TIPPING IN ITALY
When you are out dining at a foreign restaurant, one of the biggest cultural puzzles to solve is whether to give a tip or not. Throughout the world, tipping an individual could simply mean a kind act or it could be something compulsory and customary like in the US. This article is about Italy, so we are going to discuss whether you should tip in Italy.
Both servizio incluso and il coperto should be written on the menu in any sit-down restaurants. Il coperto simply means cover charge (usually around 1 to 3 Euros) and this pays for the bread and water that are usually served before the real meal. Servizio incluso is the service charge, which is around 10% – 20%. Your total due will include these two. You can also drop a few more euros on the table for a waiter if you feel particularly happy about the services you have received. This is however not at all mandatory.
If information about servizio incluso is not included in the menu, there should be a cover charge on your bill or some automatic tip. Therefore, the fact that you cannot find servizio incluso on the menu does not imply that you have to leave a tip. Also, if servizio non incluso is written on the menu, it does not imply that you are obligated to leave a tip. This is because tipping has to do with how much Italian waiters are paid when compared to places like the United States.
In Italy, waiters are not underpaid as is the case in other countries like the United States. So they don’t need tips to have a good income. In addition to the living wage a waiter gets in Italy, he also gets other benefits like a paid vacation and health benefits from the government.
CAN I TIP IN ITALY?
The answer is yes. When you go to a restaurant for the first time and aren’t sure if you should tip, it’s best to copy what the other customers are doing. It is sometimes customary to leave a 2 euro coin or more on the table when leaving a restaurant, or even after a morning coffee at the bar. Also, if your waiter gets the tip before he serves you, there is a good chance that you will receive better service.
10% – 15% of your bill may be the standard for tipping in the US. However, Italians do not receive tips very often, and they usually only receive a few coins. So, an Italian waiter naturally will not expect that much.
If you don’t feel okay with leaving nothing behind on your table, then a few coins will do.
You can either put a tip on the credit card or leave a few extra coins on the table. It’s also a good idea to round up the bill to the next whole number and let that serve as the tip.
The same rules apply to taxi drivers as well. But note that while tipping is good and serves as an incentive, it is not necessary. So you do have to feel obligated to tip if you do not want to.