How much should I tip in Germany?
The first rule to learn about tipping is that it is not expected or required in Germany. In fact, tipping large amounts of money can be considered culturally ignorant and should be avoided. This is in stark contrast to places such as the United States, where tipping is so ingrained in their culture that some may even tip for bad service.
A tip of 5-10% of the total bill is a normal amount to tip in Germany for good service. It is also common in Germany to round the bill up when paying. Example: If your bill comes to €18.75, it would be common to round that up to an even twenty euro if you had good service.
Tipping in Restaurants
Visitors to Germany should check with the restaurant to see if gratuities are included in the price of the meal. This is generally located at the bottom of each page of the menu or on the first few pages.
In Germany, paying for your meal is done directly with your waiter at your table, which can make the tipping process slightly awkward for non-Europeans but don’t let that get the best of you. Tipping in Germany is easy.
Once your waiter gives you your check, you simply tell the waiter how much you wish to pay with the tip included.
Example: Your check is €28.50 and you hand the server a 50 Euro Bill. You simply say “30” and the server will give you 20 back and thank you for the tip. If you hand the server your bill/card but don’t say anything, it is assumed there is no tip. The familiar “Keep the change” saying (German: “Stimmt so“) works well in Germany.
Service standards in Germany can be very different to other countries and visitors should be aware of the cultural differences they can expect when eating at a German restaurant. If you’re coming from a country that excels in customer service (such as the United States/Canada), you may sometimes feel the restaurant service in Germany is quite bad. Germany is great in many things, but restaurant service is generally not one of them and adjusting your expectations while traveling in another country is important.
While eating at a restaurant, you may have to call your server to your table to indicate you wish to pay. Europeans generally stay and chat long after the meal has finished and don’t wish to feel disturbed or rushed. This is in stark contrast to some other countries where they will often drop your check on the table half-way though your meal.
Remember, tipping in Germany is not required and should really only be done when you are satisfied with the service and food you received. Don’t stress over it.
Things to remember
- Waiters generally do not check on your table after your meal arrives.
- Waiters will not bring new drinks to your table automatically, in fact “free refills” do not exist here.
- Water is not brought to the table, you must ask for it and generally costs the same as a soda or other drink. You can ask for tap water (Leitungswasser), but they will probably bring you a very small glass.
- If you want to use a credit card in a restaurant, inquire before you order.
- Do not leave cash or coins on the table.
Tipping Taxi Drivers in Germany
Tipping your taxi driver is done in a similar way to tipping in restaurants, rounding up the fare is common but not expected. If you had a short drive, and your fare was 8.00 Euro, you may want to round it up to 9. For longer journeys, a few extra Euros would be appropriate. If your fare was 47.00 Euro, you can round this up to an even 50. If the driver helped you with a large amount of luggage, you may want to add a few extra Euros on top of that. If you feel that the driver drove you around in circles (uncommon) or was unfriendly, then forget about the tip.