Greek Tipping Protocol, Greek Gratuities, & Greek Culture
- DO dress conservatively for business functions. Men may wear a nice, dark-colored suit, while women may wear a dark-colored dress or suit.
- DON'T sit down until told where to sit before eating.
- DON'T begin eating until the host starts.
- DON'T put your elbows on the table, but do keep your hands above the table.
- DO compliment the chef by asking for seconds.
- DO finish everything on your plate.
- DO give a toast if you are the host or the guest of honor. The host gives the first toast, and the guest of honor returns the toast later.
- DO put your fork and knife parallel on your plate with the handles facing to the right to indicate that you are done eating.
- DO share your food with your dining partners. They will likely do the same.
- DO keep your wine glass at least half full when you no longer want anymore wine.
- DON'T spend a lot of money on a gift, because then the recipient might feel the need to spend a lot of money on you in return.
- DO wrap the present nicely.
- DO open your gift immediately.
- DON'T give knives as a gift.
Visting Someone's Home
- DO bring a gift for your host. A nice host gift would be brandy, flowers, cakes, fruit, etc. If you want to give flowers, you may also have them sent in advance.
- Although your hosts will have their shoes off, it is not necessary for you to as a guest inside their home.
- DO understand that nepotism is acceptable and common in Greek business. You may do business with many different members of the same family.
- DO try to schedule a meeting 1 to 2 weeks in advance, and confirm the meeting by phone the day before.
- DON'T expect business to be conducted immediately. Sometimes it takes several meetings before any business is conducted at all. Your Greek business associates will want to get to know you first.
- DO have your information and business cards printed in Greek, and consider hiring an interpreter.
- DON'T be aloof, irritable, or angry at meetings.
- DO be patient. Business happens at a much slower pace in Greece.
- DO join in with Greek dances! There are over a thousand types of folk dances in Greece, and many times at tourist restaurants and festivals people may invite you to join in. Many Greek dances are line dances.
- DO join at the back of the line, not the front, if you are a beginner.
- DO go behind the leader to learn the steps before joining the line if you're having trouble grasping the steps.
- DON'T worry about dance steps if you're doing the Zembekiko, which is "The Drunkard's Dance" or the Tsifteteli, which is a belly dance. Those aren't line dances, like many Greek dances are, so just hop on the dance floor and boogie!
- DON'T show your hand with the fingers wide open as this is considered vulgar. Making an "OK" sign with your hand is generally acceptable.
- DO be aware of how to indicate "yes" or "no" with body language, as it's different in Greece. "Yes" is a slight downward nod of the head, and "No" is a slight upward nod of the head.
- DO shake hands upon meeting someone. Shake hands with children, too!
- DO exchange hugs and kisses with women you are familiar with. Men will usually pat each other on the back or shoulder.
In Greece tip is known as 'filodorima' (meaning gift for a friend). Tipping traditionally is not based on a predetermined percentage. Customers usually leave a tip to the 'maitre',waiters,valets and bell boys, varying from few coins to large amounts of money, according to how satisfied they are by the service. In some cases, waiters gain more money from tips than their wage. Tipping to taxi drivers is uncommon.
Our Greek Tipping Recommendations
- Taxis and Limos: Tipping optional, Round up to next bill/large coin