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Aug 25, 2013 02:19 PM

Restaurant in Munich "All prices including VAT and service charge"

Heading to Munich next week, my first time in Germany. The quote above is from the restaurant menu at my hotel. If prices include service charge can I assume that you don't leave any additional tip? Or is a small "extra something" expected?

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  1. I generally add a few Euros, depending on the size of the bill.

    Tipping in Germany is 'intuitive', for lack of a better term -- my man still hasn't figured it out in decades of visiting and staying there, and I haven't been able to explain it well. Let me try....

    If the service is awful, obviously no tip is required. Waiters are paid living wage in Germany, so no worries there.

    If it's fine, and the bill is, say, 46.50 or such, you could round up to 50 Euro without being considered a cheap-ass (though many waiters of course know about the US tipping system, and often hope to receive a nice 20% tip when the tourists don't know any better).

    I'd say the larger the bill, the more you tip. I tipped 10% once at a very expensive, 1-star Michelin restaurant (the equivalent of a 3-star in NYC), and felt it wasn't enough - the total came to 420 Euro, and I tipped 42 Euro, the price of an entree, which seems ridiculous in Germany... but again, things are very different than here in the US.

    If your bill is below 20, I'd round up and add a euro or 2.

    Hope this helps. Somewhat.

    10 Replies
    1. re: linguafood

      I like the concept of "intuitive tipping". I rarely visit Germany but have never been quite sure what the tipping culture is there.

      I know that in France & Belgium service is included in the menu price and nothing further is required or expected. I would usually round-up to the nearest Euro value note. I also know that, here in the UK, if a service charge is added to the bill by the restaurant then I'm not leaving anything more (actually, in the comparitively rare cases where service is included in the menu price, I would rarely leave anything more, unless it was simply a pain to wait for small change to be brought).

      1. re: Harters

        I am glad you like it, but it's just very difficult to understand for foreigners.

        Again, any bill under 20 you're good rounding up plus a Euro, higher bills I might round up and add two, etc. ....

        I think not leaving anything -- not even rounding up -- unless the service was really bad (inattentiveness being the most common problem) might raise an eye-brow or two.

        1. re: linguafood

          So why do they say service charge included in the price if they still expect you to leave more? Yes, very confusing especially when researching online and reading different things. I'll be in Germany, Austria and London and the tipping is my biggest issue! Also, do you seat yourself in most restaurants or just very casual ones?

          1. re: Jpan99

            Because a tip isn't *required* as it is in the US. Harters shared his perspective on tipping in London, I can't say much about Austria, as it's sadly been forever since I've visited. Mmmmmkalbsgeschnetzeltes. Eierschwammerl. Good food.

            Most restaurants will have you seat yourself.

            1. re: Jpan99

              In London, expect 12.5% to be added to your bill as a service charge. The menu will state if they intend to do this and they will advise that it is always at the discretion of the customer whether to pay it. And it will be shown separately on the bill (rememeber that Value Added Tax - like an American sales tax - at 20% is already included in the menu price of the food and is not shown separately). Nothing further by way of tip is expected. If paying by card, be wary of deceitful places that levy a service charge then have their card machine programmed to ask if you want to leave a tip. It is, entirely, a rip-off designed to catch out the unwary.

              You will possibly come across the occasional restaurant which doesnt levy a service charge. In those cases, old fashioned tipping is the norm - at 10 - 12.5%. Tipping for meal in pubs is something outside the norm and whether it is required is very "intuitive", to use lingua's word. Roughly depends on whether it's really a bar serving food, where you order at the bar (in which case, tipping isnt required), or whether it is really a restaurant serving beer (in which case,a tip is appreciated at the usual rate).

              If you were venturing out of the London area, the tip rate in the rest of the country is 10%, although as I said, it is always discretionary and many folk don't tip or don't tip that much. By way of example, we seated next to a party of six at a place near home. Their bill came to £150 and they added a £5 tip, having clearly had a good evening. Not a problem to anyone.

              Restaurants in the UK will usually seat you.

              1. re: Harters

                ( Enjoy your trip and don't worry about the tipping. Although we have our different national customs, across Europe, about tipping, we don't obsess about it as many Americans seem to. Tipping is forever cropping up on Chowhound threads but you'd rarely see it on a European-led board. It's a non-issue for us.)

                1. re: Harters

                  Thanks. I was in England many years ago. I completely forget what I did back then. I'm just mostly concerned with offending someone by not doing the correct thing. I'm also used to paying the check and leaving the money and tip on the table which I guess isn't done in Germany. It's hard to change your behavior for 2 weeks! I'll have to keep reminding myself I'm not at home.

                  1. re: Jpan99

                    There are a few things I always keep in mind when traveling. I am a tourist. I will make mistakes. I will learn how to say please, thank you, and check in the local dialect. And no matter how much research and planning I do, things will go awry. So relax and enjoy the trip.

                    1. re: Jpan99

                      Um, yes. You can leave the the tip on the table, but it's just as easy to hand it to the wait staff when you're paying up.

                      Don't stress, it's a *holiday*.

                2. re: Jpan99

                  I think of the trinkgeld round-up as a way to let my server know I appreciated the service, which wouldn't be communicated if I only paid the non-negotiable service charge on the bill.

          2. If paying by credit card, we rounded up to the nearest euro and added a few extra. If paying cash, we would leave a couple on the table. I've always found Munich to be a cash driven place, so make sure to get more euros than you think you will need.

            If you are wandering through the English Gardens, stop by the beirgarten in the middle for a refreshing mas (measure) and grab a table. Both locals and tourists are there in numbers.