What it means on your restaurant bill in Italy
Different countries do things differently, and in Italy you may be confused with some terms listed on your restaurant bill. Like what the heck is a coperto?!
This is a cover charge. A bit like a fee for using their table and chairs. Instead of factoring this into the price on the menu, it is an added charge.
The Coperto must be listed on the menu. Check the price before sitting down or you may get a surprise at the end of your meal. Generally, the cost is between €1 and €2 per person, including children. This can mount up to a hefty charge.
The Coperto usually costs more in touristy areas and is included in bills for even a coffee. This charge is seemingly illegal in the Lazio (Rome) region now but may still be listed on the menus!
We had a “discussion” regarding the bill above following a delay receiving our food and a missing item so the coperto was removed, or was at least reduced to zero euros each.
Check the menu for Coperto to find out how much you will be charged.
The Servizio or service charge is another charge you may see on a bill. This is not like a tip and goes to the restaurant and not the staff. This is a mandatory charge, however if not listed on the menu you can have it taken off. Again, this charge is generally found in touristy areas.
Check the menu for the rate of Servizio.
A general rule of thumb – don’t tip! Staff in Italy a paid a decent wage and don’t need to live off tips. If you feel Service has been amazing, helpful or you just can’t leave without tipping, then do it the Italian way – round up your bill to the nearest 0 or 5, or empty out your pocket of spare € coins.