An espresso and the receipt with a tip on a table

Avoid making faux pas

Tipping – all you need to know

If you’re satisfied with the service, you should show your appreciation. But the same rules do not apply everywhere. 14 tips for everyday life.

Jörg Marquardt

A rough guide

You’re not obliged to tip in Switzerland. Officially, it’s included in the service charge. But tipping is good etiquette, especially if you’re satisfied with the service. About 10 percent of the bill is the norm. For high amounts of over 150 francs, the percentage may be lower.

How to round up

It’s best to increase the amount to a round figure. For example: your breakfast costs 21.10 francs. A 10 percent tip would be 2.11 francs. So round the amount up to 23 or 24 francs.

Don’t be too stingy

For low amounts, it’s customary to round up to the nearest franc. But please don’t be too stingy. Five cents may be seen as offensive, or even as criticism. It’s better not to tip at all than leave a paltry amount.

When paying with cash

If you pay in cash, you can receive the change and then leave a rounded-up amount on the plate with the bill. Small cafés or service providers, such as hairdressers, often have a tip box.

When paying by card

Nowadays you can pay by debit card, credit card or smartphone in almost all restaurants, bars and stores. Payment terminals often request customers to enter a tip themselves – either an amount of their choice or a percentage, for example five or 10 percent. The same rules apply here as described under the ‘Rough guide’. If the terminal suggests a set percentage, you can change this to an amount of your choice.

In a restaurant or café

It almost goes without saying that you leave a tip here. Not tipping is seen as a sign of dissatisfaction or stinginess. If the bill comes to several hundred francs, you can tip less than 10 percent. In cafés, the general rule for small amounts is to round up to the next franc and then add another franc.

At the bar

Avoid tipping with every single drink. It’s better to tip with your first or last order. If you only have a bottle of beer brought to you, there’s no need to tip – at most you round up to the next franc. If you have a cocktail mixed, you can stick to the 10 percent rule.

Taking taxis

For transport services, the amount is generally rounded up. If you’re really pleased with the ride or driver, you can add a few francs.

Food courier

A tip of one to two francs for the pizza delivery girl or bike courier is about right. If you order not just one pizza, but dinner for a few people, you can also add 10 percent.

Home delivery

Are you having your entire week’s shopping or food for a big party delivered to your home? Then show the provider your appreciation by giving a five- or ten-franc tip. If they carry a new piece of furniture up to the fifth floor, a bit more may be appropriate.

At hotels

If an attendant takes your luggage to your room, two francs per item of luggage is about right. Tipping three to five francs per day is the norm for room service (for shorter stays). It’s best to leave the money on the bedside table on the day of departure. For longer stays, put two percent of the total bill in an envelope and leave it at reception.

For hairdressers and other service providers

Tipping is less commonplace here. If you are very satisfied with the service, you can leave a ‘thank you’ amount or round up to the next franc and add another two or three francs on top.

Tradespeople doing work in your house

Tipping isn’t compulsory here either. But you could offer the electrician or bricklayer a coffee or other refreshments. For larger jobs, you could offer a snack or bite to eat.

Removal workers

Removal workers do heavy lifting. A tip of between five and 10 francs per half-day and person is about right.

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