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Tips for Tipping in Restaurants Abroad

Aug 28, 2015

Experiencing another culture is an education in itself. There’s so much to learn, and it’s the little differences that are sometimes most interesting. One of the differences you might notice in your journey is how people tip in restaurants. To help you get a taste of what to expect, here are some things you should know about tipping when you dine out in other parts of the world. 

Tipping in the United States

  • Tipping is customary at most sit-down restaurants that offer table service. A 15-20 percent gratuity is considered normal, based on the quality of the service. 
  • At a buffet, consider leaving $1-2 per person to tip wait staff for clearing plates.
  • Americans tend not to tip for carryout or fast food.

Tipping in Europe

  • While it varies from country to country, tips in Europe are typically seen as a small, extra “bonus” for exceptional service.
  • Check the menu to see if a service charge is already included; if it isn’t, a tip of 5-10 percent is normal. In most places, 10 percent is considered a big tip.
  • It's generally preferred to hand the tip directly to the waiter, rather than leaving it on the table. 

Tipping in Asia

  • In Asia, tips are not expected in street food stalls or local eateries. However, it is customary to provide a gratuity at more expensive restaurants.
  • In India, tips (or “baksheesh”) are considered a small token of appreciation for excellent service, and should be offered subtly. 
  • Tipping is generally not expected in Japan, China or Korea, though it is becoming more popular as a result of international tourism.  

Planning to live with a host family when you study abroad? Here are more etiquette tips you should know