Have you ever wondered just how much you should be tipping at a restaurant? Did you know tipping varies depending on where you are in the world? So what is standard in the United States might not be standard when you head to Europe or south of the border on vacation.
First, standard United States tips:
Restaurant Tipping United States:
1. Waitstaff: 15% if adequate, 20% for very good service, no less than 10% on poor service.
2. Sommelier or Wine Steward: 15% of the cost of the bottle.
3. Bartender: 15-20% of the tab, minimum of 50 cents per soft drink, $1 per alcoholic drink.
4. Coatroom attendant: $1 per coat.
5. Parking valet or garage attendant: $2.
6. Staff at coffee shops or food retailers with jar: tipping optional.
Restaurant Tipping Other Countries:
Canada: Tipping in Canada is similar to the United States.
Mexico: 10-15% is customary in Mexico. Dollars are accepted, cash is preferred.
United Kingdom: Service fee usually tacked on, often referred to as an "optional charge." If not applied then tip should be 10-15%. Tipping in pubs is not expected.
France: Locals usually tip an additional 10% on top of the service charge on the check in restaurants. For some reason visitors are not expected to tip unless the service is excellent.
Germany: Adding a tip onto a bill is customary. Dollars accepted, euros preferred.
Italy: 10% tipping is customary. Oddly enough tipping gondoliers is not customary. (go figure!)
Switzerland: Most places include a 15% service charge; leaving a small additional tip is customary in fancier restaurants. It all depends on the service. When in doubt, ask someone local.
Australia: 10-15% is customary. While this custom was not common practice 25 years ago, it has since gained popularity. Tip is for good service.
While this doesn't cover every country you might be traveling in, it's always a good idea to check what the customary tipping is when you travel. Conde Nast and Emily Post are good resources for other countries' tipping customs.
Sources: Conde Nast/Emily Post