Tipping culture and etiquette is different all over the world, and it’s often an aspect of visiting a foreign country that causes a lot of confusion.
If you’re going on a trip to Germany you might be wondering how the tipping culture differs from the tipping culture back home.
For example, how much do you tip, and who do you tip? Well, our article has the answers!
We’ll tell you everything you need to know about tipping in Germany, but first let’s answer the question – is tipping in Germany even a thing?
How Popular Is Tipping In Germany?
Put simply, in Germany you generally only tip if you receive good service. Interesting, the German expression for tip is ‘Trinkgeld’ which literally translates into ‘drinking money’
In Germany, they have high standards when it comes to the service they receive. In Germany good service is usually characterized by being served quickly and the quality of what you’re served being excellent.
It’s not generally characterized by how friendly or charming your server is.
We can get a clearer picture of German attitudes towards tipping by taking a look at the results of a poll conducted in 2019.
People in Germany were asked how they would tip if they received a 50 euro check in an establishment where the service was good.
75% said they would leave a 2-5 euro tip, 13% said they would tip less than 2 euros, 4% said they would give a tip over 5 euros, and 3% said they normally don’t tip at all.
When And Where Is Tipping Acceptable?
It is generally expected to leave a tip at a restaurant. However, if you’re unhappy with the service you received you’re not expected to leave any tip.
But if the service is exceptional, leaving a hefty tip is a great way to show how much you appreciate the excellent service.
It’s important to remember that being a server in a restaurant or café is one of the lowest-paid jobs in Germany, and is very demanding.
Still, if you are not sitting down in a café and just buying a coffee to go, you don’t really need to tip.
This is also the case for food delivery, serve-yourself buffets, hotels, courier services, parlors, salons, and tours.
However, just because it’s not generally expected to give a tip, that doesn’t mean you can’t leave a tip if you receive good service and want to show your appreciation.
The most unusual place to tip in Germany would be in a supermarket, as you put your groceries in your bag yourself, therefore a tip is not needed.
Free Tours are incredibly popular in Europe, and Germany is no exception.
These are normally led by local young people who take tourists around their city for free, and give you the option to leave a tip if you had a good time.
You don’t have to tip if you don’t want to, but you should give something to your tour guide as the whole business is supported by tips given voluntarily and they tend to do an excellent job! 5 euros would be acceptable.
How Much Should You Tip?
There isn’t necessarily a tipping amount in Germany that’s widely considered acceptable. However, it’s the norm to give a small tip.
Most people will just round the bill up to the nearest euro with the addition of a couple more. A 10% or 5% tip is appreciated at restaurants while a 15% tip is very generous indeed!
How Do You Tip In Germany?
In most places, tips are commonly left on the table you were sitting at, but this isn’t the case in Germany.
Instead, when the time comes to pay the bill, your server will come to your table with the bill, your wallet, and a card machine.
If you would like to pay your bill with cash and would like to give a tip, let the server know how much change you would like to have back – if you would like any change at all.
You can instead give all the change as a tip.
If you’re paying by card, just let the server know how much of a tip you would like to add to your bill before your card is swiped.
However, if you want to make sure the tip just goes to your server, it’s recommended to tip them in cash.
Some businesses may also have a piggy bank at the cash counter where you can add a couple of coins if you’d like.
Plus, outside a lot of public restrooms you will see a coin dish and a sign that clearly states how much you’re expected to put in there. This is normally about 50 cents.
This is the only time you would ever be expected to tip, as this money is given to the cleaning staff who keep the restrooms sparkling clean.
So as you can see, there are a few nuances to tipping in Germany. However, tipping is not as prevalent in other countries such as the USA.
In fact, you don’t have to tip at all if you don’t want to, and 3% of the German population never tip.
Tips are normally between 5% and 10% in Germany, and Germans will occasionally give small tips to food delivery, taxi drivers, and hairdressers.
However, how much of a tip you give depends on the quality of the service you receive.
If you’re just having a beer, then most Germans will tip bartenders by rounding up the bill and adding a couple of euros.
Efficiency is a big deal in Germany, and this is seen clearly in the service industry, so if your service is quick and to a high standard, it’s expected to leave a tip.