What is the tipping policy in Russian restaurants?

Check please! Schot, pozhalusta!

Since most people who work as servers in Russian restaurants are salaried (not much, but more than in the U.S., where they make $2 an hour), tipping practices can seem ambiguous.

Fundamentals:
99% of the time, you can only tip in cash. No credit card write-ins. According to The Village, it is technically feasible to write in a tip off your card, but the house will be reluctant to do so. The reason given is that the funds from your card go through a long chain of events before the server sees the tip, which isn’t even paid out in full. Blame Russian bureaucracy and tedious accounting practices.

Most Russians tip 10-15%, or round up for small checks. Russians do tip at restaurants (and in taxis). Nobody will demand that you do, but you risk offending the person providing the service. It’s a matter of showing respect and appreciation.

Tip included?
Gratuities are generally not included in the restaurant bill, except for rare cases at “touristy” restaurants.

Other services?
Hair salons, coat checks, an electrician from YouDo.com, manicurists, and basically anyone providing you a service should get 10-15%. I agree with RT’s reminder to “Round up the fare when taking a cab and leave some spare change if helped at the gas station.”

Feel free to comment if you have further questions.

Featured photo credit: Topos

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