HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >

Discussion

Do you tip when "picking-up" food?

  • 76
  • Share

Say you order take-out from the restaurant down the street. They don't deliver, so you go to pick it up. When you arrive, your bag is waiting for you at the front desk. The bill is given to you by the guy at the desk. You pay by credit card. Do you leave a tip in the space on the bill, or not? I have waffled about this and done both. On the one hand, I don't want to stiff anyone. On the other hand, I don't know who I'm tipping, and I'm doing most of the leg-work. What do you do?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. I'm in the same boat. Sometimes I tip, sometimes I don't. And I'm never sure which is correct. I mean, I guess someone had to stuff that food into the takeout containers and put them in a bag, but it's not exactly full service. Others?

    1. I'm a very good tipper when dining in but do not tip for take out. Especially not on a credit card. I might leave some loose change or a buck or two during the holidays if there's a jar on the counter, but other than that I never do.

      1. I have to say that places that are mostly take out I will not tip but if I am taking out of a nicer sit down restaurant then I tip.

        I will typically tip 10% seeing as I was not actually waited on but I feel like someone needs to get something for putting my order together.

        1. No.

          A tip is the North American excuse for not having a service charge. There wasn't really service per se, they handed over the sack of food and you paid for it. I don't tip at Burger King -- and I don't put money in those stupid tip cups either. If I'm going to tip someone, I'm going to give it to them or leave it at my place.

          (I'm bitter about tip cups because I've seen so many people either make change in it, or just outright steal from it.)

          1 Reply
          1. re: Das Ubergeek

            I don't know who's receiving the tip at many restaurants in this situation, but when it's a waiter/waitress involved, keep in mind that their hourly wage is usually half that of the person at Burger King. So I usually don't tip the owner of a Chinese takeout who bags up an order, but I do tip a waitress in a diner who does the same thing. And vice-versa.

          2. No, I don't.

            How about if you eat at a restaurant and then order something to go? I always tip for that. But, when you think about it, there really isn't a difference between the two.

            1. I really don't see any difference between buying take-out food and buying food at the supermarket, and nobody's looking for a tip there (maybe for carrying bags out in some places, but then you're tipping for the service, not the purchase). So, no, I don't tip.

              That assumes that the people behind the counter aren't being paid as waitstaff, but rather come under the same minimum-wage laws as any other retail employees - I don't know that, but I'd always assumed it to be the case. I'd change my policy if it's not.

              1. No. Never.

                1. I sometimes do... If I pick up regularly or intend to then I put a few dollars on the line to be nice.

                  I went in to try a new (to me) Chinese place by my house with the hubby and my little niece the other night. I went in and did the ordering, so no phone order, while she played outside with my husband. I payed right then and there (prior to prep) by credit card and since it was a fairly nice sit down place (as opposed to a typical takeout) we might frequent if the food was good (which it was) I added a few dollars to the tip line. I kinda felt it was the thing to do but I did not calculate 10 or 20 percent, I just added a few dollars.

                  1. No.

                    1. I tip a buck, two or three for take out, at the three Asian restaurants that I am considered a "regular". They always treat me like family without regard to sit down or take out purchases. Often they will comp something at the table, offer tea while waiting for my take out or slip a little something into the take out bag. I'm usually dealing with the owner, son/daughter or long time manager. These restaurants have a community sharing of tips rather than "each to his own".

                      If I'm a stranger at a restaurant or it is a traditional take out joint, I do not usually tip.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: stevieBcanyon

                        The last time I went to my favorite Vietnamese restaurant to get takeout, they comp'd the glass of wine I asked for while I was sitting waiting for my order to be filled (and chatting with the owner). Of course I tipped the amount of the wine, for the server, who was the one who was packing my order up. Since it was a particularly slow night, I'm sure it was appreciated, and I really wanted that wine and would have gladly paid for it.

                        1. re: stevieBcanyon

                          That's my M.O. exactly.

                          1. re: stevieBcanyon

                            I do tip on takeout (sometimes as generously as for table service) at my "regular" places....but not at those I patronize infrequently. Mostly, it's a gesture of respect/appreciation in these post-Katrina times in New Orleans; I'm just so happy that some of these small, family-owned places have reopened, I feel like I'm donating to a worthy cause.

                          2. I tip if they did something special for me. That may mean I asked for an extra bun/pita/bag/fork/sauce and they gave it no charge. That may mean I ordered something with a modification (extra hot/no dressing/x on the side). Or they gave me something free that I didn't expect.

