There are a few basic dining habits you should take note of.
Firstly, in Germany, diners are expected to find their own tables. However, if you happen to see a sign in German that states “Please wait to be seated”, it indicates that the restaurant is incredibly exclusive and expensive to dine at. Otherwise, most of the times, you find your own seats and table.
Secondly, unlike other places, Germany strongly discourages the practice of asking for a glass of tap water. If you really desire water, customers often request for sparkling mineral water (bottled Mineralwasser) or still water (stilles Wasser). The request for tap water will find yourself at the end of a waiter’s disgust.
Lastly, for paying the meal, the waiter will often handle it via the money pouch they carry around. You have to first ask for your bill (Zahlen Bitte!), and depending on the service you received, you should tip the normal ~15%. Do not leave the tip on the table, and if you have the cash to spare, do tip the waiter and not round up the bill to the nearest euro as tip instead. A German waiter’s income largely depends on the tips. If you are paying via card, do tell the waiter how much you want to tip before he swipes your card. It is still better to pay the tip in cash though, so the waiter does not get charged income tax for the tips.
Speaking of cards, many German establishments do not accept credit cards, so keep a lookout. It is always wise to check whether the restaurant accepts cards before you order.
Similar to Singapore’s GST, there is also a 19% sales tax included in the price of almost everything in Germany including restaurant meals.