Tipping / Money Matters, Barcelona
In some eating places, such as the popular Taller de Tapas, there is a 15% supplemental charge for sitting out on the terrassa. This doesn't seem to dissuade to many patrons as it seemed that the terrassa was always full and the inside there were always tables open. There are five Taller de Tapas places now in Barcelona. This was either the one in Born or by via Laietana.
Spanish people are not used to tips, so they don't give them out. It's not usual to give tips in restaurants, taxis or bars. So don't. Now, if the service was really good and you feel that you can't go without leaving some tips to the waiter or waitress, give it to them directly and don't leave them in the table.
Anyway, if you don't leave anything, you won't be seen as a f*****g tourist. They will smile and that's all.
Unlike many other places in Europe, in Barcelona most restaurants do not state the prices including the VAT. The menu must clearly say if it is included or not (most of the times it is not).
Look for something like "7% IVA no incluído". Sometimes there is also a service or cover charge (generally expressed as a charge for bread in the menu).
Spanish people are very lucky here. Most workers have contracts and will earn the same amount of money every month. If they are fired, they must receive a compensation.
A waiter could make the same amount of money as any secretary, so they don´t depend on tips.
They will be very greatful if you do leave a tip and put it in a common pot to divide at the end of the day or week. But you are not required to leave a minumun amount of tip, unless otherwise requested (large groups).
There is an exception: as in many countries, ilegal residents are starting to work as waiters/waitresses in Barcelona (mostly southamericans). They get paid very little for a lot of work and have no health insurance.
In many parts of Europe, shopkeepers and cashiers will demand to see some form of government-issued ID when you pay with your credit card, and they will often record your passport number or drivers license number on their copy of the bill. Therefore, make sure you always keep a piece of photo ID with you when you plan to go shopping with your credit card!
We wondered why, when we returned to some of the restaurants in Barcelona more than once, the waiters were fighting over which one was going to serve them.
it was only afterwards that we realised it was on account of our tipping.
We had, on every occassion that we enjoyed a meal, left at least €2, as we do in England. We discovered however, that you are only really expected to leave this amount if the meal is in the range of €69-anything less and even a few cents is appreciated!
Needless to say, we got really good service where we had left tips the next time we went in!
I'm sure many people wonder when they go to any new place what is appropriate in terms of tipping. Too much and you're throwing money away, too little and you're the meanest scrooge to walk the planet since, well, Scrooge. Well the answer in Barcelona is that Scrooge is alive and well and living in Catalunya. People hardly tip at all. I'm not saying you should go so far - after all you're on holiday and its nice to be nice. But the locals will leave about 30 cents after a meal in many cases, if anything. The people here are famous for their thriftyness. And their tomato bread (pan con tomates) of course.
TIPPING:In restaurants the price shown on the menu has to include any service charge. Only when the menu indicates 'IVA no incluido' (VAT not included) can this be added to the bill. Tips are not compulsory, but tend to be given when you are happy with the service.
En los restaurantes, el precio del menú debe incluir obligatoriamente cualquier servicio. Sólo cuando el menú indica 'IVA no incluido', podrá éste ser añadido a la cuenta. Las propinas no son obligatorias, aunque se suele dejar algo cuando se está satisfecho con el servicio.
Spain is on board with the Euro! Check Virtual Tourist's currency converter for the latest exchange rates so that you'll know how much you're spending.
While most natives do not tip, we did and it was appreciated however, not expected. If you can afford to eat out you can afford to tip.....