Tipping in France and Spain

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Kate
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Tipping in France and Spain

Post by Kate » Mon 04 Jan 2010 13:01

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I am wondering if you could give me some advise about tipping in France and Spain. My understanding has always been that you do not tip in France, except for a very small amount if you are satisfied. Time and time again I come across people who insist that you must leave at least 10% of the bill if not more.
In Spain I am never sure what the situation is because usually nothing is printed on the bill as it usually is in France.

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john
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Post by john » Mon 04 Jan 2010 14:12

My thoughts on this.

FRANCE....certainly never heard of the "10% rule". In restaurants/bars,if paying with cash,I do what my French friends do and just round up the bill to the next convenient denomination; eg if the bill is 45€ just leave a 50 note and do not expect any change. Equally if the bill is 48€ !
I do understand hairdressers expect a tip,but I feel prices are steep enough here anyway;particularly for ladies,so in practice do not think it's appropriate.

SPAIN..... if the bill says "todo incluido" this,I take to mean all taxes and service. If not,I just do what I do in France above. Do be aware that still in Spain some restaurants have the reprihensible habit of menus not including IVA (VAT). So you have to add 7% to the bill anyway.

As always, I suppose it all depends on whether you want to go back to the establishment again. If you plan on being a regular patron,good tipping should pay dividends in the future. Whatever, certainly have never felt anywhere round here obliged to tip,as I have done so often ,and so uncomfortably in the USA.

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Post by blackduff » Mon 04 Jan 2010 15:16

To the great amount here in France, we almost never give a tip for a restaurant meal. Since we pay with the visa, we never leave anything on the table.

Both myself and my wife tip the hair people. We quite often tip the artisans, especially with young people.

When I lived in Andalucia, I gave a small tip after a meal but often it's just the change to top-up the bill. I never, repeat, I never give more than 5% as a tip. The waiters are happy up to 5% but above that amount, they think the customer is a smuck. The tipping in Spain is a delicate subject so get it correct.

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Post by Santiago » Tue 05 Jan 2010 08:33

There is no "at least 10%" rule in France or Spain. That rule only exists in the USA AFAIK.

5% is a decent tip here and at the customers discretion. The problem with credit card payments is that the tip is often forgotten. I always have a rummage through my pockets for coins and tip the waiters if I can.

Anyone who's worked in the service industry will tell you that tips are much appreciated.
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Post by Kathy » Tue 05 Jan 2010 09:04

Are the wages low of the serving staff? We always tip unless the service is poor, like John we leave a few euros and have never felt obliged or under pressure to do so.

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Post by Santiago » Tue 05 Jan 2010 10:03

Personally I think a tip should be a tip, not a supplementary service charge. If you are very pleased with the service, the waiters have gone out of their way to make the meal enjoyable, then it's good to give a tip. If the service is poor, it's good to be able to make a statement by not tipping. The problem is that people refuse to tip when they are unhappy with something beyond the waiter's control - the quality of food or size of portions for example.
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Post by john » Tue 05 Jan 2010 17:50

Agree with pretty much all of that Jon. Isn't this basically the same discussion we had before Xmas re whether it was right that the taxpayer should subsidise the wage bills of poor-paying employers?

In this case,it is the customer that is being asked to do his dirty work. The argument does not hold water in countries like Britain,France,Spain that have a minimum wage. In USA,it is rather different,but most serving staff in America are Hispanics,often employed on the black.

That said,what restaurants who use this tactic do is dishonest. They advertise a headline menu price,which,by the time you've added tax,service etc is much higher. I've even come across places in the States (I'm sure you did too!) that have the cheek to add a compulsory service charge ,and then expect you to tip the staff. Incredible.

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Post by Santiago » Tue 05 Jan 2010 19:40

I didn't really get into that discussion before xmas. I've now read the article Roger posted the link to and I think it's load of cods. I don't know how they did the "survey" but it was clearly biased. Yes, the banking world has failed us in the last 2 years but if you picked another period you could prove that estate agents and fund managers should be much better rewarded because they "create" vast amount of wealth for (some sectors of) society per £1 of their income.

Regarding the "income support is needed to compensate for greedy employers" argument. That is rubbish (sorry Bee). Income support is generally paid to people who earn under the threshold because they don't work the hours required to bring in the acceptable income or have a household that is too large for their means.

I think, John, you've told us you have been involved in the management (or ownership) of restaurants. Is it really true that restaurant staff are exploited or is it because the hours they work don't provide a living wage on it's own? Can restaurants afford to provide a 3 course "formule" ith coffee and wine for 11 € AND pay their waiters hansomely?

Perhaps tipping a percentage of the bill is completely the wrong way round. If you have a minimum price formule you should leave a bigger tip than if you have the most expensive meal in the place because the waiter has done the same amount of work but the restaurant hasn't made enough money to pay them a decent wage. :idea:
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Post by blackduff » Tue 05 Jan 2010 20:40

In general about tipping here in France, I want to give you my thoughts.

In November I had lunch at the Roy Toque (sp?). The 14€ menu wasn't available, since it was 11/11/2009. I bought a lunch which totaled to 46 or 48 €. I put this onto a Visa and there wasn't any added tips.

I didn't put anymore tip on the bill. Does this being a cheapo?

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Post by john » Tue 05 Jan 2010 22:17

blackduff wrote:In November I had lunch at the Roy Toque (sp?). The 14€ menu wasn't available, since it was 11/11/2009. I bought a lunch which totaled to 46 or 48 €. I put this onto a Visa and there wasn't any added tips.

I didn't put anymore tip on the bill. Does this being a cheapo?

Blackduff
Depends mainly on whether you thought the service was exceptional,BD. If not,then I'd say no tip ws required in a French restaurant.

Santiago,I was only involved in the periphery of running a restaurant. I certainly had no control of pricing/wages policy!

I'd say that the reason why French(and to a lesser extent,Spanish) restos can do the cheapo formules is that ,compared to UK or American places they employ very few staff. Just think about the average place you've been to round here. It was probably family -run. Literally. Mum as front of house. Dad doing the cooking. Junior waiting on,and Granny collecting the dosh.

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Post by Santiago » Wed 06 Jan 2010 10:18

I guess that is true. French restaurants do have fewer flunkies than British ones, even though I find the average French restaurant more efficient. Perhaps waiters get paid more in France than Britain. I certainly think that being a waiter is regarded as a career here and in other European countries whereas in Britain it is a job for students, OEers and foreigners. In New York it's only a job for new immigrants and "between-roles" actors, unless you are in a serious restaurant.
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Post by opas » Wed 06 Jan 2010 14:00

Of corse it is a career in France to be a waiter.waitress, after all there is a 2 year course for this at Leon Blum in Perpignan, all the students come out looking like they are going to a wedding if it is their turn to work the Restaurant there.....
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