Skip to content

Do You Tip In Switzerland? The Ultimate Guide To Tipping

Last Updated on March 3, 2024 by Darla Uhl

Switzerland has a very profitable tourist industry employing some 175,000 people and generating CHF 44.7 billion in total revenue. According to the Schweizer Tourismus-Verband, from that total amount, CHF 16.6 billion can be traced from the revenue generated by foreign tourists in Switzerland1. Of all the tourism products, more than half come from accommodation, meals, and passenger transportation. In this article, we explore a tipping guide in Switzerland. Is tipping in Switzerland expected? Who should you tip in Switzerland? If yes, how much should I tip in Switzerland?

When you are in Switzerland, what you see in the bill is the total amount that you pay. Restaurant checks and hotel bills include already all the taxes. So once you receive a bill, you can pay the total amount directly. And it is not always necessary to tip. But it is appreciated.

Employees in the hotel and restaurant industries earn decently, but the legal minimum wage is not guaranteed. Only some cantons have a legal minimum wage designed to protect employees. In 2 Cantons, Neuchatel and Jura, the residents have decided to introduce a minimum wage of 20 CHF per hour (see Reference). So factor in the high cost of living, and the likelihood of low wages, if you have received service that is good or excellent, I would recommend leaving a tip.

Do people tip in Switzerland? Tipping in Switzerland is not expected but it is very much appreciated. Tips are normally given in Swiss francs. People give gratuities, typically around 10% of the total amount and quality of the service paid for. If you have received service that is good or excellent, I would recommend leaving a tip.

Almost all Swiss people I know or residents in Switzerland leave a certain amount in restaurants. I also round up whenever I dine out.

Tipping in Swiss Restaurants

Image of the Famous Aescher Restaurant by TouringSwitzerland.com

The Restaurant industry employs some 261,000 employees as of 2018 spread across more than 28,000 hotel and restaurant establishments.1 Of this number, more than two-thirds are standalone restaurants, and the other third covers restaurants inside hotels.

Restaurants in Switzerland provide good food and service. Since all restaurants are obliged by law to display their menu and prices outside, you can decide before entering if you are comfortable with the prices. Excellent restaurants can cost easily 200 CHF per person if you include the full meal (appetizer, main course, dessert) and wine.

The price you see in front of the restaurant or on the menu is already the price you have to pay. The staff waiting for you will be polite and serve you properly whether you will leave a tip for him or not.

Nevertheless, most people round up to 10% of the total amount, especially if they received excellent service. Considering that many workers in the hospitality sector earn modest wages and factoring in the high cost of living in Switzerland, I would suggest offering a little extra as recognition of their hard work.

For example, if the meal costs 63 CHF, most customers will round it up to 70 CHF (around 10%). Or if it costs CHF 91 and you give a CHF 100 bill, you can let the waiter keep the change. Most servers come with a big black leather wallet full of change. After they give you the bill, you can immediately give the amount that you want to pay. They will be very thankful before giving you your change. Again, it is not expected, but very much appreciated. Especially when services are right or you are impressed by the service provider, you can tip a little extra.

For those who want to save money, check out the restaurant’s daily menu (Tagesmenu in German, menu de jour in French). This is served during lunchtime from noon until 2 pm and normally commands a reasonable price. They also have a variety of house wines (Offener Wein in German, vin ouvert in French). Restaurants also typically half portions (or three-fourths of an adult portion) for children, if not have a separate children’s menu. Children’s portions also command a lower price and sometimes come with free ice cream.

Tipping in Swiss Bars and Cafés

Bars are open from morning to midnight and offer some food and drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic). Cafés, on the other hand, do not sell alcoholic drinks.

In Swiss bars, normally you don’t pay as you are served drinks. The bill comes at the end of the evening including all the drinks ordered throughout the evening. From the total bill, you can do the same practice as mentioned for restaurants. People give gratuities, typically around 10% of the total amount, especially for the bartenders and staff who always promptly bring you a beer.

If you have coins and there is a tip jar, you can leave a couple of coins as a tip in the tip jar by the cash register.

If you are still inclined towards tipping or want to pay a particular server, pay him or her in cash directly, as tips through the credit card or a shared tipping jar will likely be distributed to everyone equally.

Tipping Taxis Drivers in Switzerland

Taxis in Switzerland are incredibly expensive – one of the most expensive in the world. It might be worthwhile to check the rates beforehand to see how much it would cost. Taking public transport (trains and trams) will cost you much less.

Nonetheless, if you want to take a taxi, you will expect to pay for each kilometer. Not only will you pay for each kilometer. If you order a taxi and let the taxi driver wait, also expect to pay for his or her waiting time. So please be on time or never complain if you have a hefty bill because you were late.

The final bill typically has the following components as an example:

  • Basic Fee per ride: CHF 6.-
  • Mileage Fee per kilometer: CHF 5.-
  • Waiting time per minute: CHF 1.30-
  • Additional cost per booster seat (optional): CHF 20

Whether the fare amount already includes the tip or not depends on the taxi company or taxi driver. It is assumed to be included in the service charge. However, some companies specify on their websites that the total taxi ride cost does not include a tip.

Drivers may still hope to receive a tip. You may round up to the nearest Franc, 5, or 10 Swiss Francs as a courtesy for good service. This will be appreciated by the taxi drivers. Please remember that the cost of living and diesel prices are higher in Switzerland compared to the rest of the world, so taxi drivers do have higher upfront costs to contend with.

Sometimes, it might be more cost-effective to organize a taxi in advance and get a discount. At the air shuttle, you can give CHF 1 per bag if they help you with your luggage.

Tipping the Valet, Doorman, or Chambermaid in Switzerland

Image of GrandHotel Giessbach by TouringSwitzerland.com

A doorkeeper at your hotel can assist you with luggage or hailing transportation. The valet assists in parking the car. These employees are typically available in Grand Hotels to assist. It is not expected to tip them. But those who stay in luxury hotels are normally generous and used to tipping.

In this case, a CHF 5 coin or CHF 10 bill will be appreciated by the employees working in a luxury hotel, especially if they have provided exceptional service. For tipping porters and doormen in humbler lodgings, you can estimate CHF 2 per bag or minor service.

You can offer CHF 1 to 2 per night as a tip for a spotless stay with the housekeeping or cleaning lady. You can leave it in the room before leaving with a note. There is also a possibility to leave the tip with the concierge.

References:

+ posts

Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.

Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.