How and How Much to Tip in Germany
Giving a tip in German is ein Trinkgeld geben or simply Trinkgeld geben.
It's different from the US, and in this episode you'll learn:
- how much to tip for a coffee
- how much to tip for an inexpensive, sit-down lunch
- how much to tip for a nicer dinner out
And you'll learn what to say when you give the tip.
A lot of people ask me this question, and if they have an idea of the answer, it's usually a vague "You round up, right?"
That's actually pretty close!
How to tip for coffee:
Let's suppose you want to have a coffee in a café in Germany. You sit down and a friendly server comes and takes your order, and then brings you a beautiful, hot cup of coffee, and then checks in with you at an appropriate moment) and it costs EUR 3,60.
In this case, you could simply round up to EUR 4,00.
You could also take the change, and then hand your server a 50-cent piece.
That would work, too.
OR if you have a coffee from a server who simply brings it to you and there isn't anything particularly friendly about it, you drink it quickly and then pay, and it's definitely a transactional experience, if you don't leave a tip, it's not a big deal.
And yes, you should do all of this in cash.
How to tip for an inexpensive, sit-down meal:
If you take a friend out for lunch and it's a regular, priced, sit-down meal, and the server provided good service, simply add a couple of Euros. So if it's, say, EUR 38,00, you could leave 2-5 Euros depending on how attentive the server was.
How to tip for a nice dinner out:
If you're taking your special someone out for a nice dinner and the bill reaches the range of EUR 100 or more, then that's definitely the time to start adding anywhere from 5-10% to the bill.
And the more advice your server has given you about which wine, the food, and added to your overall dining experience, the more you might like to tip.
Tip when you pay the bill.
Unlike in the US, the time to tip is when you pay the bill, directly to the server (with cash, that is, which is still pretty often.) You'll need to say something like "Machen Sie es bitte EUR 40,00." (Please make it 40 Euros.) Or if you hand that server in the café EUR 4,00 and she should keep the change, then you say "Stimmt so!"
Don't leave the tip on the table, tip the server directly.
In German giving a tip is called ein Trinkgeld geben or simply Trinkgeld geben.
It's a small, but important point of Germanic culture, and culture is something you learn about a lot here.
Several people have asked me not only how much to tip when, but also how they could tip me for the podcast, because they've learned a lot from it. So I set up a link they and you can use to ein Trinkgeld geben.
The link is here and it's also at the bottom of every page on the website, like this:
It's there all the time now, 24/7, and if and when you should feel so moved, that's the link to use.
Like in German, it's an actual tip, and you get to tip what you want to by adding an additional amount to it, if you want.
Your homework for this week:
Your homework for this week is to write yourself a note or to set yourself a reminder to have cash on hand for smaller purchases in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. You can also practice the phrases to say to the server from this episode. Feel free to repeat it until you've got it down pat!
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Where does the verb go in that sentence?
Frau Warner's German Sentence Structure Guide will help you place everything correctly.
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- true-to-life sentence examples.
- English translations for every sentence.
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