To tip or not to tip? That is the question. My answer to this is naturally it depends where you are.
Growing up in Australia, where tipping was not customary (and considered downright insulting to the older generation as Australia was the “workers’ paradise” with a strong minimum wages system) it was always a shock to go to the USA or Canada which had a strong tipping culture. I really noticed this as a graduate student in the USA where waitresses and other hospitality workers really relied on their tips as base income (employers could even lower the wage of their wait staff on the grounds that they’d get healthy tips).
I was once chastised by my American girlfriend for tipping the bar staff “too much” (she explained that wait staff, who were mainly women, got paid less than the bar tenders who were mainly men, so I should tip 15-20 per cent for the waitress but 10-15 per cent for the bar tender. Boy was it confusing!)
Some countries regard tips as insulting (they are proud of their service culture and don’t regard a tip as required) some as necessary given the low income of their staff.
Here’s just a few examples.
Japan, China, Vietnam, Thailand – Not typical
India 5-10 % for good service
Singapore, Malaysia 10 % for good service
USA, Canada 15 – 20 %
Mexico 15 %
Brazil not typical but up market restaurants may add 10-15 %
Argentina 10 %
Chile 15 % but added automatically to your bill
UK Germany 10 %
France, Italy – tip is included but consider a small tip for exceptional service
Russia 5-15 %
South Africa 10 % may be added or can be offered for exceptional service
Australia, New Zealand – not customary but a small tip can be offered for exceptional service
Source Bob Al- Greene/Mashable
My advice – when in Rome, do want the Romans do even if you are in Bangkok or Jakarta! Follow the local custom and local norms on tipping.
And when in doubt about the percentage err slightly on the generous side if you can.
More to read:
- Japan: 60 second business etiquette tip
- China: 60 second business etiquette tip
- Cultural tips for conducting business in Indonesia
The Airport Economist TV show on how to business in Qantas destinations in Asia and around the world is currently being shown on Qantas Domestic and International flights.
Don’t forget you can also watch the Airport Economist on YouTube, visit us on Facebook , find out the latest news on Twitter or network with us on LinkedIn. You can also send Tim a message or question here.