Tipping is very much part of the culture in Hungary, and most people will routinely tip waiters, taxi drivers, hairdressers and even gas station attendants. You will also find that attendants at thermal baths and various other service providers expect a small tip.
Restaurants and Bars: 10% – 15%
Gas station attendants: HUF 100-200
Public washrooms: HUF 100-200 – this is rather a fee for the use of public washrooms and toilets. Yes, even at places like Mc Donald’s, Burger King or Central Market Hall. It is clever to always carry a few hundred forints in your pocket in case you get the urge to go, while touring the city.
Tipping at restaurants
Many restaurants and cafés in Budapest add a 10% service fee, which is usually stated on the bill. If you are unsure, ask your waiter whether or not service was included. If the service fee is not included, unless you were completely unhappy with your service, it is customary to tip 10%-15% of the total bill.
Tipping in Hungary’s restaurants and bars is quite unusual. You shouldn’t leave the tip on the table. Instead, you are expected to tell your waiter how much you are paying in total or how much change you would like back. Let’s say for example that the bill is HUF 3,600 and you would like to give a 10% gratuity and pay with a HUF 5,000 note. In this case you would either tell the waiter that you are paying a total of HUF 4,000 or that you would like HUF 1,000 back in change.
However, we are now seeing that more and more restaurants will bring your change back and let you leave a tip on the table, just like in North America.
If you decide not to tip for whatever reason it is usually considered to be a strong signal of your dissatisfaction, yet it’s unlikely that the waiter will confront you, as they might in a city like New York.