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Tipping in restaurants

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chicago, IL
posts: 15
reviews: 5
Tipping in restaurants

I've read conflicting information. Is tipping expected in restaurants and if so, how much?

Basel / Switzerland
posts: 2,472
reviews: 34
1. Re: Tipping in restaurants

Tips are included in the price BY LAW since 1974. Your bill contains the net price & V.A.T. including tips!!!

It has to be written on the bill. (Service inbegriffen in german / Service inclus in french / Servizio incluso in italian)

I nevertheless round up i.e. from 17.40 to 18.--

or from 143 to 150.--

if the service was charming and good, but only in this case.

chicago, IL
posts: 15
reviews: 5
2. Re: Tipping in restaurants

Thank you for replying. I'm currently in Switzerland (Brienz) and haven't noticed Service inbegriffen on the bill.

When we asked one server if the tip was included, he told us no.

Yet we read that tips were included by law, as you say.

It is very confusing!

Basel / Switzerland
posts: 2,472
reviews: 34
3. Re: Tipping in restaurants

The ba...rd cheated you. He knew that Americans are used to 15 % or more tips.

Philadelphia...
posts: 1,822
4. Re: Tipping in restaurants

My suspicions, too! Don't worry about tipping. It's just not common practice in Western Europe. Round up for good service, if you like, but consider the bill to include everything.

Hong Kong, China
Destination Expert
for Hong Kong, Osaka
posts: 32,049
reviews: 76
5. Re: Tipping in restaurants

Rounding up is enough. A Franc or two in most cases are more than enough if you feel the need to tip.

Edited: 10:54 pm, June 09, 2011
Mannheim, Germany
Destination Expert
for Zurich, Mannheim
posts: 13,079
reviews: 2
6. Re: Tipping in restaurants

Well, tips (gratuity) cannot be included, as they are by definition voluntary. Service fee is indeed included. But since Europe does not have this bizarre practice of making restaurant servers actually live from tips, they are a way to say thank you for an outstanding service, not a massive hidden fee like it is in US and Canada.

Martigny...
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
posts: 17,270
reviews: 113
7. Re: Tipping in restaurants

I understand the dilemma of the original poster!

Two weeks ago in Bern we were having lunch with some canadian friends in a "tourist" restaurant on the Barenplatz. We were all speaking English. Our friend, who had invited us for lunch, asked the waiter - not us! - whether the service was included. The waiter said "No it isn't". My husband and I were aghast! I told the waiter, in German, that this was not true and that since at least 1971 (because we were living in Geneva at that time and I remember it) service is included everywhere in the country. I also told him that we live here. He sort of muttered something and shuffled off.

So clearly waiters, in their own interest, are not telling the truth to customers whom they think will then add tips.

We do as Maetlzi does - we round up a little if the service is good. For example, last night we had an excellent dinner here in Martigny, served by a super waitress. The bill was 125frs. We paid with a credit card and left 2frs on the table. She was very happy and so were we.

Visakhapatnam
posts: 335
reviews: 25
8. Re: Tipping in restaurants

I had this experience this April in an Indian restaurant in Lucerne. The words "Service inbegriffen" or any other word was not printed on the bill. I asked the waiter whether service charges were included and he replied in negative.

Anyway, we left a small tip and we had no issues with it.

Martigny...
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
posts: 17,270
reviews: 113
9. Re: Tipping in restaurants

It is really outrageous! I have no problem whatsoever in leaving a little extra for good service but since service IS included the waiters are wrong to lie.

I am sorely tempted to write to the National Tourist Office and GastroSuisse to see what they can do (if anything) about it all.

Basel / Switzerland
posts: 2,472
reviews: 34
10. Re: Tipping in restaurants

This is an excellent idea.