                            Otherwise no.

                            1. I am usually not on this side of the argument with so many Chows on the other, but there are three resto in town that I am considered a regular and do the huggy thing with them whenever I dine there with my DW. They also squeeze us in at the last minute.

                              Sometimes my DW and I just want a quiet Saturday night in front of the fire or on the terrace and do not want to cook. We say, "how about something from XXX?" I call, told the specials and order. When I pick up Ro, Aldo or Mario always have my food perfectly prepared, packed and ready to go. I would say 1% of their bz is take-out. I usually tip in the 10% range and from seeing the response, looks like 10% more than normal.

                              OTOH, my Asian take-out restos are not as user-friendly, no huggy thing, no table when I call at 3PM on Saturday, just one of the throngs. I never feel inclined to tip them when I pick up. Their take-out biz is probably 60% of the take.

                              1. Ok. I work in the restaurant business. I am a server at a typical nice, but not really upscale place. When the phone rings for a take-out order, one of the servers takes that order and punches it in to the computer. When the meals are ready, that same server(or perhaps another server) bags it and includes the proper silverware. When the customer comes in, that same server deals with the money transaction and hands off the meals. Seems simple, doesn't it? Well, not always. You might have the customer on the phone wanting to know everything on your menu. You might have the customer that comes in to order and takes up 10 minutes of your time when you need to do a dozen things yesterday. Even a basic order can really put you behind. Not to mention that the server is indeed doing all these things for you at less than minimum wage. I certainly don't expect a full tip, but a couple of dollars is a really nice gesture. My advice would be to try and flesh out the situation at the restaurant you are ordering from. Some places obviously have a dedicated employee to handle take-out, but most don't. The employees of these places are taking time away from their real bread and butter to help you out. Thank them accordingly.

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: hilltowner

                                  I agree. I do not tip for take-out in most places - but I do tip at two restaurants that I frequent precisely because I know that the wait staff had to put in the order, bag it as it came out, and ring me up. As others have mentioned, these are regular places that treat us very well when we dine there.

                                  In my experience, most people who don't tip or tip poorly never had to work as a waiter. It carries through to tipping for take-out. Paying customers should feel guilty about not tipping. Unlike other countries, our restaurants do not build in the full service charges, and do not pay the FOH staff a full wage. Where it is allowed, they will not even pay minimum wage, since tips are counted as part of meeting the minimum wage laws. Many places skim the tips as part of their gross. (That's why I always leave my tips in cash, and not on the card.) In the US, tipping is part of the cost of buying prepared food - people who haven't worked full shifts, day after day, on their feet serving others, just don't get it - or just don't care.

                                  1. re: hilltowner

                                    Those customers who take extra time should tip. But, I don't understand how a basic order would tie up a system when it IS the system in many places. Most of the take out places we order from are mostly take out places with minimal seating. Most chinese restaurants are set up for a lot of take out (many even have take out only areas). It would be one thing, as I said before, if I asked the waiter/waitress for something--I definitely tip on that. But, when I do take out at most places, I see the host/hostess if not a designated take out person and they make minimum or more (a lot more for some). I don't think tipping is automatically the cost of prepared food. I don't tip the Costco pizza person either for boxing up my pizza. Where does it end? Skimming tips is another issue and I think it's wrong. Don't some states make that illegal?

                                    1. re: chowser

                                      You're right about tipping for take-out when it is the system, but at many many restaurants, it is not. There are not dedicated take-out areas or workers. In the restaurant where I work, we don't have that. Take-out is probably less than 5% of our business. But it still happens, sometimes when the restaurant is very ver busy. That's why I said to flesh out the situation on a case by case basis.

                                      1. re: hilltowner

                                        I definitely agree it's a case by case basis. In a restaurant where there is a waitstaff who has helped me, I tip my customary 20+% (come to think of it, maybe I'm overtippping if I'm taking out...The last waitress I tipped looked really surprised when I told her to keep the change). If it's a place where there is a separate entrance for take-out, I don't.

                                        1. re: hilltowner

                                          I'm sorry, but i'm tired of being pressured to take up the slack of what restaurant owners won't pay their wait staff.

                                          I tip waiters if the service is good, yes, but to extend it to making someone feel guilty for not paying more than the already inflated price for, well, no reason what so ever is disgusting.

                                          Don't give me this "did you ever work as a waiter" crap. On the list of bad paying jobs waiters are far from alone. Gonna tip the poor shlub mopping the walmart floor next time you're there? Or the guy stocking the canned soup at the market?

