Whenever you travel to a new country, you need to learn what the tipping culture is like in that country to not offend anyone when eating at a restaurant or having lunch at a café. So what’s the tipping culture like in Norway?
You are generally not expected to tip anywhere in Norway, not even in restaurants or at cafés. All workers in Norway earn a decent wage, and are not reliant upon tips to get enough money to survive. If you do want to leave a tip, rounding up to the nearest 10 or 100 NOK is usually the most common method.
Tipping in Norway is highly optional, but even though restaurant and café workers earn a decent living wage, they are far from the best paid jobs, so they will be happy if they get a tip. Most service workers consider tips a nice bonus, and will not be offended or annoyed if they do not receive a tip.
If you do want to leave a tip, the most common way to do it is to round up the bill to the nearest 10 or 100 NOK. If the lunch cost 88 NOK, rounding it up to 100 NOK leaves a nice tip. All tips will usually be pooled by the staff at the end of the month, and evenly divided between everyone that works there.
How to leave a tip in Norway
It can feel kind of weird to leave a tip in Norway due to two different reasons. Firstly, you usually pay for your meals in cafés before getting your food. Secondly, Norway is a mostly cashless society with most transactions being done by debit or credit cards. So, how exactly do you leave a tip in Norway?
The way this is solved is by cafés, bars and places like that, by having a tipping jar. This is usually found at the counter, and you can drop coins into the jar if you feel like it.
It is becoming more popular for cafés to have a “tipping Vipps”, which is a digital bank account that you can send money to, but Vipps is not available to tourists, so you won’t be able to leave a tip that way.
Some payment centrals will also allow you to write in how much you want to pay. This is done by showing you how much the meal cost, then you will be asked to type in how much you want to pay at the payment central. At this point you can choose to enter a higher sum to pay a tip, but you are not expected too even if you can. This is usually seen at bars and restaurants, and not so often at cafés.
How much to tip in Norway
So, let’s say that you love the service you get and want to leave a tip. But how much should you tip?
This will be entirely up to you, but it’s common to tip anywhere between 10 and 50 NOK at cafés and bars, and perhaps as much as 100 – 200 NOK in restaurants, especially if you are a party that is eating out. It is considered very rare to tip more than 10 % no matter how good the service is, so you Americans don’t need to go anywhere close to the 20 % or more that you tip back in the states.
As mentioned above, rounding the number up to the nearest ten or hundred NOK is pretty common.
Many people are actively discouraging tipping in Norway
There are lots of Norwegians who are politically discouraging everyone, including tourists, from tipping when eating out in Norway. This is because of the expectation that if more people start tipping, the employers will begin paying lower wages to the workers, so it won’t really benefit the waiters or anyone else in the long run.
Most Norwegians are very skeptical of the American model where waiters or people who work at restaurants or cafés are dependent on getting tips to earn enough money to survive, and would instead rather see that these people continue to earn a decent hourly wage that is good enough to live a good life.
As of 2022, it is common for waiters and people who work at bars and cafés to get paid around 180 – 200 NOK per hour ($20 – $22). This is by no means a very high salary in Norway, but it’s on par with other untrained work like working at a grocery store.
Should you be tipping at other services that are not related to food?
As mentioned above, you are not really expected to leave a tip anywhere in Norway. This means that you do not have to tip the tour guide, bartender, doormen at the hotel, the house cleaner at the hotel, if you get a haircut or if you visit the spa. None of these places expect a tip.
Some people are under the impression that you should be tipping when driving a taxi in Norway. Norwegian taxi drivers earn a decent living wage, and driving a taxi it considered very expensive in Norway, so you are not expected to leave a tip.
You should also not be tipping when buying tickets for admittance to zoos, museums or when using the public transport. This is considered very strange, and this is not something that is regularly done in Norway.