The cost of eating out at a restaurant in New Zealand seems very expensive. It takes a little bit of breaking down the cost of a restaurant meal to get the “true” price of the meal. Since tipping is not part of the culture in New Zealand and GST is included in the listed price, so the amount that you see on the menu is the price that you pay. I moved to New Zealand from the states so I will compare it the menu price and total cost of eating out in the United States.
Cost of meal: $20 NZD burger and fries
Cost with tax: $20
Cost with “tax and tip”: $20
What would the base price of the meal be if you payed 10% tax and 20% tip like you do in many places in the US?
Cost of meal: $15
Cost with tax: $16.50
Cost with tax and tip: $19.80
A burger and fries for $15 seems more reasonable than $20. If you compared it to USD that would put a $20NZD meal costing, in the end, the same as a $10USD meal which is pretty crazy to think about.
Coming from the United States, I am so used to thinking of the cost of a meal without tax or tip included, that when you take it out, prices seem a lot more reasonable. I believe that the New Zealand way of pricing food and goods is way more consumer friendly than how it is done in the United States. It is a little shock when I go back to the states and have to add tax and tip now.
Even though I compared the price of the meal in NZD to a meal in USD, it is crucial to have a strategy when to use NZD and when to think of the price in your “home” currency. Our guide to deals in New Zealand can help you save money while dining out. One thing to remember is that in New Zealand you go up to the counter to pay, do not wait for a check to come to your table.