                                          Why waiters feel this entightlement over others is beyond me. Oh, they serve you...gee that's the job they agreed to.

                                          1. re: Veetoe

                                            I make great money as a server. I also enjoy it. This is not about pitying the waiter. It's about respecting that they are performing the service for you at less than minimum wage. Yes, we work at less than minimum wage willingly, because we make up the difference, and then some, with the tips we earn. The point is that with to-go orders, the work involved takes up away from our tipping tables. Slower service = less tip. I don't expect anything big, but a buck or two says thank you for taking time away from your bread and butter to serve me as well. I'm sorry you don't like the American system of restaurants, but I think it actually works. In Europe, waiters are paid a set wage, and it is reflected in the price of the meals. Here, meal costs are lower, and we are expected to tip. I feel that our system has great advantages as long as people stop tipping 20% as a rule. If people actually tip based on the quality of service, bad waiters would find another profession and good waiters would be compensated for their work. And wouldn't have to pick up the slack for their crappy co-workers. With a set wage, waiters have no incentive to be great at their job. They know they're getting the money anyway, so why smile. Why refill the water glass in a timely manner.

                                            1. re: hilltowner

                                              Why do you think that the meal costs are lower in the US than in Europe ? Coming from Europe (and now living for several years in the US) I was often surprised to see how expensive meals (there are exceptions) are even if I consider different costs of living. And also the other argument I often hear that the service in an US restaurant is better than in an European one is not true. I don't see big differences in the quality of service in both cases.

                                    2. no, no need to tip. Tipping is way out of control as it is, no need to create yet another sticky situation. It is an issue the restaurant management should deal with, not the customer. If there should be a take out fee, it should be printed. Someone has to put the food in the container, true, the restaurant needs to pay someone to do that. Why is it the paying customers are always supposed to feel guilty from patronizing a business?

                                      1. I will only if it's a sit down restaurant I also eat at. In that case, I'm likely to know the people and the take-out sales will be done through the bartender, and it's always good to know your bartenders!

                                        TT

                                        1. ALl this talk about tipping because a server did take the order, pack the food, put it in a bag, and then deals with the bill transaction makes me think... Do you tip the person behind the deli counter making your sandwich or packing up the hot foods or cold foods ready for reheat at home?

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: rumgum

                                            Absolutely. One of the places I mentioned is a Jewish deli (as close as we get here in Boston), and when I get my monthly $50 worth of knishes, tongue, pastrami and halvah, I drop a five on the counter for the guy.

                                            In the grocery store, no - I don't. These guys are generally meat packers union - they make more than minimum wage.

                                            So - did you ever work as a waiter?

                                            1. re: applehome

                                              I HAVE worked as a waiter, and I absolutely DO NOT expect to be tipped, nor do I tip, on take-out orders. None of my colleagues do, either.

                                              If the fact that someone who makes the legal minimum has to take the order, pack and bag the food and ring up the transaction means that he/she deserves a tip, then you should be tipping fast food restaurant workers too, because they're paid the legal minimum and they have to do all those things too.

                                              1. re: mclaugh

                                                Fast food workers are never paid less than minimum wage with the anticipation that tips will make up the difference.

                                            2. re: rumgum

                                              That person is probably being paid at least minimum wage. A servers wage is paid at the whim of the customer. If the customer isn't happy because it took you ten extra minutes to bring their cocktail, the customer pays the server less.

                                            3. What's next ? Tipping the hot dog or knish guy ? Tipping the lemon ice seller ? A tip should be given only to a server whose livelyhood is based largely ON TIPS....I consider the local take-out joint to be lucky to have my business, therefore I EXPECT them tp put the food in a bag for me to TAKE OUT..I do not expect to pay extra for the courtesy of not putting the food I have purchased ON THE FLOOR instead of into a CONTAINER. Have you people who think that everyone who does anything at all deserves a tip lost your minds ?

                                              1. I tip on takeout if I have asked for something special (extra dressing or a switch of a side dish or the like) and then it's about 10%. If it's straight, no frills ordering, I don't tip.

                                                1. Well this in an interesting thread. I had never tipped for take-out before. Once time when I was picking up some dinner at a Japanese restaurant near home, the owner said to the sushi guys that there was no tip as I was leaving. I thought it was very tacky. Since then, I have left a tip for the sushi part of the take-out on occassion.

