Tipping guide for expats
Tipping is a standard feature for most restaurants in Auckland, but only tip if you feel that the service deserves it. While tipping is never mandatory, it is appreciated in higher-end restaurants and a nice way to establish yourself at places you visit frequently.
In high-end establishments where a tipping is encouraged, there is no pre-defined expected percentage, however, if the service is good then 10%, or more if you’re feeling generous, would be well received. In all establishments, a few extra dollars, or even your loose change, is fine if that is all you have available.
Some restaurants have sections on their bill for you to add a service charge/tip if you are paying by credit card. This is not compulsory so do not feel that you have to enter anything here. Restaurants should not automatically add a service charge to the bill, if you notice that they have done so, deduct it from your bill and refuse to pay it. You should only pay a bonus for service if you feel it warrants it and it is the customers’ choice to do this.
Other service providers are not yet at the point where they expect tips. However, if you feel like letting the cab driver or pizza delivery guy “keep the change”, they won’t turn it down. Doormen, hairdressers, hotel maids, concierges and others are not traditionally tipped, however, many establishments have a tip jar on the main counter, so if you are happy with the service you receive, feel free to add some coins or notes to the jar.
If you have a regular paper boy/girl who delivers your paper every morning, or any other service provider who you use on a regular basis, they would most likely be very happy to receive a card at the end of the year with some cash or vouchers to thank them for their service. Being thoughtful of others is always a good thing.
As in most societies, avoid being patronising when tipping as this will not be appreciated and may even offend.