Munich Greeter

How to tip in Germany


Germany is something special in how to tip right. Some of our greets show that, too. Tourists – especially from mediterranean countries – are always surprised, that in Germany the bill is paid immediately when the waiter/waitress comes to the the table – including the “tip-ritual”.

In other counries you don’t have to act that quickly. In countries like FRance or Italy, the money is taken and the waiter/waitress will bring the change. The guest then decides how much money he/she will leave at the table as a tip.

Not so in Germany. In most cases the waiter/waitress will bring the bill to your table, name the sum and wait right next to you for payment (including the tip). As they have big money-bags with them, they will change immediately…

This often causes misunderstandings between the waiter/waitress and the tourist. I’ve already seen two sorts of misunderstandings:

1) „OK-Problem“
A waiter/waitress hands the tourist (who can’t speak German) a bill saying 13,20 €. The tourist gives a 20 €-note and says „OK!“. The waiter/waitress shows the 20 €-note to the tourist with a questioning look. The tourist again: „OK!“. The waiter/waitress puts the 20-Euro-bill in her moneybag and says „Dankeschön!“ (thank you very much!). Some minutes later, the tourist realizes that the waiter/waitress won’t come back with the change…

2) „Problem of silence“
A waiter/waitress hands the tourist (who can’t speak German) a bill saying 13,20 €.. The tourist gives  a 20 €-note without saying anything. The waiter/waitress gives him back the change of 6,80 € and leaves. Some minutes later, the tourist realizes, that the waiter/waitress won’t come back to take the tip that he has prepared.

So if you don’t want to run into these problems, here is a short “how to”:

  1. in 90% of all cases, the waiter/waitress will hand over the bill and wait for the prompt payment.
  2. In 80% of all cases the waiter/waitress will ask first, if everyone wants to pay separately or one person takes the total. If everyone pays separately, the amounts to be paid are immediately calculated by the waiter/waitress. Then he/she expects the payment including the tip.
  3. If you can’t pay an exact amount (including tip), the waiter/waitress expects that you mention the sum you want to pay (including tip).

So when in Germany, you should calculate quickly how much tip you want to give 😉

P.S. By the way – tip is usually 10 percent of the bill.

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