We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Customary tipping etiquette?

San Francisco...
Level Contributor
129 posts
1 review
Save Topic
Customary tipping etiquette?

Just curious what is customary for tipping in restaurants? Here in the states we tip between 15-20%

Also do you tip a taxi/cab driver?

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
27,328 posts
85 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Customary tipping etiquette?

you don't tip in Italy -- in the US servers in most states make about half minimum wage -- it is assumed they make their income from tipping so tipping is mandatory (in the moral sense) if you don't tip, you are cheating the server.

in Europe, waiters are paid a decent wage and tipping is not part of the culture. it is appropriate to leave the change or in a nicer place a couple of Euro, but not percentage tipping (waiters in touristy spots know about US overtipping and may try to hint or ask for tips but service is included in all food bills)

for cabbies, same deal -- I usually round up or tip maybe 3-5% but not more than that

San Francisco...
Level Contributor
129 posts
1 review
Save Reply
2. Re: Customary tipping etiquette?

Thank you so much! I figured it would be similar, we spent a couple of weeks in Germany/France last year. But I didn't know if Italy was different.

Thank you for the advice, I'll make note of it! :)

Happy traveling!

Milan, Italy
Level Contributor
101 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Customary tipping etiquette?

A lot of the restaurants here will add a €2 (per person) service charge to the bill so you shouldn't feel the need to leave a tip. Depends on the food and service if you want to tip beyond this.

Level Contributor
214 posts
24 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Customary tipping etiquette?

wow - glad I saw this post. I would have tipped 15-20 % as we do in the USA.

I always tip for great service, so I hope we will not be disappointed in Iraly (I know we won't).

Milan, Italy
Destination Expert
for Milan
Level Contributor
2,008 posts
395 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Customary tipping etiquette?

Hi all

I quote Janettravels44 reply. Tipping is not mandatory but nowadays it is welcome to leave some money if you have enjoyed the food/place or if the waiter was helpful. Same deal for taxi drivers.

Enjoy your coming trip to Milan!

regards..

Pittsburgh...
Level Contributor
710 posts
63 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Customary tipping etiquette?

The service charge is not a tip. The coperto charge is not a tip either. In some restaurants you can be charged for both. The wait person does not benefit from either. Leaving a few euros is more customary if wanting to show the waiter appreciation. Although, in my experience, wait service is perfunctory. Waiters do not go out of their way to do more than take your order and deliver your food. Which I prefer over the constant interuptions from "friendly" wait staff in the US who ask over and over if everything is OK.

Milan, Italy
Level Contributor
14 posts
81 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Customary tipping etiquette?

If you understand you're served directly by the owner of the restaurant (it happens in small restaurants) tipping is considered inelegant.

Apart from this case, if you appreciate the service (a good advice on food and wine, for example) and you want to give a tip it will be appreciated.

If you're 2/3 people paying around 70/100 euros a 5 euros tip means clearly you appreciated the service.

Hong Kong, China
Destination Expert
for Hong Kong, Osaka
Level Contributor
58,476 posts
159 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Customary tipping etiquette?

There is no need to tip. Round up to the nearest Euro or two should be enough.

One has to understand that the wage structures work differently between the US and most of Continental Europe. In the US, wait staff are expected to earn a large portion of their income through service charge. In Italy, wait staff are paid a decent wage so if you give them something, it would truly be tipping.

Overtipping drives up prices in the long run as expectations rise.

Massachusetts
Level Contributor
1,445 posts
179 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Customary tipping etiquette?

I've been traveling in Italy for 25 years or so and this debate comes up often.

I am American and used to tipping 20%+. in the US (I worked as a waitress for many years to pay for my education) depending on service and the situation. In Italy, I used to tip 15-20%, was chastised (not by servers) on forums and some other travelers and started leaving only the little change or a couple of euros. I've decided that I'm simply uncomfortable with that. Tipping the breakfast lady 5e at the end of the albergho stay, the housekeeper 5e, the person who helped me figure out an apartment, 10E, leaving a few euros for lovely service, I am happy to contribute those amounts and the server/helper seems grateful.

I gwith aot to know a lady who worked the day shift at a bar, where I had breakfast, part of a locanda. I genuinely enjoyed her company, and learned a little about her life. She was paid 1000e monthly for her pleasant, efficient work, her rent was 700 euros, plus her obvious other expenses. I promise, tips were enormously appreciated by her.

While I don't tip 20% anymore here, if I had a 100e dinner bill with wonderful service, I'd tip a minimum of 10 euros. I have had many servers say "molto gentile," "grazie," etc. Never once has an Italian seemed to indicate that a 10% tip was crass or unappreciated.

Yes, it is an imported custom. Yes, Italians are paid a living wage (thinking about the locanda lady, where it was not sufficient without a roommate or other help), not like the meager $1-2 hourly+ tips I used to receive in the US. Yes, Americans can toss about money inelegantly and it's very unappealing to watch. However, times change, various customs are adopted and I think that especially in more challenging financial times here, a few euros given in appreciation for kind service can mean little to the giver in terms of money spent on holiday and a lot to the recipient. I'll continue to give what feels right to me.

Bologna
Level Contributor
170 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Customary tipping etiquette?

Imagine there's a country...

in which the customary tipping is about 100%, and where the average income is sensibly higher than in your country.

Imagine to see the restaurants in your neighborood flooded by tourists from that country, leaving on the tables large sums just because that's their custom and they "feel comfortable" in doing so.

Don't you think that the service you, the "extremely low tipper", are receiving in the future is going to be, sooner or later, poorer than usual?