Tipping Etiquettes In European Restaurants Compared to American Restaurants

The art of tipping is one that has made many international travelers sweat as they struggled to figure out how much would be appropriate to leave for the good service. If that has been you, read this article to the end to understand tipping etiquettes in restaurants located all over Europe and America.

By Cookist

Before we get into it, it is important to note that tipping etiquettes vary from country to country and even service to service. This means that a tip acceptable for a hotel staff may not be for a restaurant waiter and a tip that would be considered more than enough in America may offend another worker in Asia or Europe.

This short guide will answer most of your travel tipping hassles and monetary confusion when it comes to restaurants in America and Europe.

Restaurant Tipping in Europe


It is easy to misunderstand restaurant tipping in Europe especially if you’re non-European visitors. In fact, many times, US tourists apply their own generous tipping culture where it isn’t necessarily needed.

Many European countries have laws that accommodate and standardize gratuity so larger tips left after even the best of meals, i.e. 15% and upwards, aren’t necessary.

Generally, most European countries, including France, Germany, Spain, Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland, Portugal and the UK, add a service charge to their bills but, if they don't, you can leave between 5% and 10% in local currency cash unless the service and/or food has been terrible.

Some other countries including Italy, Austria and Russia won’t usually add service charge or expect a tip, but it is not uncommon to round up the bill. If you're eating in a restaurant in Italy, and you’re interested in tipping, do it with cash and give it directly to your server.

Restaurant tipping is not expected from you in places like Scandinavia and Iceland. It is generally covered in the overall price of the meal.

Restaurant Tipping in America


With restaurants in the USA and Canada, service charge is not always added into the bill, so tipping is normal and even expected. 15 to 20% is considered the norm, except something was to your dissatisfaction in which case it is more like 5%.

In Central and South American countries, including Mexico, Nicaragua, Argentina and Peru, the service charge is more often than not added, but you can also tip your wait staff personally in which case between 10 to 15% in local currency or US dollars will do.

In others like Brazil, Chile and Costa Rica, restaurants often include a 10% ‘sit-down’ charge, this means that a tip is not expected but around 5% would be appreciated if you’d be interested in giving it.

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