The topic of tipping in Germany can often lead to insecurities. How much is normal? On the credit card as in other countries or cash? On the table or handed to the waiter or waitress?
While in the U.S. many waiters are heavily underpaid, so await a relatively high tip to earn their living, in Germany they are not. Service charges are included in all restaurant and pub bills. Nonetheless, it is customary to round up prices to the nearest euro, to leave two or three euro or up to 10% if in restaurants.
Normally, a tip is given to the waiter or waitress when paying the bill but leaving it on the table before departing has become well known as the custom of foreigners. Bartenders also prefer prefer a small tip rather than the offer of a free drink.
In hotels, service charges on the invoice is sufficient for most tips, though to tip bellhops, porters and room service about one euro per bag or service is ample. It’s also quite widespread in Germany to leave a small tip of around one euro per night in the room for cleaning staff. Whether a tip is given to the desk clerk depends on whether he or she could help with any special service.
Taxi drivers often receive tips of up to five or even ten percent of the metre charge. It is only recommendable to give more if one has particularly cumbersome or heavy luggage.