Many people answer questions about tipping before the food is on the table. – A bit backwards, says Astrid (77).

Many people answer questions about tipping before the food is on the table.  - A bit backwards, says Astrid (77).

Travel journalist comes out strongly against Norwegian tipping culture. He is especially responsive to being asked for a tip before you even receive service.

Astrid Koltzow and her daughter Inger-Lise Koltzow often go out to eat. They think it’s fine to tip, but react to the practice of asking for tips before you get your food.

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– A pleasant waiter is definitely a thing. And the food is good. If people are surprised, they get it, so if they want to tip, so be it, but it shouldn’t be like that, Od Rohr Lange tells Offenposten.

He is a travel journalist and runs a website called Travel Inspector. In an article Online newspaper On Wednesday he comes out strongly against Norwegian tip culture. Or uncultured as he calls it.

– This is begging. You kind of reach out and want money. Now I don’t know how they distribute the amount, but he says it doesn’t necessarily go to the employee you’re happy with.

Lange specifically reacts to the fact that more places have a simultaneous ordering and payment system. He does not give tips in such cases.

– Then I feel stingy and think I’m moving to the back of the queue.

Odd Roar Lange is a travel journalist and believes that tipping culture needs to be revived in Norway.

I think tips are part of being a waiter

At the Olivia restaurant on Egertorget, Inger-Lise Køltzow (51) sits with her mother Astrid Køltzow (77). They often eat in Oslo and don’t mind tipping.

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They believe about 10 percent is okay. Inger-Liss has been an employee and believes that tips are part of the profession.

– No point in taking it. It always has been. In the 90s, I remember you bought 900 kroner in one evening.

For Inger-Lies, tipping is a principle that she also finds interesting. But she and her mother criticize the practice of tipping before you get your food or meet a waiter.

– It’s a bit backwards, says Astrid.

– Then the human aspect disappears a little, then, says Inger-Liss.

Astrid Koltzow and her daughter Inger-Lise Koltzow say they usually tip 10 percent. Inger-Lies doesn’t think you have to stop with tips.

Important for QR codes

After the Corona Pandemic, many restaurants continued to order through QR codes. Guests scan the code on the table, enter the order digitally, and decide how much to tip at the same time.

In practice, this may mean that guests leave tips before they have a chance to rate the quality of the service and food.

Kai Victor Hansen thinks it’s rude. He is Professor of Restaurant and Food Management at the University of Stavanger.

– It’s like going to a hairdresser and giving tips before seeing how The hair shows up when you’re done, she says.

When it comes to tipping in general, Hansen believes it should be up to each individual. You don’t need a tip, he insists.

According to Hansen, this service is included in the amount you pay for food and drinks at the restaurant. The starting point, he says, should be that tahsildars should be paid according to rates.

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– Customers are not intended to pay employees’ salaries. If the waiter does a great job and gets a smile and a thank you for the food, that’s really enough.

– If you are particularly satisfied with the food and service you received, you are welcome to tip between 5 and 10 percent, he says.

Distributed to employees on hourly basis

Tips are handled differently in every restaurant, says Jesper Emilsson. She is assistant restaurant manager at Olivia Eger, where mother and daughter Køltzow had lunch.

At Olivia, all tips are put into a pool, which is paid out monthly.

– Tips are evenly distributed among our employees based on their hours worked. With us you get approx. NOK 20-25 per tip for the hours you work regardless of whether you are a waiter, cook or dishwasher. We share the tip equally because everyone contributes to the guest experience, he says.

He says he knows of other places where the cooks get 25 percent, while the waiters get 75 percent.

Either way, the sums are not huge, he insists.

Jesper Emilsson, assistant restaurant manager at Olivia Egertorget.

– Some may get extra 1,500–2,000 per month. And then you’re more or less working full-time, he says.

He thinks that if you get a good waiter the tipping will be good and the food will be good.

– Then you get feedback that you did a good job.

Emilson also points out that there are very few supplements in the restaurant industry.

– If you work in a shop or in the healthcare sector, you can get a good bonus if you work evenings or other inconvenient hours. Unless it’s a red day, it makes almost no difference.

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Elmira Razavi has worked at Olivia since March 2022. If he feels he is doing a good job, he expects a tip.

– But if the guests have a different opinion, I can’t say anything about it.

Good service in her view is “seeing the guest and making them feel welcome”.

– Don’t just distribute food and leave, she says.

But she believes that early tipping is not a good idea. He criticizes the way you pay before you get service and food.

– You may receive poor service.

The job at Olivia’s was Elmira Razavi’s first waitressing job. Here he serves mother and daughter Goltso.

Conflict shyness

Travel journalist Ad Rohr Lange believes tipping is stupid anyway. He believes many Norwegians avoid reporting when they experience poor food and service in restaurants.

– It sits deep inside. You think you have to be an expert to send a meal back, she says.

Kai Victor Hansen from the University of Stavanger agrees. He believes that many people tip just to be polite, even if it’s not a good restaurant experience.

– When the waiter asks if the food is tasty, we reply to be polite. Then he says the restaurants don’t learn anything from it.

Hansen encourages customers to be a little tougher.

– If the food is not tasty, say so. Or if the service is bad.

Joshi Akinjide

Joshi Akinjide

"Music geek. Coffee lover. Devoted food scholar. Web buff. Passionate internet guru."

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