Tipping etiquette in Czech Republic is not set in stone, so tips that fall within a moderate range are likely to be regarded as “ok”.
However, tipping is generally expected, and standard etiquette would be to tip 10% of your bill. Staff in Czech restaurants get a salary, and are not working for tips alone. Tips should reflect your satisfaction with the service and the food, so don’t feel obligated to tip at all if the service was poor. Even then, you should have a genuine reason not to leave any tip and, you should also tell the waiter why you were dissatisfied. When you’re really impressed with the food and service you can tip more than 10%, though tipping more than 15% is rather exceptional.
An unexpected item in your bill may be “couvert” or “service included” – that is, credited 10% directly onto your bill. Both should be mentioned in the menu, but can be easily overlooked. This is, however, more likely to be a tourist trap and in fact rarely happens.
If there is a note saying “service not included” in the menu, it still doesn’t mean you have to leave a tip when you’re not satisfied.
Tipping in bars and cafes
As well as in restaurants, a 10% tip works in bars and cafes. In particular, consider tipping well when you’re in busy bars and you have complicated orders or when you chat with the bartender for hours about your Prague trip.
However, when you’re simply grabbing a coffee or ice cream to go, it’s okay to round up the bill to the next 5 or 10 crowns, or even not give a tip.
How to tip
When the waiter brings the bill and stays by your side, just give him the money (or your card) and tell him the total amount you want to pay (including the tip), then wait for your change. If you don’t expect any change back, just say, “Thank you, that’s fine”.
When paying by card, you should still tell the waiter in advance the total amount you wish to pay, as likely there’ll be no way of indicating this later. Some restaurants tell you they don’t take tips by card, only cash. If this happens, pay the bill by card and tip cash. If you don’t have cash with you, just apologize for it. This may feel awkward, but it’s not your mistake.
If the waiter just brings the bill (usually in a folder or small box) and leaves, just put your money there. Then, he’ll pick it up, put all your change in the same folder or box, and bring it back to you. Finally, you leave some of this money as a tip, and the rest you take back.
And remember, you can also leave the tip on the table at any time and go.