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: Cheesy Oysters

                                                    If that had been me, the restaurant should be grateful if I continued to come back after that rudeness. I'd seriously consider never returning, and telling them why.

                                                    1. re: Karl S

                                                      I agree...

                                                      CO: Are you saying you still go there but NOW leave a tip? I would take Karl's advice and make sure they know it...

                                                      1. re: Michele4466

                                                        Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. It is super close and pretty good so we do end up going there from time to time. In general, they aren't real friendly so I didn't take any more offense than I have in the past. Other than being rude, I thought it was interesting to consider tipping for take-out sushi and maybe not a bad idea. I haven't lost much sleep over it but wonder if others tip when getting take-out sushi.

                                                        1. re: Cheesy Oysters

                                                          i tip on take out sushi.

                                                  2. No, 'cause there's no 'service' involved, not even a glass of water.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: morebubbles

                                                      If no service is involved how did all the food get packed in the containers and then packed in the bag? How did the 'silverware' and napkins and condiments get in the bag, magic?

                                                      1. re: KTinNYC

                                                        Those basic functions in take-out have not traditionally been considered a tippable service.

                                                        You may ask why, and the answer is because. Customs are arbitrary that way. Tipping is a matter of custom, so it's arbitrary that way. And you cannot fault people for abiding by longstanding custom. You can try to change custom, but until a consensus develops to actually adopt a change, the old custom remains the default against people can be judged reasonably.

                                                    2. no, it makes no sense to tip when you are going to pick up food. Tipping a delivery guy is different.

                                                      You are already paying for the food. Sometimes I consciously choose a pick up rather than delivery because I am low on cash.

                                                      Do you tip when you go to any other store to buy something? That's how I see it. That's like tipping a target cashier when you go buy underwear....what the?

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: Veetoe

                                                        It's worth saying this one more time:

                                                        The Target cashier isn't getting paid less than minimum wage, with the anticipation that he/she will make up the difference in tips.

                                                        Waiters are.

                                                        If you go to a sub shop or other quick-service place where the business is based on take-out, there is normally a person that is being paid to take care of the take-out service. It doesn't make sense to tip that person, as they are being paid minimum wage with the anticipation that they will make no tips.

                                                        But if you go to a restaurant where the waiters are getting paid less than minimum wage and are counting on their tips to make up the difference (and hopefully plus some), and they are being tasked to handle the take-out service, then they are working to deliver food to you, and they are doing so for less than minimum wage. If you don't tip them, they are indeed making less than minimum wage for the time they are servicing your order.

                                                        Minimum wage is not necessarily very meaningful these days, but at least, it is some measure of work equity. As little as it is, the thought of making less is, to me, completely absurd and inhuman. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

                                                        Now, you can scream all you want that this is the restaurant's fault, and not yours - but if the restaurant did hire someone to handle the take-out, they would jack up the food prices, and you would pay, anyway. So if they don't hire that person, you should get the service for free? The waiter should do this out of the goodness of their heart because they make so much money for the small amount of work they do. This whole conversation gets even more sublime when you consider the level of importance other cultures put to service workers in the food industry. You don't tip at all in France or Japan. You don't need to. Waiters are paid well enough so that tips are not necessary.

                                                        It would be nice if we did that here. But we don't. Here, we pay our wait staff less than minimum wage with the anticipation that tips will make up the difference. Is this not a difference from Target cashiers that folks can understand? What the? Indeed!

                                                        1. re: applehome

                                                          Ultimately, that's not dispositive of the traditional custom. Most places where I see take out, it's non-wait staff who present things to the customer (kitchen or host(ess)) anyway.

                                                          1. re: applehome

                                                            Yes, I'd much rather the restaurant increase the price for take out food than playing this game. Based on the REAL FINAL TOTAL I will decide where to get my food. On the other hand, I am more than happy to walk to the kitchen to put the food in a bag if that saves the waiter so much time and trouble.

                                                        2. Maybe a server can answer this: In a sit down restaurant, when a customer orders take-out, does the take-out sale "register" or count towards the sales/ income of a particular employee (who makes less than minimum wage) such that for IRS purposes, they're taxed on that amount?

                                                          TT

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: TexasToast

                                                            It really depends on the restaurant. Some are more shady than others, but lately, the IRS has been really cracking down on tip declaration.(Rightly, in my opinion). Where I work now, at a pretty above board restaurant, to-go income is recorded separately, so the IRS issue is moot. I can't speak for others though. For me, the issue isn't about being taxed on to-go orders, it about the time involved in taking the orders, packing up the orders, and dealing with the transaction when the customer arrives. It may seem like just a couple of minutes to you, but a couple of minutes means a whole lot to a server in a busy restaurant.

