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Prague wine bar encourages tipping policy; urges Czechs to be better tippers

The #milujemevino initiative, started by the small group of wine bars, opens up conversation about Czech tipping and taxation across the country, following months of restaurant closures due to coronavirus.
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Prague’s Vinograf wine bars are starting a discussion with the community about a hot topic for many Czechs and foreigners alike: tipping on their bills.

The #milujemevino initiative, started by the small group of wine bars, opens up conversation about Czech tipping and taxation across the country, following months of restaurant closures due to coronavirus. Vinograf Wine Bars have begun calculating a 10 percent tip on your bill starting Monday, May 25, though co-owner Jan Horešovský told iDnes that the tip is not mandatory and would be a voluntary way to reward good service.

Across the Czech Republic, tipping tends to be much lower than other countries abroad. Historically, Czechs have rounded up the amount of their bill, whether that be several crowns of a couple dozen crowns. The tip ends up equally five to seven percent, Horešovský told iDnes. It’s a stark contrast to countries like the U.S., where waiters will normally receive up between 15 to 25 percent in tips on each bill.

“The restaurants have been closed for three months, they are quite miserable and up to 50 percent of employees’ income is tipped. We say: people, pay attention to how the waiter works with you, how he behaves and when it is good, give ten percent,” Horešovský told iDnes.

Many waiters and chefs had their income reduced once restaurants and eateries fully reopened their doors in May as coronavirus restrictions lifted. Restaurant owners are expecting fewer guests and reduced sales due to mandatory social distancing regulations for the interior and exterior of restaurants. Some companies have also reduced their employees’ fixed income.

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Not everyone is in agreement about tipping in Czech Republic, though. Václav Stárek, the president of the Association of Hotels and Restaurants, told iDnes that tipping should be up to the guest.

“It’s really up to the guest, the tip expresses the customer’s satisfaction with the service and quality service,” he said.

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Other restaurant owners have expressed a similar sentiment. Luboš Kastner, the co-owner of the Hospodská group, which owns several restaurants in Czech Republic, said tipping should be up to the guest. No one would consider raising the price of tipping now, he added, given that it could drive guests elsewhere and result in a loss of sales.

In addition, if tipping does become mandatory as a cost of dining, workers will have to pay VAT tax on that part of their earnings as well.

What are your thoughts in tipping practices in Prague restaurants?

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