bad service, it is perfectly acceptable not to tip however).

We generally do not tip bar staff or tour guides, and most people deliberately carry their own bags in hotels to save tipping!

This doesn't mean you can't if you really want to, of course. Oh, and there's no set percentage expected.
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Old Feb 13th, 2007, 07:52 PM
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This tipping thing was very confusing to us last summer - our first European trip. In Paris, we noted the 15% service charge was included in the bill, but a "manager" or at least another waiter (not ours) who spoke English and told us he had restaurant training in LA, made a point to come to our table and tell us we must include another 15% tip.
We complied. It was our 1st night there.
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Old Feb 13th, 2007, 08:23 PM
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Elnap: I think he was trying to customize it to his American customers since he knows Americans are generous tippers. I think it's tacky that he would come and demand a 15% tip outright. I've talked to waiters in the US who complain that French tourists are the worst tippers and they still wouldn't dare to explain to their French customers that they should tip 15%.

I'm still curious whether in Germany/Austria, a 10% tip for a high wine bill is expected for example an 700 euro(3 bottles). We were in Italy last year and our dinner tip came to over 100 Euro as the bill was over 1000 (for 4 people). Now I learn from this thread that in Italy a 10% tip is not expected. I have heard that those Italian waiters get annoyed if you don't order a nice bottle of wine with your expensive dinner. I never knew it since I haven't learned the Italian word for cheapskate yet.
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Old Feb 13th, 2007, 10:24 PM
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If you order wine for 700€ no waiter would expect a 70€ tip. From a certain point, if your consumption goes up the tip goes (relatively seen) down. And there's no "law" that forces you to leave a tip anyway. If you eat a "standard meal" for 15€, a 1.50€ is what would be expected. If you don't leave anything that's fine too, but don't go back to that place for dinner the next day
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Old Feb 13th, 2007, 10:33 PM
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Outside the "tourist trap" areas in Italy, tipping is not the norm, although a few coins to the server is often appreciated (I have been chased out of a cafe to return change I left behind!
On the other side of the Atlantic a taxi driver in Las Vegas threw the receipt at me when I only gave him a 10% tip for a short ride!
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Old Feb 13th, 2007, 10:42 PM
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Actually, the statement I made is a about Munich, not Italy. I don't know why anybody would order 3 bottles of wine for 700€ in a restaurant. Those people must exist, just I never met them, since I'm just a poor consultant with a lousy income.
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Old Feb 13th, 2007, 10:55 PM
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"I have heard that those Italian waiters get annoyed if you don't order a nice bottle of wine with your expensive dinner"

Where on earth from?

I've never met an Italian waiter who gave a flying Frascati what I drank. Or - at least in Italy - ever showed anything other than impeccable manners.

Though some (or at any rate waiters who put on an Italian accent for effect) do sometimes acquire impertinence when working in restaurants outside Italy
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Old Feb 13th, 2007, 11:56 PM
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Tipping is not required in restaurants in France, as service is included. If you like the service, you can leave a couple of euros on the table. If the service was indifferent or bad, you should leave nothing.

High end tourists will always tip -- that's their loss.
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