Tipping in Europe

In researching a spring trip to Florence, I stumbled on this,

And found the part about “coperto” , “servizio” and "service is included " especially helpful.

Hope the screenshot is okay; I’ll tag for moderation just in case.

I can’t believe i could find an existing thread, but I found two tip threads that got locked.

Tip threads getting locked? No. Way. :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:


Tipping is totally optional in most of Europe.
Generally, you just round up the bill or leave your change on the table.

From hanging around Chowhound for many years, I know that many Americans seem fascinated by the subject of tipping. I doubt whether it crosses the minds of many Europeans, whether at home on when we’re on holiday, as we know it’s invariably optional.

Here in my part of Europe, it is discretionary - and even the increasing number of restaurants which add a service charge will note that discretion on the menu. Of course, they hope that customers won’t use their discretion to not pay.

Thanks all! I have read previous threads on the subject, but thought it was interesting to read about the phrases other than “tips” that folks from the USA might not be clear on.

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I’m in Denmark, Europe and know several people in the restaurant industry.

I ONLY and I stress ONLY ever tip a waiter, if I feel they have provided me with something extra service wise or food/drink wise.
It’s their job to service me and they get a decent pay.

I don’t tip people behind the counter in supermarkets either. Unless they have given me that extra bit of service.

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European here, traveling in the US right now. The big difference is that here in the US tipping is always in your face. You literally cannot complete a payment in a restaurant, bar, coffee shop, bakery, taxi without deciding on if you will be tipping and if so how much.

That’s just different in Europe, where tipping is very much under the radar. Tipping does occur frequently though in Europe, but not often say 18% (which is the minimum automated tip on machines I see here in the states).

Big cities like London and such sometimes there is an included service charge. No problems for me paying that.

In Italy you do often have the mandatory bread basket, but it’s not that much. If you like your experience in Italy just tip, nobody will ever hate you for that… :slight_smile:

But watch out for the bastards who levy a service charge and then have a tip line on the bill (or a tip facility on the card machine). It’s designed to catch out the unsuspecting foreigner who knows what a tip is but may not know that the service charge is the same thing - so they effectively tip twice. It’s not commonplace, of course, but it does happen (particularly where you’re going to find a lot of foreign tourists, like central London).

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I was under the impression that the service charge goes to the restaurant, while a cash tip goes to your server. Is that not so? I’m still a bit confused about tips on credit cards, and maybe it varies.

During a recent visit to London, Amsterdam, Bruges and Paris we were struck by the almost universal use of “contactless chip card” . The ones with this symbol on them.


I read a little of the other thread. Another American that feels the need to impose American standards on the rest of the world when traveling and ruining it for the rest of us.

There isn’t a line for tips in Italy and most of the rest of Europe on the CC machine because they don’t do it. Why do so many Americans insist on leaving tips everywhere they go?

I can’t speak for “so many Americans”, but I think my husband thinks it’s simpler than worrying about if this is one of those situations where you should. We are trying to educate ourselves though, and when we saw “service charge” we did the “round up” thing, but generally on a credit card. I’m still uncertain how that works.

Also, I seem to recall easy “opportunities” to leave tips, but maybe it was rare. I’ll see if I kept any receipts.

In spite of the “American imposing standards and ruining it”, I felt like I learned something on that thread.

The service charge IS the tip.

Thank you! Who does the service charge, when included on the bill, and paid with a credit card go to? The server or the restaurant/owner?

That is the most common scenario for us.

Maybe it doesn’t matter in Europe, but I am curious.

The actual arrangements will vary between restaurants as it’s a matter for employer and employees. In some places, it will be divided in some way between all employees and, in others, just between front of house staff.


People in Europe do tip (quite frequently). There is indeed no line on the credit card bill but we just round it off.

Say a bill is 82.90 I’d just say make it 90 to the waiter. He will then give me the credit card machine with 90 euro on it.

I used to be a waiter in a big restaurant in my hometown, a historic building where many people came to celebrate birthdays and such. I often got 20% tip, sometimes even on large 700 euro bills.

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Thank you! An interesting read, and of course, here in the SF Bay Area there are all kinds of extra charges. I’m going to predict someone will say that article is about what happens in the US ( or more likely “America”), and does not reflect anywhere else on the planet. :wink:

No kidding.

I forgot which restaurant in the Bay Area, but we got a bill one time with line item for “Gender Appropriate Restroom Retrofit”.




Rick Steves opinion on many countries in Europe.

true. but very dated.
US “tips” now run to the minimum 20% with “encouraged” 30%

just close your eyes and “believe” the idiocy that tipped staff only make $4.75 per hour… it’s a total falsehood, but extremists only deal in false.

tipped staff make the minimum prescribe local/state/federal wage.
if the hourly wage does not work out to minimum local/state/federal wage, the employer must legally pay more to meet those minimums.

the situation in Europe is “similar, but different” from country to country.
the ‘rounding up’ convention is quite common.
a 10%-15%-20% tip is not common.
I had a roommate who quite gleefully worked Salzburg eateries during the summer tourist break - because the American Sound of Music Tourist tipped exceedingly generously to local standards. the eateries employed him with glee, as his English was well above average, and he worked there as the tips were well above average.