‘Stimmt so!’ – How to tip in German gastronomy

Image © doigoi

Paying the bill in a German café, bar or restaurant can be quite a challenge if one is new to the country. In most cultures, it would go down like this: you ask for the bill, the waiter brings it, you give them the money and leave a tip on the table or leave the full amount plus tip on the table. Done. But not in Germany: no, they’re a little more upfront about it here.

So this is how it works:

          ­You ask for the bill by saying ‘Kann ich zahlen bitte?’ or, if you’re feeling lazy,      ‘Zahlen bitte’ (Literally ‘can I pay please?’)

          The waiter brings the ‘Rechnung’ (‘bill’)

          You check the ‘Summe’ (‘amount’) and let’s say it’s € 5,50

          If you were happy with the service, you would give the 10% standard German ‘Trinkgeld’ (‘tip’ – literally ‘drinking money’), resulting in about € 6

          You either give the waiter exactly € 6, saying ‘Stimmt so’ (‘That’s right’ / ‘that’s ok’) or if you have to pay with a € 10 or € 20 note, you would say ‘6 bitte’ (‘Make that 6, please’, yes, without the currency)

          However, if you prefer not to tip, simply give the waiter the money and say nothing – this usually results in an awkward silence where they may pause briefly or spend a long time fishing for the ‘Wechselgeld’ (‘change’) in their wallet and handing it to you reluctantly before walking away briskly.

As mentioned, the whole thing is a little upfront and confrontational, but once you’ve done it a few times, it’s easy. The hardest thing is not tipping them and having to admit this to their face – much harder than just not leaving a few coins on a table. But if the service was bad, why should you? A bit of German confidence is required here. Just be sure not to do a runner without paying (‘die Zeche prellen’).

By the way, 63% of Germans claim to be particularly ‘spendabel’ (generous) when it comes to tipping waiters abroad and knowing how much is appropriate to give!

Via wiwo.