Hungarian Tipping Protocol, Hungarian Gratuities, & Hungarian Culture
- DO wear formal and conservative attire for business occasions. For men, a dark suit with a white shirt and tie is fine. For women, a suit or dress is appropriate, along with nice accessories.
- DO wear jeans for casual outings. Shorts are not common.
- DON'T begin eating until after the host starts.
- DON'T put your elbows on the table, but don't put your hands in your lap.
- DO try everything on your plate.
- DO cross your knife and fork on your plate if you are still eating.
- DO put your fork and knife along the right side of the plate when full.
- DO give the first toast if you are the guest of honor. You should salute the health of everyone there.
- DON'T clink your glass when drinking beer.
- DO leave a little bit of food on your plate if you're still full. An empty plate means that you want more.
- DO leave a drinking glass half full if you are done drinking.
- DON'T discuss business during a meal.
- DO open a gift immediately upon receipt.
- DO give flowers in odd numbers but not 13. That's unlucky.
- DON'T give lilies, chrysanthemums, or red roses.
Visting Someone's Home
- DON'T be more than five minutes late.
- DON'T ask for a tour of the house.
- DO expect to be asked to take your shoes off.
- DO bring chocolate or flowers for your hosts.
- DON'T bring wine. Hungarians are often proud of their own wine.
- DO make an appointment two weeks in advance and have it put in writing.
- DON'T try to schedule meetings on Friday afternoons in the summer or from mid-December to mid-January.
- DON'T be late. If you think you're going to be late, call to explain.
- DON'T cancel a meeting at the last minute.
- DON'T be the one to move the conversation to business. Before getting down to business there is usually a bit of small talk. Let your Hungarian business associates be the ones to get down to business.
- DON'T remove your suit jacket without asking first.
- DO expect lots of eating, drinking, and socializing during negotiations.
- DO have one side of your business card translated into Hungarian and put your last name before your first. Also, include the founding date of your company and any advanced academic degrees you may have.
- DO shake hands upon meeting someone. Men should wait for a woman to offer a handshake first.
- DO kiss close friends on both cheeks, starting with the left.
- DO be open and honest when conversing. Expect to be asked personal questions but don't be offended. It's just a way of getting to know each other.
- DON'T discuss politics or religion.
- DO discuss sports, music, food, and wine.
Hungarian Tipping Customs
Tips are given in Hungary for some services: in restaurants, in bars, to cab drivers, to hairdressers, and often to people that fix things around the house, like plumbers and electricians. Tips are called borravalo, "a little something for wine", in Hungarian.
Although not legally required, social norms encourage that tips are given. The amount varies by profession: in restaurants the normal amount is around 5% to 10% of the total bill, but hairdressers can expect 25% or more in tips, since they are expected to make more money in tips than in wages.
Additionally there is the custom of halapenz (gratitude money) that may be classified as a tipping system in Hungarian healthcare. Because of the comprehensive healthcare system where everyone receives healthcare for free, and the generally low wages for health care professionals, doctors and nurses can often expect to receive fairly substantial sums of money or goods from their patients.
Our Hungarian Tipping Recommendations
- Taxis and Limos: Tipping optional, Round up to next bill/large coin
- Airport Shuttles: Tipping optional, HUF 200
- Hotel Shuttles and Carpark Shuttles: Tipping not required