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May 13, 2005 04:36 PM

Etiquette for tipping on take out orders?

  • l

In New York City, most every restaurant will do take out orders. I'm never sure what the etiquette is for tipping when my order is ready, especially when I pay with a credit card and there's the line for gratuity. I always tip something (it's a NYC thing), but never know what the proper percentage should be. If I'm picking up a pizza order or cheap asian, I usually just take my food and go. But at higher end places, the bill can be $30 or more per person. How do you handle it?

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  1. i've wondered that too! in fact i generally leave nothing, i didn't know it was an nyc thing to do so. i tip well on meals and what i think is quite well for delivery, but i wasn't sure if tipping applied to take out. the odd time i've left it's been if someone there had gotten me a glass of water or something while i wait for my food.

    1. there was a very long discussion about this on this board last week that you might find helpful.

      (control f - to search for topics)

      1. Disclaimer: despite my post below, I am NOT a cheap person -- I generally tip very, very well, usually 20%, and I used to be a waiter so I am fully aware of the importance of tips.

        But I don't tip for takeout, especially in those stupid "college fund/tips greatly appreciated" jars. The only exception is if I sit at a bar and eat peanuts and drink something -- I tip on the bar tab.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Das Ubergeek

          same situation - same advice

          1. re: Das Ubergeek

            If you sit at the bar and eat peanuts and drink something, you're tipping the bartender. So don't fool yourself into thinking you're tipping on takeout!

          2. For takeout in DC and Phila., I'll leave a couple of dollars, maybe three if it's a bigger order and requires more complicated packaging. But I only do this as an appreciative gesture--you don't have to tip on takeout.

            If I have a drink while I'm waiting for my order, I will tip about five bucks.

            For pizza, coffee takeout, etc., it's nice to put a dollar in the tip cup.

            1 Reply
            1. re: gina

              Your tip on takeout should reflect the order. If it's pizza, then there's no prep required by the TO person. If it's dinners, sandwiches, etc, you might want to consider tipping at least 10% of the order, with a minimum of $2.

            2. What about coffee? I go to a place where they basically hand you a cup and you pour your own - they have a tip jar and for some reason I feel really guilty not leaving something (although I feel a tip is definitely not waranted).

              4 Replies
              1. re: KenOnDean

                Please do not feel guilty for not tipping on pouring your own coffee.

                I tip a dollar for my coffee just because I like my baristas, and I appreciate how well they make triple-skim-light-foam-half-caff-mocha lattes!

                (Just kidding, I don't order those.)

                1. re: gina

                  I have to agree... a tip for your barista now and then is a nice thing, particularly if you order complicated drinks, and especially if you have weird order requests.

                  That said, I don't buy fancy coffee very often, and thus my few visits to a coffee house usually involve an order of "double espresso, please."

                2. re: KenOnDean

                  "...I feel really guilty..."

                  Don't. You're in charge of your emotions, not the other way around.

                  1. re: Karl S

                    Only when I take my medication. . .