                                                            1. re: hilltowner

                                                              But a server who's working the floor is not gonna pack up "to go" orders for outside customers. I don't mean doggy bag people, but those who walk in, get their food, and leave. The kitchen packs that up as the food is cooked. Why would you tip on that? If I go get the pizza myself, yes, they put it in a box, but then, so what?

                                                              TT

                                                              1. re: TexasToast

                                                                But that is precisely what the servers are doing where I tip. I call in to my local favorite Vietnamese place and my local tex-mex establishment, and one of the waitresses that happens to be at the front (ringing up a table or getting booze) answers the phone and takes my order. Sometimes, they'll ask me to hold on and I hear them checking out someone who didn't want to wait at the table. When I get there to pick up the food, someone going by will get my name and go to the kitchen. They come out with the individual items and take out a bag and bag everything, including the soup for the pho, bags of basil, lime and hot peppers, containers of spring rolls, pan-fried watercress, etcetc... then they'll ring me up. Tables are waiting for their waitress as all this is happening.

                                                                They are most certainly serving me - not as much as if I were seated at a table, but they are serving me nevertheless.

                                                                I know that I harped on the minimum wage issue before, and that is a problem for some wait staff - but I'll readily admit that it's kind of a red herring - wait staff in decent places around here (Boston) are certainly making more than minimum wage. But the point is that they should be.

                                                                A pizza/sub-shop counter guy, whether he's a counter-help hire working for minimum wage, or perhaps an owner/operator taking his turn at the register, is being paid fully for his work. The work is certainly tiring (any work where you stand for hours is tiring) but it isn't especially demanding and doesn't deserve any special consideration. If they smile and have a good attitude, I'll sometimes drop some change in the jar, but normally I won't bother leaving anything extra.

                                                                But wait staff in a restaurant are more than that. Even in this day and age, when some of the old practices are gone (service position ettiquette, paying attention to the silverware position, etc...) there are basic functions that one must learn so that the customer feels well served. That's worth more than minimum wage. If a person with those skills is also tasked to take care of the take-out customer, should they only get the base (lower than minimal wage) for that time? If it forces them to lose some tip on table customers because of a perception of inattentiveness, is there any compensation?

                                                                The attitude that, well it's up to the restaurant - and why should the customer take in the shorts, really frosts me. It shows a real ignorance of the wait staff's position in a restaurant (lower than a snake's belly...) - it definitely belongs to a person that never waited for a living. The customer isn't taking it in the shorts - they're paying the real cost of doing business.

                                                                1. re: applehome

                                                                  If it's the same waiters actually doing it, feel free to tip. Hell, tip anyway. Who am I to tell you what to do with your money.

                                                                  My point was simply that in the types of extablishments I described, tipping isn't necessary and there IS no service.

                                                                  TT

                                                          2. I refuse to feel guilty about not tipping on a take out order.

                                                            I am an excellent tipper when I eat at a restaurant, for a person who waits on me, and provides a service.

                                                            I expect that the working staff at take out restaurants, are paid a fair wage and compensation. If not, then take it up with the restaurant owner.

                                                            If you want to be shocked about a tipping sore spot, go on a Cruise. But, that is another topic completely....ugh.

                                                            1. if i can spare a buck or two (i'm a student right now, not really working that much) then i do, but i don't feel like i'm obligated. as far as the tip line on charge slips, i know that's just there because the restaurant's computer system only prints out one kind of charge slip and not because it's expected to leave a tip for a takeout order. sometimes i'll add a tip just to round up my charge to an even number.

                                                              1. Sometimes I decide to get takeout simply to avoid the cost of delivery or table service. I am going out of my way to get the food and serve it myself, and the price should, in fact, be substantially cheaper. Thus, I don't feel compelled to tip for takeout.

                                                                I understand that the wait staff has to put the boxes in the bag with a napkin, but this should be compared to delivery or table service. We're talking a minute of the waiter's time here. Realistically, the waiter should get a 30 cent tip or something de minimis. To account for this, the restaurant should just include an allotment for time spent on takeout in the waiter's salary.

