When you travel abroad, getting the local customs right can get tricky at times. This includes the rules of tipping in restaurants - every country and every culture has its own rules, and you want to get them right (or at least I do). Recently, Zuzi and I visited France and, more specifically, the Basque Country, and I must say we found the tipping rules quite confusing: you have to look in the menu or at the bill to see whether the tip has been already included, and then the recommended amount of the tip is not always clear - we were told it was 15% in a Michelin-star restaurant (the very lovely Briketenia, highly recommended both for the views and the food, although we found the delicious desserts to have slightly overpowered the courses that preceded them), but someone else suggested that a lower tip was more common. So what should you do to tip like a pro in the Czech Republic?
To your luck, the tipping rules in the Czech Republic are pretty straight-forward. Here are the main rules and some additional tips:
- The bill that you get for your meal does not include tip, which is paid extra. Tipping is not mandatory but is very common. You should refuse to give a tip only if you've been truly dissatisfied with the service - when you don't tip at all, always tell the staff why.
- The usual tip amounts to about 10% of the bill, but you can give more if you're truly happy with the service, or less, for instance if you're happy with the food, but not some much with the service. When I talk about 10% of the price, I mean the price of the food ordered. If you order a EUR 100 bottle of wine, you don't have to give a EUR 10 tip for the waiter opening it.
- If you pay with a credit card and use the payment terminal, ask whether you can include the tip after you confirm the amount of the bill. Some terminals let you confirm the bill and THEN ask you for a tip, but other terminals lack that option, which will leave the staff without a tip if you have no cash on your hands.
- A "pro" tip: When the Czechs pay their bill, they give the money to the waiter and inform them of the total amount of the bill they wish to pay, including the tip (e.g., when your bill is CZK 800 and you want to give a CZK 100 tip, you hand out a CZK 1000 note to the waiter and say, with confidence, "nine hundred"). The waiter will take the money, and give CZK 100 back, i.e. withhold the tip right away. If you're not comfortable with this, the usual procedure can be used, too - just let the waiter give you the exact change and then leave the tip on the table.
- Beware of tourist traps! Some restaurants in touristy locations may include the tip in the bill, and then solicit another tip. However, these cases are extremely rare.
Personally, I tend to be very generous with my tips (to the extent that Zuzi may at times express some protests against the amount) - I used to wait tables in a very popular bar/restaurant when I was a student, and I can appreciate how difficult the job is. But the final tip is really up to you. If you're satisfied, 10% is fine; if you're not satisfied, give less or nothing (and contact us for tips on where to go for your next meal).