City IndexHow much do people tip around the world?
How much should you tip wait staff in restaurants in Beijing, Reykjavik and Seattle? This week, City Index compares the excepted tipping percentage in cities around the world.
Although money can buy you nearly anything these days, it cannot buy you class. Tipping at restaurants around the world has been met with mixed emotions, and is addressed as an antiquated European idea that has morphed into an American plague. In a large majority of nations a tip is residual bribery. Manners, however, are being outweighed by economic need. Although places like Japan and French Polynesia continue to reject tips out of custom, tipping between 5% and 10% is becoming increasingly common.
Below are the varieties of suggestions for tipping around the world. Although the numbers often fluctuate between type of restaurant and particular region, start here.
We chose 8 CITIES across the globe, from Phnom Penh to Luxembourg City, to retrieve our data.
Average salary, 1 year experience: 2,823 Yuan Renminbi per month for a 51-hour work week
Average meal cost: 40–70 Yuan Renminbi
Tipping is not expected but has been infused into the scene by foreign travel. The small percentage is only expected in major cities. Even though China has only recently embraced tipping, Hong Kong usually adds a 10% service charge to the bill that is open to amplification at the diner’s discretion.
Average salary, 1 year experience: 389,059 ISK per month for a 42-hour work week
Average meal cost: 2,000–3,000 ISK
Iceland’s price of consumer goods and services is growing fast in the EU—it was 12% above the EU in 2013 and is expected to grow to 20% this year. Lucky for everyone a 15% service charge is usually rolled into the bill?
$1 per diner
or up to $10 in ‘Westernized’ restaurants
Average salary, 5 years since first job: 910,676 riels per month for a 37-hour work week
Average meal cost: $5–$10
Although tipping is not required, the country is considered “low income” by the World Bank and your server could likely use the funds. The US dollar, Thai bhat, and Cambodian riel are all common currency.
Average salary, 5 years since first job: 19,516 rupee per month for a 50-hour work week
Average meal cost: 160–320 rupee
Pakistan is not quite a tipping culture, so discretion is key. Bringing money directly to your waiter (rather than leaving it on the table for managerial staff to swipe) is ideal.
to the waiter
Average salary, 5 years since first job: 5,782 Rand per month for a 42-hour work week
Average meal cost: 100–150 Rand
Hands down, stick with cash when you can. Employees in Johannesburg often only get paid their credit card tips once a month. Although the Restaurant Association of South Africa claims that no tips there should be compulsory since minimum wage in the hospitality sector was instated in 2007, you better watch your ass in Cape Town and make sure you put down that 10%!
of the bill
Average salary: $47,000 annually
Average meal cost: $14–$22
41 out of 50 states pay tipped workers (hosts, runners, bussers, bartenders, and servers who receive $30 in tips directly or indirectly over the course of the month) $5 or less per hour. Tips are then prorated to make sure workers make at least the minimum wage per hour. The lowest minimum wage in the country is Wyoming at $5.15 per hour.
Down with doggy bags
Servers are often tasked with wrapping food to go, which is always inconvenient. Although it is common custom to walk out of an American restaurant with half of your hefty dinner’s portion, a majority of locales around the world find the practice tacky, rude, and insulting. Australia, for example, throws out up to 20% of purchased food, which totals nearly $8 billion worth and four million tonnes of edible food a year, but refrains from the doggy bag. The practice is seen as particularly insulting in the Middle East and France. The good news? From America to India, lots of unfinished food gets donated to staff, public servants working at all hours, and the poor.
In Argentina and sometimes Chile, a cubierto charge on the bill is not a tip but more of a cover charge. It is a fee that traditionally pays for bread and/or utensils, but will not grace your waiter’s pocket. This is also referred to as a coperto in Italy, and is considered a sitting charge per person. Similarly in Denmark, a fixed 25% VAT tax and often 15% service charge included in your bill will go right back into the restaurant.
Don’t be fooled: service charges often go to the restaurant manager and not the staff. In Taipei, it has become common custom to include a 10% service charge on restaurant bills. Under Taiwanese law, however, this income is slated as restaurant revenue and is under no obligation to be given to staff, and is not stated on a waiter’s paperwork. Additional tips are welcome, and split among the team, but often only supplied by American or European tourists. The same is true in France, where waiters are salaried and “service charges” support overall revenue rather than friendly interactions. The French tronc (also known as a “tip pool”) might be some of the problem. This “common fund into which tips and service charges are paid for distribution to the staff” may end up in any number of pockets, in varied percentages.
Lawsuits have popped up in America over claims of insufficient compensation for extra hours spent doing “sidework” (folding napkins, polishing glassware, and other preparatory tasks) and the sharing of tips with back-of-house workers. A number of American restaurants have been trying to do away with tips completely by embedding gratuity in prices or adding a service charge.