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Restaurant Service In Prague

Prague has a reputation for poor service at restaurants. I am sure that sometimes it is well deserved but for most cases, I have found the service satisfactory. But I must admit I am usually more tolerant than most.

A distinction needs to be made before service at restaurants can be evaluated. In Prague there are two types of restaurants. The ones in the tourists district who cater to tourists and the ones that cater to locals.

The few times that I went to the tourist restaurants the service was excellent, what you would expect from any western restaurant with kind and prompt service. But that is because tourists, especially western tourists, are used to tipping based on service. The waiter gets paid based on his/her service level.

Restaurants That Cater to Locals – The Curse Of Communism

This is not the case for restaurants that cater to locals. The service level is a couple notches lower. During communism there was no tipping, therefore the mentality of waiters during communism was different. A waiter would be paid regardless of the customers’ satisfaction and regardless of how well the restaurant was doing. Every month he would get paid and it did not matter if his service was kind and fast. So there was no motivation for the waiter to please the customers. Actually, quite the opposite, the waiter would hope that the customer would never come back. The less busy the restaurant the less work for him – he would get paid regardless. Also, the waiter would purposely not come by to collect to bill. He wanted the current customers to stay as long as possible because when they leave, he would have to serve a whole new group of hungry people. And that’s work.

Fortunately, communism is gone. But the shadows remain and the remnants of the communist waiter remain. Sometimes you get the sense that he feels like he is doing you a favor by serving you. But I enjoy it. It is better than fake smiles.

Tipping At Restaurants

The service will not improve until the tips improve. Currently tipping works by rounding to the nearest whole number. So if your meal costs 46 CZK then you pay 50 CZK, which is nothing. If the bill is 287 CZK then you pay 300, again…nothing. So for now the waiters might be a little grumpy and not be shy about it. But I think that will change in a few years, as the concept of tipping becomes more natural. Once tipping reaches around 15% of the meal, the service will improve. The better the tips, the better the service – a basic principle. See the tipping in Prague page for more details.

Did I bring you pleasure? :)

I hope you find this website helpful. I created the website because I love Prague, I enjoy writing about it, and I get a weird kick out of helping you make your trip to Prague more enjoyable.

I wrote a book about local travel in Prague. The book is my pride, my joy, my unbiological offspring. It was written with a passionate heart. If you find this website helpful consider getting my book full of useful tips that will instil in you the confidence to wander the local streets of Prague. The book is included in the popular (proud to say over 1000 sold) Prague Local Explore Kit.

Thank you,
Roman : Prague 2023

Prague Local Travel Kit