Tipping in Switzerland

I was under the impression that tips, trinkgeld or pourboires were not common in Switzerland. I’ve been here for a while and I’ve only seen 1 work colleague leave some coins or round up the bill when paying with card…but he’s not Swiss :wink: But, never a server has asked for a tip, ever. I try to remember, but no local leaves a tip. So, I was truly surprised to see the results of this survey in 20min:

All comes from a NZZ am Sonntag article:

Tipping is black money - Because more and more people are paying by card, restaurateurs are facing a problem

So, is there a trinkgeldgraben, or a rural/city divide? Or something up in the Alps? Did I miss an important aspect of local culture?

If I remember correctly, there was a vote that tipping was to be included in the price, some years ago?

I round up if I am happy with the service. I really dont want to end up here with US tipping settings…


I’ve always understood that a 15% service fee was included in the prices displayed at restaurants. Not added to the bill, but included.

Usually I’ll round it up to the next 5 and almost never give more than 5. I assume this goes to all the staff, not just the server.

I’d normally leave 10% if the service did not have any issues like forgotten items, hair etc but I never feel pressured

Well the answer is in the nzz story.

Historically, the tip should not exist in Switzerland at all. It was abolished in 1974, according to the collective employment contract for the hospitality industry, the tip has since been included in the salary of the service staff. But some habits cannot be regulated by decree, until today it is customary to round up to the next amount of five or ten.

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What annoys me is that now they are introducing a tip option on the screen when taking a take away coffee at some self-service cafes and paying by card… I feel bad about not leaving but also leaving something for this amount of service feels inappropriate a bit…


A bit? Very inappropriate I think.

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While a service charge is included in the prices, I generally tip if I was satisfied with the service. The amount varies; if I pay 300 CHF in a restaurant, I will not tip 10%. This applies to waiters, hairdressers, car wash workers - all of which are hard jobs that have very low salaries, and employers usually argue that tips are one reason not to pay higher regular salary. I prefer to leave a tip in cash even if I pay the bill by card.

In my experience, tipping is common and to a degree expected. I find people who generally do not tip rude or ignorant.

“I say, waiter, you appear to have left your toupee on my plate…”


I generally tip for service in a cafe or restaurant. For a coffee or something small rounding up to the next franc, if service good adding a Franc. For a meal anything up to 10% but generally more like 5%

Before the 1974 law, tipping was common in Switzerland, with service staff depending on tips for a significant part of their income.

In 1974, the Swiss Federal Council enacted a law to address income disparities among workers and establish a fairer compensation system for service staff. The law mandated fair wages for service staff and diminished the reliance on tips for income.

It also set a minimum wage for service staff to ensure a decent standard of living, aiming to reduce the necessity of tips. Consequently, tipping became less prevalent, and service staff were not as reliant on tips for their livelihood.

However, tipping still occurs occasionally as a token of appreciation for exceptional service, but it is not a significant part of service staff income.

Funny how the poll in the OP says something entirely different. I guess you simply know better.

Although what people say they do in a poll and what they actually do may be two different things.

A better way of doing this would be to ask waiting staff in a mix of establishments to keep a tally of tips versus customers over a month or so.

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Sure. 2500 people answering falsely. Maybe it is more likely that Phil has no idea what he is talking about.

Would love to see which people clicked the “No, never” button. Tightwads. :laughing:

Why would you pay twice for the same thing?

People are paid a living wage, there is no need for we customers to supplement their income.

Rounding up to 5 gives them a pourboire

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Me, I am part of the 6%. :laughing: That’s why I opened the thread. I was under the impression zero tip was the best tip. After a 2nd thought I’ve seen a local guy tip, but it’s the company credit card…no comments.

@Tom1234 : check the NZZ article in 1st post. This part comes at the end. Once a restaurant manager started charging the tips to cards and counting it, a server ended the month with ~25% of income of tips. If tips were not common, it would be hard to accumulate that over a month.

But digital tipping will increase. And the question of correct administrative handling remains. Not only in the catering industry, other professional groups such as hairdressers or taxi drivers will increasingly receive tips electronically. The restaurateur Manuel Wiesner says: “There needs to be a rethink in the industry.”

Wiesner now knows that a service employee with a monthly salary of 4,000 francs can earn up to 1,500 francs with tips. “We no longer have to discuss whether this is part of the salary or not.”

Tangentially, this is related to the story of the 13th AHV. There’s a significant difference in retirement savings between 4’000 and 5’500 of gross income.

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Sorry I meant items ordered but not brought ie left out / forgotten

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And some people don’t know how to read. Per the poll, 59% tip occasionally. 35% always and 6% never. A far cry from tipping cultures such as the US where tips are expected and can make up the majority of compensation.

Well TIS where a collective agreement apparently exists with the hospitality industry. This is not the US, or Canada, or Britain.