One of my friends, asked me if he could tip the waiter after we had a delicious Kebab :) for dinner, and I was just puzzled since I didn't know the answer.

  • It's totally rare and not common at all to tip waiters here and I've never seen someone to do that, but does that mean you'd be doing an offensive act if you tip a waiter in Iran?
  • I've heard tipping in some countries, mostly eastern ones like Japan goes to the extent of insulting, but I've never encountered that here! Does anyone have the experience to share?
  • Could you also provide some hint about how you did it, since most waiters don't know English and are not expecting to be tipped!
  • And I doubt there is a difference between tipping males and females. Would females act differently when tipped?

2 Answers 2


Paying tips to the waiter or the hotel staff is always appreciated and never considered offensive in Iran. Although I would expect most waiters to accept the tip, be advised there is a complicated system among Iranians called Taarof (Tarof, Taroof), of which any tourist visiting Iran should be aware. Read this post to get a grasp of it:

Iranian Taxi Driver: “You are such a nice man, no need to pay”
Spanish Traveller: “Okay, thanks!”

This is a huge mistake in Iran. There is a rule here called Taroof which is a very complex system of saving face. Taroof dictates that gifts and services are offered even if the person offering can’t afford it. To avoid loosing[sic] face, one should deny an offer 3 times, which gives the person who’s offering ample time to back out. This helps to make his generosity seem truly genuine, even if he couldn’t afford it in the first place.

In summary, people in Iran may offer something valuable to you while they don't mean it, and vice versa, they may refuse to accept something valuable while they really wish that you insisted, so that they could accept it! So when you offer tip to someone and they refuse to accept, just keep insisting for like two or three times to make sure they are not Taarofing!

And I doubt there is a difference between tipping males and females. Would females act differently when tipped?

I don't think there would be any difference. And also note that most waiters are male here.

  • uhh man! thanks I totally forgot to mention that in the question. A very important aspect of the culture.
    – azerafati
    Commented Mar 5, 2016 at 8:14
  • @Bludream No problem dude :)
    – B Faley
    Commented Mar 5, 2016 at 8:32
  • For those who like me do not know what [sic] means, it is used to mark a correctly-transcribed mistake.
    – Willeke
    Commented May 20, 2016 at 18:59

In the past it was not common to pay a tip but now it's okay, especially in Tehran, the capital city of Iran. Of course, if you want to tip a waitress, you should be a little more careful because it's rare still, but it doesn't mean that you can't tip a waitress.

It's easy to tip; go to the server, thank them for good service and give the tip! I personally put the tip on palm of my hand, then go to the person, thank them for the good service and then extend the hand that I had put the tip in.

By the way, don't worry about how to pay the tip at all. My people are very very kind and they will give you a smile and thank you for the tip.

So it's not rude to pay tip here ! ;-)

  • 3
    Could you expand a bit on how to 'be careful a little more' if tipping waitresses, are there particular things a tourist should be careful about?
    – SpaceDog
    Commented Jan 4, 2016 at 3:23
  • @SpaceDog Strangers do not touch women in (most) muslim cultures, not even to shake hands.
    – Willeke
    Commented Jan 4, 2016 at 11:22
  • 1
    As willeke said men are not allowed to shake hands with women, so you cant use my way to tip a waitresses because you can shake her hand! ;-)
    – shayan
    Commented Jan 5, 2016 at 15:14

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .