Tipping at restaurants in Germany

What is the average tip to leave a waiter at a restaurant in Germany? Am assuming it is somewhat like the US?

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
11651 posts

I tend to round up, just giving the small balance to the waiter/ess with a smiling "dankeshoen, ein bischen trinkgeld" (sp).

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
12957 posts

Your server will normally bring you the bill with the final price shown (or write it on a piece of paper). If the bill is, say, 12,40€, round it up and say "dreizehn Euro" (dry-tsain Oy-row). If you give them 15€ or 20€, they will return the change from 13€. If you have exactly 13€, give it to them and say "stimmt so" (shtimmt zo, that is correct). Unlike in the US, German servers are paid a wage that doesn't assume tips (do you tip the sales person at Walmart? What about the person who just sold you a new car?) In Germany, you are not tipping, per se. It's just considered impolite to keep the small change. I was once severely scolded by my German hostess when I told her how I "tipped". She was shocked and told me in no uncertain terms that I was not to give more than just the bill rounded up to the nearest Euro. I can't quite do that. If the bill was, for instance, close to the nearest Euro, say 12,70€, I will give 14€ (fear-tsain Oy-row) instead of 13€.

Posted by Ms. Jo
Frankfurt, Germany
5381 posts

Tipping in Germany is usually about 10%. Lee is being cheap with a 60 cent tip on a bill of over 12 euro. It should be more like 1.25-1.50. Do remember, that in most restaurants, the server is also tipping out to the kitchen and the bartender. The kitchen tips get shared with the cooks, the dishwasher, and the prep cooks. If you are in a rural setting, with owners waiting on you, then yes, the tips can be less. If you are in a big city, tipping less than 10% is seen as stingy, though if your service was bad, then it is ok not to leave a tip at all. Servers do expect tips and management expects them to get tips too, as they are supposed to claim them for tax purposes. Having worked in a German restaurant as a manager, I do know what I am talking about. That Service Charge you will see on your bill goes to the restaurant and not to the server. It is a common misconception that the server gets this, so you need not tip at all. As to a "living wage", yes, they make more than they do in America and their employer is contributing half of the premium for their health insurance and they get 4 weeks paid vacation a year. But, they do have to pay 50% of their monthly health insurance premium our of their wages. The tarif for servers is between 7-9 euro per hour, gross pay. It depends on how many years they have been working. Subtract out their taxes and if they are single, they will bring home about 50% of their gross pay, after all the taxes, health insurance, church tax, and pension contributions are taken out.

Posted by JR
texas, usa
121 posts

thanks so much. That helps a lot! We have been tipping but we just wanted to make sure it was enough.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
6100 posts

JR, are you having a good time? For others reading, note that you do not leave the tip on the table-you include it in the amount you hand to the server as payment, and state how much (if any) change you want back. I try to carry enough denominations in cash that I can give the server the amount plus tip and use the "Stimmt so."

Posted by christie
upland, ca, usa
16 posts

I agree with jo. Tipping is around 10%. Less if service was marginal

Posted by Sarah
Stuttgart, Germany
2029 posts

Jo is right on the money (and about the money). I round up to whatever is closest to 10%. A little under or over seems to be OK if it's not significantly so in either direction. The most important thing to remember is as Lee points out, to tell them when you hand them the money how much you are giving them total. So say you have a bill of 27 euro, and you want to tip 3 euro, you would hand them your money and say thirty (in whatever language you're comfortable in) If you're paying by credit card, be sure and tell them how much you want the total to be (that is, bill plus tip) before they run the card, or else be prepared to have change to give to your server directly

Posted by Will
Columbia, SC
335 posts

Reminds me of when I first started eating out in Germany, I would say (in passable German), "Give me 5 euros back." It always took them a second to realize what I meant. Finally I overheard someone doing it the "correct" German way- just stating the total amount you want to the server to keep.

Posted by Sarah
Stuttgart, Germany
2029 posts

And Rick's advice on this issue is straight-up terrible and wrong - embarrassingly so. Unsurprisingly, tipping in "Europe" varies greatly from country to country. Germany is a country where 10% is standard. Northern Americans should not use traveling and "better pay" as an excuse to get out of tipping people who no matter what do not make enough money for the crap they have to put up with.