A viral tweet has sparked a heated debate about European and American tipping cultures.
Across the continent, 10 per cent is widely considered an acceptable tip when eating at a restaurant. But in some European countries, tipping is not expected at all. And at bars everywhere, it is practically unheard of.
Yet this falls far from the standards of other countries like the US, where large tips are not only expected but relied on by servers.
“I hate Europeans sometimes,” the tweet reads, referring to a tip of 10 per cent. At the time of writing, it has been viewed almost seven million times. “They are basically the worst customers,” one Twitter user replies.
It’s not just the money people are taking issue with, either. Europeans are accused of “being brusque or forceful” with waiters and “camping at tables” for hours.
Yet more replies shine a light on this “misdirected rage”. In America, rock bottom salaries are often topped up to the minimum wage with tips – a practice that many are calling out as exploitative.
“Go live in a country that pays service workers a liveable salary without resorting to customer charity,” tweets one user. “Your model of Hyper Capitalism is your problem,” says another.
The debate highlights the importance of understanding cultural norms around tipping when travelling. Here’s a rundown of tipping cultures around the world so you don’t get called out on your next trip.
How much should you tip in Europe?
In many western and northern European countries, such as Germany and the UK, a 10 per cent tip is considered polite when dining out. In some restaurants, a 10 to 12 per cent discretionary service charge is automatically added to the bill. Elsewhere, it is voluntary but expected – particularly in higher end establishments.
Tipping is less common in France and Italy, though it is still appreciated. In countries like Greece, there is not a strong tipping culture among locals but it has become more expected from tourists.
Unlike in the US, restaurant staff are usually paid minimum wage without relying on tips to top up their salaries.
How much should you tip in North America?
In the USA, a 20 per cent tip is standard at a restaurant. It is not uncommon to pay upwards of 25 per cent for good service. Tax is often added to the bill at the end – tips should be additional to this.
In bars, people often tip a dollar or more with every round.
In Canada, tipping standards are also higher than in Europe, with 15 to 20 per cent considered acceptable.
How much should you tip in Central and South America?
While tipping is not necessarily part of the local culture in Central and South American countries, it has become more common with the arrival of mass tourism.
Generally, 10 per cent is considered an acceptable tip.
Due to Mexico’s proximity with the US, higher tips may be expected in tourist hubs like Cancun and Playa del Carmen. Some restaurants may add a service charge to the bill.
How much should you tip in the Middle East?
There is no blanket rule for tipping in the Middle East. While it is not common practice in some countries, in others it is a way of showing appreciation for good service. Some see it as a form of ‘alms’ to help underpaid workers, while others may even see it as a bribe or show of wealth.
Generally, tipping is not expected but it is appreciated. But in tourist areas, such as Dubai, a tip of 10 to 15 per cent is expected and may be automatically added to your bill.
How much should you tip in India?
Tipping isn’t necessarily part of the local culture in India but it is often expected of tourists. Often, small change is given rather than a specific percentage. Street food vendors are unlikely to expect tips.
Since you may be expected to tip for services from bag carrying to rickshaw driving, tipping often but in small amounts is a good rule of thumb.
How much should you tip in Africa?
Tipping culture varies across Africa. In most countries, tips are not expected at local restaurants, but they are expected as appreciation for good service.
In some tourist destinations, service will be added to the bill or a 10 per cent tip is suitable. Tips are often expected and appreciated by hospitality sector workers, many of whom receive low wages.
In South Africa, a 10 per cent tip is customary at restaurants.
How much should you tip in East and Southeast Asia?
Tipping culture is not common across East and Southeast Asia.
In China, it is practically non-existent and is sometimes considered rude. In Japan, tipping often causes offence and tips may be turned down. This is partly because many workers pride themselves on providing exceptional service at all times – not dictated by tips.
Some South Koreans share this sentiment, though a service charge might be added at higher end restaurants in big cities.
Tipping is not customary at local restaurants in countries like Cambodia, Thailand and Laos. Though it likely won’t cause offence, it may cause confusion. In bigger cities like Bangkok, higher end restaurants typically include a service charge on their bills.
How much should you tip in Australia and New Zealand?
In Australia, 10 per cent is considered an acceptable tip at a restaurant. While tipping is not essential, it is appreciated.
In New Zealand, tipping is not customary or required but a 10 per cent tip may be appreciated.