Is it mandatory to tip in restaurants in Mexico?

Since tipping is considered a form of gratuity rather than a necessary service charge in Mexico, businesses are not allowed to add it to customers' bills unless they specifically request it.

Is it mandatory to tip in restaurants in Mexico?
Does Mexican law require a gratuity at eating establishments? Image: Pixabay

This year the number of complaints has doubled because restaurants want to make tipping or gratuities for service mandatory. In an interview for Fuerza Informativa Azteca, the head of the Federal Consumer Protection Agency (Profeco), Ricardo Sheffield, stated that last year there were around 600 complaints and so far this year 2022 there are already 1,200 accusations for this cause.

Profeco detailed that Santa Fe, Lomas de Chapultepec, Polanco, and the downtown area of Mexico City are the places with the most complaints for including the tip as mandatory in the bill in bars and restaurants. Outside the Valley of Mexico are cities such as Guadalajara, Cancun, and Acapulco.

According to Profeco, restaurants cannot require a mandatory tip, since it is a voluntary gratuity and cannot be included in the bill without the consumer's consent. Likewise, they cannot require a minimum consumption.

The only obligation that the consumer has is to pay for the consumption made and if he/she considers that the consumption merits it, then the amount of the tip is left. Article 10 of the Federal Consumer Law backs you up, as it states that:

"It is forbidden for any supplier of goods or services to carry out actions that attempt against the freedom or personal safety or integrity of consumers (...) Suppliers may not apply coercive and unfair commercial methods or practices, nor abusive or imposed clauses or conditions in the supply of products or services. Likewise, they may not provide additional services to those originally contracted that have not been expressly requested or accepted, in writing or electronically, by the consumer".

What to do if they want to add a mandatory tip?

"...We must tell the waiter that you are not obliged to give a tip because he/she did not think the service was adequate, that he/she does not have the money to give it, and that consequently, the waiter cannot charge it to the bill..." said Ricardo Sheffield, head of the Federal Consumer Protection Agency (Profeco).

If a tip is charged to the bill without your authorization, you can report it by calling the consumer phone number 5555688722, mentioning the following information: name or company name of the establishment, as well as the complete address (number, street, neighborhood, city or municipality, state, and zip code).

Similarly, you can write directly to Profeco's social networks which are: Twitter @AtencionProfeco , @Profeco, and Facebook as ProfecoOficial.

How much should I tip at a restaurant?

The tip is the extra money that the diner of a restaurant leaves for the service that was offered during his stay. This money is given at the agreed price and as a token of satisfaction. It is customary for some countries to leave a tip and in others, it is an obligation, like the United States.

In the United States, a standard tip in a restaurant can reach 25% of the bill. According to the BBC, leaving 15% is acceptable. And offering a tip of 10% or less can be considered an insult. Because the amount and forms vary by country, one must ask how much a tipper should leave in a restaurant.

Tipping is an encouragement and a thank-you for good service. It should not be considered an obligation. A tip should be given when we finish our experience in the place with the order of the bill for the consumption made and we value positively the way we were attended by each of the employees of the place that attended us, with special emphasis on those who attended us directly. The quality of the product served to us should also be evaluated. All this is considered as part of the service received.

On the other hand, the tip is left to the employee who served us directly. However, each establishment has its policies for distributing them. In some establishments, there is a common fund that is then distributed equally among all shift workers. In other cases, it is distributed in a pre-established proportion between those who attended directly to the customers and those who were in the kitchen or at the bar preparing food, coffees, etc. Finally, there are also places where the tips are given directly to the recipient.

There are countries where tipping is already included in the bill and others where people leave more money than is on the ballot. And in other countries, the tip is the customer's will.

How to tip in Europe?

Tipping in Germany: Equivalent to 5% or 10% of the total price. The tip you give in the hand to the staff who attended you and if you pay by card, you must say how much you want to leave.

Tipping in France: Tips are included in the bills of cafes and restaurants. The ticket will show a 15% increase for "Service Compris", which is usually divided between employees.

Tipping in Greece: Tipping is not compulsory, but is usually given in services such as restaurants, taxis, tour guides, and hotels; in the latter, it is sometimes added to the bill. In restaurants, it is usually 5% to 10% of the total.

Tipping in Holland: The tip is already included in the bill. The additional charge is 15% for service.

Tipping in Italy: Tipping in Italy is completely voluntary.

Tipping in Poland: Sometimes the tip is included in the bill, especially if the table has more than 5 or 6 diners. It is usually charged between 5% and 10%.

Tipping in Spain: Tipping in Spain is completely voluntary.

Tipping in Portugal: Tipping in Portugal is also optional. It is customary to round the bill up or leave the change.

Tipping in the UK: Tipping is usually 10% and is charged directly to the account, indicated by the term "Service Included". It should be noted that tipping is not usually left in restaurants and cafés where it is served at the bar.

How do I tip in the Americas?

Tipping in Argentina: It is appropriate to leave around 10% in restaurants. Taxi drivers are usually given a higher amount than the marked fare due to rounding.

Tipping in Brazil: The tip is already included in the bill. There is a 10% "Serviço" charge.

Tipping in Canada: Tipping is almost obligatory, and you should leave around 15% of the bill.

Tipping in Chile: Although not mandatory, some restaurants include in the bill a service charge of at least 10%, although by law the customer can claim not to pay it.

Tipping in Cuba: In the past, tipping in Cuba was forbidden, today it is customary to leave 10%.

Tipping in the U.S.: The amount of tipping varies between 15% and 25% of the cost of the service, although it varies depending on the state. If the tip is not reflected in the bill, it must also be paid.

Tipping in Mexico: Not tipping in Mexico is considered a very bad taste. Only having received a very bad service would justify not paying a tip of 10% or 15%.

Why do people tip?

Tipping is not just about rewarding a good service provider, such as a waiter or taxi driver. But there are other reasons behind this gratification. According to U.S. professor Michael Lynch, a consumer behavior analyst who conducted numerous studies on tips, people give extra money after paying the bill also to get social approval, avoid remorse, and, of course, to raise the worker's salary.

Many employees in the hotel and catering sectors earn lower wages than normal, as is the case in the United States. So tips are expected to be high to compensate for low wages. To the extent that the minimum wage for tipped workers is lower.