Restaurants At the bottom of a restaurant bill is the line “service 15% compris”. In practical terms it means that the price for a dish or drink on the menu includes tax and tips and there are no hidden surprises. However, most serving staff are on fixed contracts and salaries, so this goes to the owner. Most French people will leave an additional tip of around €2 if the service has been moderately good, more – around 15% – if it is exceptional. These tips should be left in cash on the table. They may be added to a pot for all the serving staff or pocketed by individual waiters.
Bars As in restaurants, the service is included in the price in cafes and bars. If you are at a table, or on a terrace, the prices will be slightly higher than at the bar (where the service is minimal) and the waiter will not expect, but will hope for, a small tip – usually a few coins – when he brings the change. In most bars customers are not expected to pay upfront – you order, you consume, you get a bill, you pay – but if you do pay upfront you are expected to stay at the bar and not go and sit down.
Taxis Again there is no obligation, but taxi drivers do expect you to at least round up to the next euro and, if they have helped you catch that train, add another euro or two in your Taxi in Leyland.
Hotels This depends on the establishment. A good idea is around €1 per large bag. With the chambermaid it’s traditional to leave €1 a night (€1.50 if you’re feeling generous), but many people don’t. The person delivering room service will hope for a couple of euros.
A TripAdvisor survey in August 2014 found that 15% of French customers never tip, up from 7% the previous year. More than a third said they leave less than in previous years.
In lower-end restaurants tipping is not expected, but you can round up the bill to the nearest euro. In middle- to high-end restaurants you can leave a few euros, up to a maximum of 5%, if you were happy with the service. If a staff member goes out of their way to translate a menu, or ensure your preferences are taken into account, it’s worth tipping an extra euro or two. At Michelin-starred restaurants tipping can go as high as 10% to reflect what should be a higher level of service.
Bars Bartenders don’t expect any kind of tip. If you’re getting table service, it’s worth rounding up the bill to the nearest euro.
Taxis No tip is expected, but rounding up to the nearest euro will suffice.
Hotels Tips aren’t expected, but if you’re in a high-end hotel and a porter helps you with your bag, they should be tipped about a euro per bag. A euro or two for the room cleaner is not expected, but always welcome.
Good to know People working in Spain’s hospitality industry are generally full-time employees who are paid a salary. However, the economic crisis has introduced a degree of precariousness into the industry, meaning tipping is always appreciated.