HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
What's your latest food project? Tell us about it

Tipping take out Sushi

MartyKarate Aug 1, 2006 09:59 PM


I had a question, and I hope it's not too stupid. When getting take out sushi from various restaurants, are you expected to tip when paying your bill? If so, how much? I never tip when taking out from sub shops etc, but it being a restaurant, I'm a little confused on the etiquette. Thanks for any advice you may offer!

  1. r
    ricepad Aug 7, 2006 02:43 PM

    Speaking as a former sushi chef, I would say that tipping or not can partially depend on how busy the sushi place is. When you pick up your order, if the place is hopping and the chefs and servers are scurrying like mad trying to keep up, it'd be nice to drop a few bucks into the basket or slip 'em to the chef...sort of like saying, "Hey, I appreciate your making my order while you had all these other people to tend to..." It's certainly not necessary, but I'm sure the sushi chef will remember it the next time you sit at the counter.

    1. r
      Rick Aug 6, 2006 02:22 PM

      My feeling was that someone had to pack all that food up for you, it didn't happen by itself. I do tip a few bucks but no where near 15-20%.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Rick
        chaddict Aug 7, 2006 02:19 AM

        Exactly! But I don't feel it's required. Just something I like to do, no guilt involved.

      2. TexasToast Aug 5, 2006 12:26 AM

        Now don't get me wrong, I'm all the tipping . . . where it's due. I just think American's are obsessed with it.

        For example, when in London, I have friends that outright refuse to do it as the waiters get paid minimum wage over there (which explains the truly atrocious service, but that's for another post altogether) so there's really no need to tip to make up the wages.

        Of course, most places in London also add a "discretionary" 12.5% to your bill, which I find quite reasonable by our standards, but Londoners HATE it!


        1. spigot Aug 5, 2006 12:16 AM

          Notwithstanding my post above, I'm generally a patsy. If I pay cash for my takeout I don't tip. But when I use my debit card at my local sushi joint, the machine prompts to ask if I'm adding a tip. And prompted, I do - like, two dollars.

          I've learned from that, and now I pay cash.

          I tip well generally though, and not out of guilt/shame. 15-20% in a restaurant, and $5-7 for delivery.

          1. n
            Nicole Aug 3, 2006 07:57 PM

            To elaborate on my initial post, I usually get take-out sushi once a week, always at the same place. I never tip, and the sushi chefs and the woman who works the register are always extremely friendly and nice to me. I think if there was any bitterness about my not tipping, I would certainly notice. I'm sure a tip is always appreciated, but I definitely don't think it's necessary or expected.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Nicole
              SarahEats Aug 3, 2006 08:04 PM

              Probably not expected, but would definitely be appreciated. It doesn't sound like they're holding a lack of tip against you.

              I know my parents (who after going every Friday for years were definitely known to the sushi makers) got a ton of freebies with their order, most likely due to the tipping.

              1. re: Nicole
                jfood Aug 4, 2006 07:44 PM

                I would view this in the following manner, is the restaurant primarily a take-out establishment that may have a few tables for convenience, or a sit-down restaurant that offers some take-out. If it is the former than I would probably not tip and the only reason I leave my change at Starbies is I hate change in my pocket. If it is the latter, I always leave a tip, usually 10% and let me tell you that is some of the best tip money if you plan on being a regular take-outer in the future. New parents listen to this advise carefully.

                On the Chinese/Japanese, it was always a take-out growing up on special occasions and my father was already stretching the dollar for a restaurant meal so I was brought up with no tip to Chinese take-out. Likewise I have NEVER seen anything from the cashier at these restaurants.

                1. re: jfood
                  TexasToast Aug 5, 2006 12:09 AM

                  Okay, well what would you do in this scenario?

                  I stopped off for a quick drink the other day at a rather trendy restaurant. I sat outside on a pavement table and a woman came out and hands me the drinks menu.

                  She returned, took the order, and it takes forever for the drink to arrive. A different person that the one who initially took the order brings out the drink.

                  Then, nothing. No "how was it," no "would you like anything else," no check, nothing. Finally, I go inside and ask to pay and a third person, a guy rushes up with the bill all printed up. Now, this place had already added a gratuity and the total check was a little over $11, so I gave $21 and some change, fully expecting to get $10 back.

                  The guy goes away for ages and returns with two $5's. And yes, that could just happen to be ALL he was able to find, but I knew he was thinking, "ah, a $5 tip." For WHAT exactly?
                  All he did was hand me the check (as I know somebody else made the drink)!

