Tipping in Germany has its nuances. To be honest, the tipping culture is not strong when you compare it to the USA. It is even ok not to tip at all. Three percent of the population generally do not tip in Germany.
Tips are between five and ten percent in Germany. Most Germans tip for one-off services like food delivery, food servers at restaurants, hairdressers, and taxi drivers. The amount you tip differs on the type of service you receive. For a small or casual meal (like a beer and pretzel), or for drivers and bartenders, most Germans round up their bill and add a couple of euros.
Depending on which country you come from, you might be confused by when and how to tip in Germany. In this guide, you’ll learn how to tip like a local.
Fun fact: The word for tip in Germany is Trinkgeld, which literally means ‘drinking money’. 🍻
Should you tip in Germany?
The general rule of thumb for tipping in Germany is: ‘if the service was good, you leave a tip. If it wasn’t, why bother?’.
The service in German has different standards than in other parts of the world. Good service is measured by how quickly things are done and not by how much the staff smiles and does small talk.
To give you a better idea of how Germans think about tipping, I’ll share with you some facts.
In 2019, YouGov did a survey to ask Germans how much they would tip if their bill was 50 euros and the service was satisfactory. The results were:
- 75% said that they would leave a tip between two and five euros.
- 13% said that their tip would be below two euros
- 4% said that they would give more than five euros
- 3% said that they generally don’t tip
Every type of service provider expects a different kind of tip. Let’s look into some examples of tipping etiquette in Germany.
Tipping in Restaurants
A tip of 10% is generally expected at sit-down restaurants.
It is ok not to leave a tip if you are not satisfied with the service. If this is the case, you should tell your food server why you are not leaving a tip so they may (hopefully) be aware of what went wrong and help the restaurant do better next time.
Keep in mind that tipping in fast food restaurants or supermarkets is not common in Germany.
Tipping in Bars
If you have a drink at a bar, it is ok not to leave a tip or round up your bill to the next euro. For example, if your beer was 3.50 euros, you can tell your bartender to charge 4 euros.
If you order a taxi or Uber through a phone app, it is most likely that you can easily add a tip to your bill.
If you pay cash for your ride, it is common practice to round up the bill and add a couple of euros. For example, if your bill was 33.20 euros. You can pay 35 euros in total.
If you are happy with your cut and your hairdresser, you are encouraged to give a 5% tip. Some hairdressers have a piggy bank or box at the cash desk with their name on it where you can deposit your tip.
Movers are considered one-time service providers, so Germans usually tip them for their help.
For a short move, the tip for each mover is usually 5 euros per hour. However, for longer moves (like from Hamburg to Munich), 10 to 20 euros per helper is reasonable. The exact amount should be based on your own budget and how hard the move was.
Tipping delivery service
If you are an avid user of food delivery services or like your groceries to be delivered to you, you can tip your delivery person between one to two euros.
I sometimes order pizza at home. I live on the sixth floor without an elevator. I usually meet my pizza delivery man halfway and give him a two euro tip.
How to leave a tip in Germany?
Unlike other countries, you do not leave the tip on the table. When your food server brings the bill you need to let them know how you will be paying (cash, credit, or debit card).
Once your food server is ready to collect your payment, you should tell them the total amount you wish to pay (your bill + tip).
You have to be quick to let your waiter know that you will be leaving a tip. Otherwise, they will arrive at your table, ready to charge the amount on your bill.
Final thoughts on Tipping in Germany
Germans are known for their efficiency. The service industry shows this side of them very well. If you receive quick service, and you’re satisfied with it, you should consider leaving a tip in Germany.
Remember leaving a tip is up to you. 💵