Tipping in Switzerland – Yes or No?

As a way to express gratitude for a well-executed service, tipping is used. All over the world, tipping as a means to demonstrate appreciation is either expected or unnecessary. So which way does it go in Switzerland? Tipping rules vary per country, but does it vary per region too? Do people in Switzerland tip in restaurants? Is tipping in Switzerland a yes or a no? In this guide, we will discuss the tipping culture in Switzerland.

Do people tip in Switzerland?

Tipping with coins (Swiss francs) in Switzerland
Image of Swiss coins by softcodex from Pixabay

Do people tip in Switzerland? Tipping in Switzerland is not expected but it is appreciated. Tips are normally given in Swiss francs. People give a CHF 1, CHF 2, or CHF 5 coin – depending on the total amount and quality of the service paid for. Or the total amount is rounded up to the nearest 1, 5, or 10 Swiss francs (CHF). 

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.

It is not always necessary to tip. But it is appreciated.

If you do not carry coins and would rather pay using your card or an app, you can simply state the given amount that you want to pay including the tip. The server will then say his or her thanks, enter the said amount in his device and ask you to confirm. MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted in many establishments. For apps, lots of establishments accept TWINT, which is a payment app.

Is it rude to tip in Switzerland?

No, it is not rude to tip in Switzerland. Although those earning in restaurants have decent wages, the legal minimum wage is not guaranteed. Only 2 Cantons, Neuchatel and Jura, introduced a minimum wage of 20 CHF per hour (see Reference).

So factor in the high cost of living, the likelihood of low wage, you will have a thankful employee.

If you have received service which is good or excellent, I would recommend leaving a tip.

Almost all Swiss people I know or residents in Switzerland leave a certain amount as tip in restaurants. Those serving you will generally not return your tip, nor will they be offended.

Tipping in Swiss Restaurants

Image of Swiss fondue by RitaE from Pixabay

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 in the menu is already the price you have to pay.  Swiss restaurants and hotel bills already include a service charge of 15 percent, designed to cut out tipping.

The staff waiting on you will be polite and serve you properly whether you will leave a tip for him or not.

For example, if the meal costs 67 CHF, it is common to round it up to 70 CHF. Or if it costs CHF 94 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.

Tipping in Swiss Self-service Restaurants and Mountain Huts

Swiss Mountain Restaurant. Image by schomy from flickr

You do not need to pay in self-service restaurants, especially in the mountains.

You can choose to leave them in the small tip jar that they have right beside the cash register. As in the serviced restaurants, it is not expected.

Tipping in Swiss Bars and Cafés

Image of coffee and Gottlieber wafer in a Swiss Café by Markus Baumeler from Pixabay

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. Rounding up to the nearest full digit, 5, or 10 Swiss francs will be appreciated, especially for waiting staff who always promptly brought 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 – definitely 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 such as trains will definitely cost you much less.

Nonetheless, if you want to take a taxi, you will expect to 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 taxi bill typically has the following components as an example:

Basic Fee per rideCHF 6.00
Mileage Fee per kilometerCHF 5.00
Waiting time per minuteCHF 1.30
Additional cost per booster seat (optional)CHF 20.00

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.

Although the bill looks surprisingly high, the cost of living and diesel prices are higher in Switzerland compared to the rest of the world. So these costs will be the driver’s burden. If the driver is not self-employed, his employer will also take a cut off of his profits.

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 at a 5-star Swiss Hotel

Image of Hotel Carlton in St. Moritz by Erich Westendarp from Pixabay

A doorkeeper at your hotel can assist you with luggage or hailing transportation. And the valet assists in parking the car. These employees are typically available in Grand Hotels to assist. It is really 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.

Tipping the Chaimbermaid in Switzerland

You can offer CHF 1 to 2 per night as a tip for a spotless stay to 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.

Summary: Tipping in Switzerland

  • You are not obligated to tip anyone in Switzerland.
  • Tipping in Switzerland is a form of appreciation for good or excellent service.
  • Tipping in Switzerland is not considered rude.
  • Tipping does not vary from one region to another in Switzerland.
  • Tipping in Switzerland is appreciated by the service industry, especially given the high cost of living in the country.
  • Tipping in Switzerland is done by rounding up to the nearest 1, 5, or 10 Swiss francs or leaving a 1, 2, or 5 Swiss franc coin.

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