                  I took BOTH $5 bills and walked out!


                  1. re: TexasToast
                    spigot Aug 5, 2006 12:18 AM

                    I would do that too. Truly bad service = no tip at all.

                    1. re: TexasToast
                      jfood Aug 5, 2006 01:25 PM

                      I would do two things:

                      1 - Say thank you, and do exactly what you did. Two fives in the pocket are as good as a ten
                      2 - Find another place for a quick drink. In no way, shape or form, do I appreciate adding a service charge on a drink order. This only fosters bad service, which you experienced.

                      If you were truly disturbed with the service, you should cross out the service charge upon paying the bill, bring the bill to the manager and pay him. For a lousy $1.50, probably not worth the effort or aggravation.

                      1. re: jfood
                        TexasToast Aug 5, 2006 01:52 PM

                        Trust me, I'm not planning on going back to that place again--not on my wallet anyway.

                        The only time I've really had a problem with added service, such that I made a fuss (and ended up getting the entire bill comp'd--not my intention), was in Miami Beach one time. But, on that occasion, the issue was that the credit card receipt being changed AFTER I'd totaled and signed it so it was a case of fraud.


                2. w
                  weaver Aug 3, 2006 07:52 PM

                  I usually tip a couple bucks for takeout (any takeout from a "real" restaurant, not just sushi). More if they've gone out of their way, zero if I've been annoyed by something (both happen regularly :) ).

                  1. s
                    SarahEats Aug 3, 2006 07:45 PM

                    My husband and I rarely get takeout (if we aren't eating at the restaurant we get delivery), but when I was living at home and we got sushi every Friday night, my parents always tipped the sushi guys $2.

                    1. j
                      j2brady Aug 3, 2006 11:14 AM

                      Never! I never tip on take out!

                      I have waitressed for years, throughout highschool and university and I never expected a tip for take out either.

                      I can say most people don't tip for take out and I wouldn't want them to since it is not for the good service I gave them but because they thought they should.

                      The tip is meant to be for good service..if there is no service then there is no need for a tip.


                      11 Replies
                      1. re: j2brady
                        KTinNYC Aug 3, 2006 07:41 PM

                        "The tip is meant to be for good service..if there is no service then there is no need for a tip."

                        Isn't packing up the food in individual containers and putting the food in bags service? I think it is and I tip on take out.

                        1. re: KTinNYC
                          j2brady Aug 4, 2006 10:58 AM

                          Do you tip at McDonalds, Subway, or any other fast food joint? Do you tip at the grocery store when the cashier bags your grocerries? Do you tip when asking the locaiton of an item in a store?

                          Let me correct my self...a tip is for service over and above what is expected.

                          It drives me crazy when I go o my local coffee shop and they have a tip jar...a tip for pouring a cup of coffee? I put in the cream and sugar myself. What the heck is the tip for? Pouring coffee is thier job! Just like bagging groceries is the cashiers job!


                          1. re: j2brady
                            KTinNYC Aug 4, 2006 04:24 PM

                            I don't tip in any examples you gave because in all those instances the employees are paid an hourly wage at or above minimum but the waiter who packed your food does not. This SERVICE is being done when they can be doing something else to earn a higer tip from customers.

                            "a tip is for service over and above what is expected. "

                            Really? so a server who brings you your food when it is expected, refills your beverage, checks to see if everything is okay, are these things expected? I think so and I think most people expect this level of service, do these servers not deserve a tip?

                            1. re: KTinNYC
                              Bob Martinez Aug 4, 2006 05:09 PM

                              Tipping on take out is an example of middle class guilt at it's finest.

                              1. re: KTinNYC
                                chaddict Aug 4, 2006 07:20 PM

                                In reply to Bob Martinez, no, in my case it is an example of someone who once worked as a tipped employee. I am not saying everyone ought to do it. Current and former restaurant workers tend to be the most generous tippers. It's an example of empathy.

                                1. re: KTinNYC
                                  Bob Martinez Aug 4, 2006 08:44 PM

                                  And in reply to Chaddict, putting stuff in a bag is not tip worthy.

                                  You don't do it when you go to a supermarket and they put your groceries in a bag. You don't do it when you go to the hardware store and they put wood screws and twine in a bag. You don't do it when you go to the dry cleaners and they put your shirts in a bag. But suddenly, because the contents of the bag is won ton soup, you lay a couple of bucks on them?

