Tips on Restaurant Tipping for International Business Travelers

Traveling internationally in the New Year?

Tipping in other countries can be confusing. Only in the U.S., for the most part, is it customary to tip 20% in a restaurant. In most European countries, like in Germany for example, patrons typically round up to the nearest dollar. If the bill is Euro 23, for instance, most Germans would round it up to 24 or, if the service was really good, 25. European employees in restaurants don’t work for tips but have a salary, as they have to go through major training to even be able to serve and wait on people.

Before you travel to another country, research local customs and tipping practices. They can vary WIDELY. In Japan, a tip is an insult and considered an offensive display of wealth and pity. But in countries like Mexico, many service people rely on tips to provide for their families, and not tipping is a big faux pas.

To help, here are tips on restaurant tipping for several business travel locations:

Australia – 10% (but only for upscale dining)
Canada – typically, 15%
China- 3% in major cities (otherwise, none)
Egypt – 5-10% plus service charge
England – 10% if no service charge
France – round up
Germany – round up
India – 10% if no service charge
Japan – tipping is perceived insulting
Malaysia - none
Mexico – 10 – 15%
Morocco – loose change
Russia – 10-15%
Singapore – none
South Africa – 10% if no service charge
Thailand – loose change (5-10% in upscale restaurants if excellent service)

If in doubt, observe the locals and follow their lead (or ask a trusted source).

Happy travels!


  1. Tips are certainly important in different parts in the world, and being familiar with the culture and customs of the country you're visiting will certainly help get at least an idea how much and when to tip. The Japanese people are certainly very proud individuals, and it's good that you warned tourists going to that country against tipping. Only translators and interpreters who know much about the country's culture will come up with such an advice.