Restaurant Tipping Conventions Around The World

ocktoberfrest waitress

When traveling around the globe, it is important to respect the customs of the local culture. For example, it is customary to remove your shoes before entering someone’s home in Japan. When eating dim sum in Hong Kong, it is considered polite to gently tap the table with two fingers when someone pours tea into your cup. And while tipping at a restaurant is expected when eating in a restaurant in Los Angeles or New York, it may not be as appropriate in Tokyo or Beijing.

Indeed, tipping conventions can vary considerably from country to country, including what is considered the standard gratuity for good service. Listed below are several countries from around the world and their respective cultural norms when it comes to giving a tip at a restaurant.

Australia

Australia: Tipping was not the norm in Australia in the 1980s, but the growing number of tourists from the United States have had a dramatic effect on expectations in the land down under. Attitudes have changed and a 10-15% tip paid directly to the server is typical. New Zealand is much the same way.

Canada

Just like in the United States, the expected tip at a Canadian restaurant is around 15%. A larger gratuity is appreciated by the staff for exceptional service.

China

Technically speaking, tipping the wait staff in a restaurant in China is not customary and it may not be allowed by management. This is because a service fee may already be added automatically to the check. However, cultural norms in China are changing, so it may be acceptable to tip discreetly as long as the amount is no more than 5%.

Costa Rica

A service fee is oftentimes included in the bill, but an additional tip is not out of the ordinary.

France

If the check says “service compris,” it means that a service charge has already been included and a gratuity is not required. If not, the standard tipping practice is to give the change back in coins, typically rounding to an amount that is convenient. The tip is very rarely more than 10% and it is always paid in cash, never on a credit card.

Hong Kong

A 10-15% tip is the norm when a service fee has not yet already been added to the check.

Italy

The cultural norms in Italy are very similar to France. You should always tip only in cash and never on the credit card. The tip usually consists of any spare or extra coins, adding up to no more than 10% of the total bill.

Japan

Whereas giving a tip is expected at nearly all restaurants in America, it can be perceived as rude or insulting in Japanese culture. This is because it can be interpreted as flaunting your wealth, placing the waiter or waitress in a lower social class than you. Japan is generally a society that does not believe in tipping.

Mexico

The normal tip at a restaurant in Mexico is between 10% and 15% of the total bill. Tipping in cash is generally preferred, as a tip given on a credit card may not go to the wait staff.

Taiwan

Many restaurants include a service fee of approximately 10%, so a tip is not expected. If there is no service fee added to the bill already, a 10-15% tip is generally appreciated.

United Kingdom

Some restaurants in the UK will add a service charge to the bill, but you may give an extra tip if the service was particularly good. If there is no service charge, tipping 10-15% rounded to the nearest British Pound is the customary practice.