Normal Cultural Tipping Norms in GermanyGermany is a very well-to-do country. People here receive good wages in exchange for their work. You can take any profession and compare it to the rest of the world. You will see how the professionals in Germany receive better wages than in most of the other countries. Similarly, German waiters also receive an amount quite better than Americans or any other waiters. But this quite high minimum wage is becoming a nuisance for German food servers. Due to their better wages, German customers tend to lower their tip to an extremely low level. If you ask a German how much to tip in Germany, he will give any of these ridiculous tipping options.
- Germans think that rounding off their food bill to the next whole is the best way to tip food servers. For example, you owe a bill of 42.3 euros. Germans would advise you to pay 43 euros, including the tip for the server. Hence, you will just be paying 0.7 euros to the waiter which is ridiculously low.
- Some Germans will be a little generous and will ask you to pay the server an amount equal to the price of a drink. This is the very norm that gave tipping its German name, Trinkgeld, which actually means drink money. Just to be clear, it will not be much more than the rounding-off rule. You will still be leaving the server with a tip of no use.
- Some Germans will even tell you that you do not need to tip if you do not like the service. A very common way of getting away with tips. Though you can skip tips if you genuinely faced a mishap or poor service. But just making an excuse to get away from tipping is not a good idea. Another common excuse is that the tip is included in the server’s wage which is actually not true. Unless you don’t find just a statement on the menu, do not believe it. Even in such cases, the fixed tip is quite low.
What Tip Receivers Expect to be TippedYou will be surprised to know that in a country like Germany, food servers actually earn a little lower than American food servers. Though their wage is higher, the poor tipping practices lower their earnings to very low levels. Hence, if you are traveling to Germany, be a little generous about your tips. You should at least tip the waiter 5%-10% of your food bill. For example, if your food bill is 42.3 euros, at least pay 2.4 euros to the server. This way you can help them to earn a respectable amount of income. Though most of the Germans still have the same thoughts about tipping, you can make a little difference by tipping generously as a tourist.
How, How Much, and When to Tip in GermanyHere is a German cultural practice of tipping.
How Much to Tip in Germany?Above you read about two perspectives on tipping culture in Germany. You can choose either of them to go with your tipping when paying at a restaurant in Germany. If you decide to go with the sensible way, here is a little detail to reflect the service on your tip.
- If you received excellent service, you can pay 15% of your food bill as a tip to the waiter. Anything above then that will be considered overly generous. However, you should know that in Germany, good service is linked with the speed, not to the behavior of the server. You would hardly find your server engaging in pleasant conversations with the customers to get a better tip. They would just speed up the service to receive a generous tip.
- For a service better than good, you can pay 10% of your food bill. Know that, it is still quite a generous tip.
- For an average service, you can pay the normal 5%. It is not a generous one, but still, a good amount that will please the server for sure.
When and How To Tip in Germany?Tipping usually come at the end of the service. Generally, with the bill. Even paying with a bill has a process to be followed.
- When the waiter brings your bill along with a credit card machine, and a wallet, you have to tell him the amount of tip you are willing to pay. He will either swipe your card, and add the tip to the bill, or you can pay him the tip separately in cash. Paying the tip in cash is always a better idea, because this way, all the tip goes to the server directly.
- If you are paying by cash, just add the tip to the bill and pay the server. But you will still need to tell him the amount of tip that you are paying.
- Now, if you plan to pay by check, it is again better to pay the tip separately in cash.
- One of them is the presence of a piggy bank. You can simply drop a coin or two, during the service, to tip the server. This way your tip will be kept a secret and the servers divide the tips at the end of the day.
- Another unusual practice is to place dishes outside the restaurants. Customers drop tips on the dish when leaving the restaurant. Some of these dishes are even labeled with a minimum tip amount. This is done to save the servers from the usual practice of paying low tips in Germany.