Turkey is a tipping culture and I understand it's standard to tip 10-15% on sit-down restaurant meals. However, many nicer places also apply an automatic 10% service charge to your bill. Are you still supposed to tip on top of this?

I've been topping off the bill with cash to make it roughly 15%, which staff seem happy with since it has on a number of occasions led to complimentary bonus desserts landing on our table, but I'm curious if this is just Turkish hospitality or us being excessively generous. We're talking 50 TL/2 EUR on a bill of 1000-something/40-50 EUR for 4, and these are "regular" restaurants, not Sultanahmet tourist traps.

1 Answer 1


Local here.

In my opinion, if you are %100 sure that one is "service charge", then no, you don't supposed to tip. Because this "service charge" is something paid extra by the customer for the waiter or server. And in my book, that is what "tip" means.

On the other hand, unfortunately, there is a term called "kuver" in Turkey.

The word kuver is actually a word that comes from the French word couvert and is used to mean a tablecloth or tableware (cutlery). Even in some restaurants, this includes some snacks that put before on your table even you don't order (some sauce, bread, salt, napkin, butter, honey, sometimes small water etc..)

Especially those trappers automatically add this kuver fee to the bill in case the tip is not given. It is still unclear whether the kuver charge is "legal" or not by the way.

Vedat Milor, a professional food critic says (use google translate)

I think that under the current conditions, the "kuver" charge is more than unfair, it is disrespectful to the customers.

If you already pay for kuver but don't get these small things that I count, don't tip. Period. You can always ask to clarify this kind of thins before you order in Turkey, if it's not okay for you, move on.

  • Teşekkür ederim for answering! I understand that quite often the service charge goes directly to the restaurant owners though, not the staff? Sep 17, 2023 at 19:06
  • 2
    As a customer, we can never know that. But I assume, especially for those trappers, yes, it probably goes to the owner. Sep 17, 2023 at 20:00

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