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This article contains a discussion by TripAdvisor members concerning the above topic.
Please note that the discussion was closed to any additional postings as of Nov 1, 2016
and, as such, some of the information contained herein may be outdated and cannot be
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There is no obligation to tip
anybody in restaurants, cafés, bars, hotels - or in establishments like
hairdressers. Swiss Federal law has
required that all service charges be included in published prices since the
early ‘70s. Waiters here are paid decent salaries – and so do not depend on
tips for their livelihood.
However many people here in Switzerland do add a small tip, but by not generally the 10-20% that is added in some other countries though a higher percentage is more prevalent in some of the larger cities – Zürich for example. If you are satisfied with your meal feel free to round up the amount to the nearest five
to ten francs. If you are really delighted with the service or you are in
a larger group, add a little more. This might be particularly important for
those on holiday since families and friends tend to eat in groups. When in a group leave a larger tip. Your waiter has worked harder for you. For a simple coffee or a beer people here
will add from .50c to 1fr or so. Most Swiss will leave a tip in a
restaurant where they are frequent customers.
Your waiter will appreciate a tip left
in cash on the table. If you have no cash and are paying by credit card
then add it to the charge as you might in the United States or the UK. Some waiters pool their tips but this should
make no difference to the amount you leave.
If you are dissatisfied with the service
do not add anything and make a point of telling the manager. And as with
all criticism, make it constructive!
At the hairdresser tipping practice really varies by region and size of town. In a small place leave 4frs as a minimum. In resorts and cities leave 10frs or more. Same goes for treatment in spas.
For American visitors – sales tax is
included in ALL prices in Switzerland.
You will not have this added to your bill. You will see an amount on a bill listed as TVA/MST. This is the sales tax but it reflects an
amount already included and is not something to pay in addition
Talking loudly when using cell phones in
restaurants, public transportation, queuing at the post office or
bank, etc. is considered rude. So is talking loudly on trains - to other
passengers in your group for example – and will not be appreciated by your
fellow passengers. Note that some cars on the trains are designated as
"Silent zones" and any talking above a very low level and especially
the use of cell phones is prohibited.
Questions about someone's personal
income and wealth are considered very rude. The Swiss people place a high
priority on their privacy and value it greatly.
When addressing someone who might be
wearing a name tag (Hotel staff etc.) do
not use his first name. In French use
“Monsieur” or “Madame” without the name.
In German say “Herr” or “Frau” with the name. When you wish to thank someone say “merci”
which is used in both the French and the German-speaking parts of the country
and is readily understood! In the Ticino
it is, of course, “grazie”.
It is considered polite to greet people
when you come into a shop, bank or hotel etc. by saying “Bonjour Monsieur” (or
Madame) in the French-speaking part of the country and “Guten Tag” or “Gutend
Abend” or a simple “Grützi” etc in the
German part, “Bongiorno” or “Buona Serra” in the Ticino before starting to
explain what you want.
Understatement and discretion are values
that most Swiss people appreciate. On the other hand showing-off and
exaggerated friendliness will raise eyebrows and be looked
upon with suspicion.