Tipping is definitely one of the most confusing customs the world has come up with. In the US, gratuities are an absolute must, in other countries they may be included in the bill or "not-required but expected". In Poland, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to tipping - most customers consider it a matter of personal preference. Although the practice seems pretty common in restaurants and other food serving establishments, a lot of Poles believe tips should be reserved for exceptional service only. If you do wish to tip (in Polish: dać napiwek), take note of these points to avoid confusion:
- Timing is key. Note that saying “thank you”/“dziękuję” when handing cash to the waiter implies you want them to keep the change - hold your thanks for a moment if that is not your intention!
- Gratuities are voluntary. Tips are seldom included in the price of the service.
- Most customers leave the tip in cash on the table, even when paying the bill by card.
- It is common to simply round up the bill by a few zlotys. For example, if you are supposed to pay PLN 36.79, make it PLN 40.
- Percentage-wise, average tips range between 5% to 10% of the bill value.
- Tip jars in bars and cafes are a common sight in Poland. You are always welcome to put a few spare coins inside.
- Apart from waiters, it is not unusual to tip bartenders, delivery people and couriers or taxi drivers. Cloakroom attendants may receive small change (e.g. PLN 2) if the service is free, especially in places such as theatres or concert halls.
Have you noticed any other surprising tipping habits in Poland? Share your observations with us!
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