                                  There was even a former server on this thread who talked about how she doesn't tip because she reserves it for situations which provide actual service.

                                  It is not hard to put stuff in a bag. It requires no special skill and it takes little time. The person who does it is already part of a tip pool which is fed by people paying for real services rendered.

                                  Tip for take out if you feel like it, but it is in no way customary, required, or deserved.

                                  1. re: KTinNYC
                                    chaddict Aug 4, 2006 08:55 PM

                                    Bob, as I said: I am not saying everyone ought to do it.

                                    1. re: KTinNYC
                                      j2brady Aug 5, 2006 02:25 PM

                                      I agree!

                                      The things you mentioned are expected...but when done at a bare minimum level it does not warrant a tip. I can bring a glass of wine to a table in several different ways...I can plunk it down and run or I can place it down with a smile and talk to the guest about the wine pairing or other informaiton I know about the wine or the winery. This is what earns me great tips!

                                    2. re: j2brady
                                      TexasToast Aug 5, 2006 12:01 AM

                                      I totally agree with the Starbucks example. Pouring coffee is your job and it pisses me off that they expect a tip. Oh, and SBux employees are paid well above minimum wage so there's no need to tip them!


                                      1. re: TexasToast
                                        Cathy Aug 13, 2006 07:27 PM

                                        To avoid tipping at *$, I have a *$ card. I use the card to pay for everything and basically appear to "carry no cash"...works with the homeless guys out front

                                        Its on auto-recharge...when balance gets below $15, I ahve my cc add another $ 20.

                                        {BTW, I usually order a tall coffee of the day and if I am staying there, get it in a "for here" cup...so they also have to wash it. All stand alone *$ stores cors country have "for here" cups and glasses.}

                                    3. re: KTinNYC
                                      fooddude10 Aug 13, 2011 04:35 PM

                                      If that is the case we would tip every cashier that puts things in bags, and we would tip the drive thru at McDonalds (It's the exact same thing.) No to take out tipping. I am a very generous tipper when I have recieved service.

                                  2. jfood Aug 2, 2006 10:56 PM

                                    Live in the burbs in a town that ten years ago was a food wasteland but now has outstanding food. My DW and I love to sit on our terrace on a quiet night and eat well and take-out has been great. I mentioned to my DW the other night that i am not sure if it is a good or bad thing that every time i go to a restaurant in town (only 5) the Maitre D' comes over and greets me personally and asks how the DW and kids are. On a $50-60 bill i normally leave $5. They basically do nothing other than take a bag from one hand to the other and the added money is always well received.

                                    My Japanese/Asian/Chinese/Sushi restaurant though never seems to peek my interest in leaving a tip on take-out. I think it goes back to my youth when my dad took me when we picked up take-out on saturday nights. never saw him leave a tip.

                                    1. Covert Ops Aug 2, 2006 04:18 PM

                                      I rarely tip on takeout, unless I'm a regular (and even then only 10% or so), but I always tip sushi chefs. This is because they are the ONLY chefs that usually get tips, and whether I'm sitting there or taking it home, they still used their skill to prepare my sushi. Unless it's a very big order, it's usually just a buck or two.

                                      1. TexasToast Aug 2, 2006 02:10 PM

                                        I HATE tipping on take-out. It seems such a waste of money. It's the equivelant of tipping the pizza place WHEN YOU GO TO PICK THE PIZZA UP YOURSELF!

                                        Having said that, if it's a restaurant that I usually sit down to eat at, (and one that I'm likely to want to go back to some time soon) then yes, I'll tip 10%.


                                        1. frankiii Aug 2, 2006 03:02 AM

                                          i tip a buck or two on regular take out but with sushi, and i had never thought about this before, it might be nice to go drop a few bucks in the jar on top of the sushi counter just as you would if you had eaten at the bar. The only reason i say this is that it is sort of the convention to tip sushi chefs.

                                          1. n
                                            Nicole Aug 2, 2006 02:55 AM

                                            I never tip on takeout.

                                            1. chaddict Aug 1, 2006 10:17 PM

                                              hmmm, and I always tip on take-out.

                                              1. d
                                                dagnabbit Aug 1, 2006 10:14 PM

                                                I generally don't tip on take out.

                                                1. steinpilz Aug 1, 2006 10:02 PM

                                                  I never do, I'll be interested to hear what people say about this.

                                                  Show Hidden Posts