tiistaina, syyskuuta 26, 2006

TIE: German restaurant tipping

As I understand, most of the young waitresses and waitors in German restaurants are students, who have a so-called 400-Euro-Job (link in German. I'm not sure how much of their salaries are paid by tips, but I would guess a great deal. As I came to Germany, I was told that normally tipping is not necessary, but the waitors expect you to round the sum up: 2,50 becomes 3 euros and so forth. Furthermore the tip must be said to the waitress when paying, and not left on the table. Giving back money you just received might be considered rude.

This was of course what I also told my visitors, and what I myself practised for the first year. Normally I just rounded the sum up to the next convenient sum, so that I'd get a nice round amount of change. Of course, I rewarded a waitress for excellent service more handsomely, but I also did not leave a tip at times when the bill was for example an even ten.

It has come to my attention though, that rounding things up is not the way to go in Germany. Truthfully, you are expected to leave a tip no matter what the sum is. If you eat and drink for 12,00 euros, an accurate German "rounds it up" to 13,50, thereby leaving the 5-10%, the waiter is expecting. Tipping exact amounts is also pretty common. I've seen a bill of 11,20 go up to 12,20. Thereby not helping the waiter with the small change, but rather leaving a very exact tip of a euro.

In Finnish culture, tipping is a matter of person and mood. The waiter is not going to be surprised whether he gets a tip or not. Some people tip, some don't and it is quite accected that you pay precisely the amount on the bill. In dining places, tipping is more common. (and yes, there is a definate division of dining places and drinking places up there)

However, comparing the tipping culture is not really possible, since restaurant service in Finland is nonexistent. A pub, where on a busy friday you get your drinks and orders taken from and carried to the table is something you find hard (if not impossible) to find in Helsinki. They make you exercise and walk to the bar every time. In worst case scenario, there's a line at the bar, so you have to wait for your drink... And the more stylish and posh the bar is, it does not help: only the price gets higher. So who wants to tip?

9 kommenttia:

Osakeyhtiö Huovinen kirjoitti...

Juho, that's so true in pubs and nightclubs.

But in dining restaurants you get quite good service in Helsinki - also if compared to Germany (well at least to Hamburg which I have something to say).

Altough the service-level might be good in restaurants, the price-quality level in Finnish restaurants (all included) and hotels is below average according to foreign travellers. So the prices are too high to what we get.

Anna kirjoitti...

So actually the system in Germany seems to work pretty well - you pay a little extra and you also receive good service (I'm so over having to wait for a drink at a bar!!).

Here, on the other hand, the service is mostly great (if somewhat over-perky...that's the American way) but the tips are annoyingly high. I know this is because of the abysmal salaries the waiters get, and for that reason I never fail to tip nicely, but I'd much rather just hear a price and then add a little extra on top, as a reward for good service. As it is, you tip 15 % MINIMUM - and this doesn't yet say anything about the service. To make a point you tip more. So it's a drag always making sure that you tip the right amount - and not just in restaurants (taxicabs, hair salons, bell hops, valets ... and everywhere it's a slightly different rule)

Anna kirjoitti...

So actually the system in Germany seems to work pretty well - you pay a little extra and you also receive good service (I'm so over having to wait for a drink at a bar!!).

Here, on the other hand, the service is mostly great (if somewhat over-perky...that's the American way) but the tips are annoyingly high. I know this is because of the abysmal salaries the waiters get, and for that reason I never fail to tip nicely, but I'd much rather just hear a price and then add a little extra on top, as a reward for good service. As it is, you tip 15 % MINIMUM - and this doesn't yet say anything about the service. To make a point you tip more. So it's a drag always making sure that you tip the right amount - and not just in restaurants (taxicabs, hair salons, bell hops, valets ... and everywhere it's a slightly different rule)

Juho kirjoitti...

Anna: Getting "good service" in Germany is by no means the general rule. There is plenty of service, but the quality varies and is often even rude compared to American or even Finnish service (If you find it).

For example a German waitress is quite likely to roll their eyes or express their frustration in other ways, when they are waiting for you to pay, or if you can't decide on the drink right away. Like Wikitravel says "Germany is a developing country in mens of service..."

Also, if you do something stupid like spill a drink on the floor, you almost certainly get an expression of frustration from the German waitor. Even a verbal one. I'm not sure if this is done as a humoristic gesture to ease up the humiliating situation, or does the waitor really just show their feelings..? I find it offending, anyways.

Juho kirjoitti...

Wikitravel doesn't say anything about Finniyh service... Just look for the word service in this article. All you find is "a bus service" "train service"... See the whole word has a different meaning... Nonexistent.

Ralf kirjoitti...

I never left a tip because I had to. I did and do the finnsh way (and a lot of my german friends do so). If the waitress gave me a smile and the wine tasted fine - tip! If the waiter, a former lumberjack and pitbull-owner, left his snot on my cheese-tomato-sandwich - no tip!

See, why should i pay more than the numbers on the bill, if i didn't get a good service? And the other way round, why should't leave a tip, if the service was good and the waitress had a plunging neckline! ;-)

Rööö kirjoitti...

The tips are normally extra to the official 400 €. ;)

Anna kirjoitti...

Doesn't sound so good after all - actually, it sounds pretty horrendous!

There's no way I would ever tip if the waiter rolled his eyes at me...

Anonyymi kirjoitti...

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