Brazilian Tipping Protocol, Brazilian Gratuities, & Brazilian Culture
- DO dress very nicely. Women who want to blend in shouldn't dress overly formal or conservative, but should still dress elegantly.
- DO wear clean and stylish shoes.
- DO keep nails manicured.
- DO dress more conservatively for business functions. Men should wear dark suits, shirts, and ties. Three piece suits indicate that you are an executive, and two piece suits indicate that you hold a lower position. Women should wear dresses and suits, but they should still be feminine.
- DON'T wear yellow and green together. Those are the colors of the Brazilian flag.
- DO expect meals to last long. Lunch itself can last over two hours.
- DO wash your hands before eating.
- DON'T eat with your hands.
- DON'T discuss business during meals unless the host initiates it. However, discussing business at meals is more common in Sao Paulo and Rio.
- DO give flowers, but avoid purple and black flowers aside from violets. Purple and black flowers are traditionally funeral flowers. Orchids are always appreciated, but again, avoid purple.
- DON'T give handkerchiefs because they are associated with funerals.
- DO open your gift immediately.
- DO give gifts of liquor, books, or nice pens.
- DO give gifts to children.
Visting Someone's Home
- DO arrive about a half hour late for dinner. For a larger party, arrive about an hour late.
- DO bring your hosts a small gift, such as flowers. You may also send flowers the following day.
- DON'T be the first to bring up business at a meeting. Let your host bring it up first. This will usually happen after some get-to-know you small talk.
- DO schedule meetings about two weeks in advance and have it confirmed in writing.
- DON'T bring a gift at the beginning of a business relationship. Also, gifts should not be exchanged at a formal business meeting.
- DO be on time. In some parts of Brazil, they are very casual about punctuality, but as a guest to their country, don't be late. However, in Sao Paulo and Brasilia, meetings tend to begin on time.
- DO be patient. Brazilians negotiate slowly.
- DON'T change your negotiating team while negotiations are in progress.
- Brazilians prefer to negotiate with the individuals, not the company as a whole, and changing your team could set things back.
- DO business face-to-face as opposed to over the phone and email.
- DO impress your Brazilian business associates by staying in a nice hotel.
- DO expect to be invited to have a drink after work.
At the Beach
- DO as the locals do at the beach. Local women usually wear shorts, t-shirts, skirts, or tank-tops while going to and from the beach, wearing a bikini underneath. Local men wear a t-shirt and a pair of swim trunks, with Speedos underneath.
- DON'T wear long sleeves, street clothes, or dress shoes at the beach. You'll stick out like a sore thumb!
- DO keep your top on at the beach while soaking in some sun, ladies! Tan lines are considered attractive in Brazil and topless sunbathing isn't common these days.
- DON'T make the "OK" sign with your hand. It's considered a very rude gesture in Brazil.
- DO shake hands with everyone who is present and maintain eye contact during the handshake. Women also often greet by exchanging kisses on the cheeks, starting with the left cheek.
- DO expect hugs and pats on the back among people you are familiar with.
- DO be aware that Brazilian women can be very up front and may try to flirt with a man, even if he is out with his wife. If you don't like the attention, be cordial but not overly friendly.
- DON'T discuss Argentina, religion, the Rainforest, and Brazil's class system.
- DON'T ask personal questions, such as questions about age, salary, or marriage.
- DO discuss soccer (football), the beach, and Brazil's growth as a country. Those are all safe and interesting conversation topics.
Brazilian Tipping Customs
The customary tip at restaurants is 10% for good service, although a few restaurants charge a mandatory service fee for large parties. It is usually not expected in cabs, although rounding up the fare occasionally takes place. Tipping a delivery worker is rare, except for motoboys (bike-couriers). In fact, most delivery companies will ask the client how he or she is going to pay for the product so that the exact change could be provided. However, it should be noted that many restaurants include a 10% delivery charge in the note, with no further tippings being required. Such a charge often depends on the municipality. Tipping bartenders is not customary.
Our Brazilian Tipping Recommendations
- Taxis and Limos: Tipping recommended, Round up to next bill/large coin
- Airport Shuttles: Tipping not required
- Hotel Shuttles and Carpark Shuttles: Tipping not required