To tip or not to tip, that is the question.
Tipping is an age-old custom of leaving a waiter or establishment a little extra to show your appreciation for the service you have received.
Naturally, when people first come to Spain, they are curious as to whether they should tip or not and if so, how much.
Below we aim to clear things up and give you the lowdown on tipping in Spain.
Along the way, we will answer some of the most common questions surrounding tipping including:-
Let’s take a look.
What is tipping?
Before we cover the facts on tipping in Spain, it’s probably a good idea to clarify exactly what a tip is.
A tip or ‘gratuity’ is simply an extra payment a customer gives to a worker within the service industry or an establishment in recognition of the level of service they have received.
So if you're in a restaurant and you received a good level of service or found the member of staff particularly friendly or helpful, you may decide to leave them a little extra on top of the cost of the bill you received.
In Spain, an individual tip for a waiter or server is called ‘una propina’.
If there is a jar placed on a bar or at a till this is known as ‘el bote’ and would be used to give tips to the establishment as a whole rather than to one particular staff member.
Should you tip in Spain?
In most situations, tipping in Spain is not compulsory and is entirely at the discretion of the customer.
The majority of Spaniards will not tip as many restaurants that provide table service will already factor this in with the addition of a service charge. Look for “servicio incluido” on the bill.
If it’s not included, it will say something like, “servicio no incluido”. Service not included.
How much should you tip?
Most Spaniards will not leave big tips regardless of the level of service they have received. In some countries such as the U.S., customers will leave tips sometimes exceeding 15 or 20% of the total bill, however, for most Spaniards, this would be completely alien.
As a rule of thumb, if you feel that the service has been particularly good, you may decide to leave the waiter or staff member a tip and this is perfectly fine and your choice.
In most cases this should be a maximum of 10% of the bill, however, 5% would be more the norm for most people.
So if you had a couple of coffees in a street cafe and your bill came to 5 Euros, you could decide to leave a few extra coins with your bill or if your bill was 4.50 Euros, you may decide to leave a 5 Euro note which would include a 50 cent gratuity.
If you were having a meal and the bill was 30 Euros, you may want to consider leaving a tip of say 5% which would be 1.50 Euros. Once again, this would only be if a service charge had not already been added.
Is tipping expected in Spain?
Certainly not. As mentioned previously, Spaniards, in general, are not huge tippers and nobody will expect you to leave a tip.
Tips, are just you saying thank you in the event that you feel the waiter, service provider, or establishment has exceeded your expectations. Nothing more.
In countries such as the U.S., it's customary to leave a tip of around 20% of the bill, however, this simply is not the case in Spain. Different country, different tipping culture entirely!
Who should you tip in Spain?
As a rule of thumb, anyone working within the service or hospitality industry could be a candidate for a tip.
So there you have it! The low-down on tipping in Spain.
As you will now be aware, tipping is mostly discretionary and most certainly not compulsory or expected. Most Spaniards do not tip very much at all.
In informal or casual establishments you can simply leave a few coins or round your bill up if you were happy with the service.
If you don’t wish to leave a tip, then this is perfectly fine. Nobody will think badly of you!
Most bar, cafe, and restaurant workers in Spain are paid a full wage, with the current minimum wage in 2023 set at 1,260 Euros per month. This means that although it's nice to receive tips, workers are not overly dependent on them to pay the bills.
In more formal restaurants, it's perfectly fine to leave a tip if it has not already been added to your bill in the form of a service charge. In such cases, a tip of 5 or 10% should be more than enough.
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