                                                                6 Replies
                                                                1. re: fenian

                                                                  I'll do that with pizza, as the places are all so close, but it's quicker to go get it yourself (especially if you live somewhere where they'll never find it) and why pay delivery and tip? I can put that money to something else . . . like more pizza so I can have it cold the next day :)

                                                                  TT

                                                                  1. re: fenian

                                                                    To fenian: But when the waiter is packing your food s/he is taking time away from other customers s/he could be serving 'better' and therefore earning higher tips. No one is saying you should tip 20% but giving someone a buck or two that provides you service isn't asking a lot.

                                                                    1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                      If you are being asked to take time away from your station, tell the manager. With all the talk of waiters wanting respect from customers how about one of them demanding the same from their manager. You guys need to be your own advocates when the resto rules are causing you to loose money on tips. Tell the manager to do it.

                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                        jfood, I'm not a waiter but I do work and I seriously doubt that if I started becoming overwhelmed with work I could tell my superior to do work assigned to me. If you can at your job than count yourself lucky.

                                                                        1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                          OK maybe the last line is a little unrealistic. The words "You want me to do WHAT?" would probably be the response.

                                                                          OK how's this, tell the manager you think that the newest waiter should handle the take-out orders. Seniority does have some benefits.

                                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                                            I understand what you mean--what's to stop a restaurant from hiring "waiters" and "waitresses" to do any service job and paying them less? Could the barista at Starbucks be paid less than minimum because he/she might get tips? I'm wondering what the law is about this. Those "tips" containers are everywhere. Could anyone who has one out be paid less than minimum? It doesn't seem that far from asking a waiter to do take out that doesn't typically get many tips and paying him less.

                                                                  2. Has never even crossed my mind.

                                                                    1. No. You tip acording to the 'service' you receive during a meal.

                                                                      1. No. Not under any circumstances.

                                                                        And with all the interaction from wait staff members in this thread, I'm surpised no one mentioned the tip-share aspect at a full-service restaurant.

                                                                        Wait staff will often have to provide a tip-share to bus boys, bartenders, etc. If I'm carrying the meal out, why would I be inclined to supplement the income of somebody bussing tables at which I did not dine, or mixing drinks in which I did not imbibe?

                                                                        Tip jars at carry-out fast food counters are an abominiation.

                                                                        1. i just had a take out experience which took care of this problem at angeli caffe in los angeles. they charged me $6.00 service charge and $2.00 for the take out containers. this was on a bill which would have totaled $60.00.

                                                                          i always leave a little something for take out. i've worked in restaurants and even though we didn't do take out i know that the food didn't miraculously put intself in the containers.

                                                                          however, this service charge made me mad. b/c as i mentioned i always leave a little something which is usually about 10%. so after i completed the bill i realized with my 10% i ended up leaving a 18% tip!! i wish they told me so ahead of time.

                                                                          i went back inside and mentioned this to the guy and he had no comment but he did allow me to adjust the bill.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: trolley

                                                                            But this is precisely what needs to happen if nobody is going to tip servers for taking care of take out. Obviously, from the majority response to this thread, most people don't tip for take-out and feel that it's a major problem that they are asked to do so. The only recourse is for the restaurant to charge for the service, and then hopefully to hire additional staff. I don't know if this will become a major trend or some future restaurant standard in the US, but in the interim, I would simply not leave a tip where these charges are already showing.

                                                                            I reiterate that it is patently ridiculous to think that anybody waiting tables or bussing or even working at counters with tip jars is becoming unfairly rich from the tips.

                                                                          2. No way. Resteraunts need to learn how to pay the staff what they are worth. I know the staff at several places that have been there 25 years. I look at it as bribing, not a thank you. A thank you, would be coming back again or buying the chef a glass of wine. In the end we still pay the same.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Xander

                                                                              "Restaurants need to learn how to pay staff what they are worth."

                                                                              So in lieu of this you decide to punish the staff twice? According to your logic not only doesn't the restaurant need to pay the staff neither do you. You can just take advantage of the person providing you a service.

                                                                              "A thank you, would be coming back again or buying the chef a glass of wine. In the end we still pay the same."

                                                                              Besides keeping the restaurant in business how does your repeat patronage enrich the server? And as far as the wine to the chef goes, if everyone chose this route you would have a really drunk chef incapable of putting out decent food.

                                                                              1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                Amen. Incidentally, do most chefs actually drink the wine, or is "buying the chef a glass of wine" a euphemism along the lines of "buying the stripper a glass of champagne"?

                                                                                What's with making a big show of tipping one of the few people employed by a restaurant who earns a decent annual salary anyway? It's almost like Xander wants to punish the peasants or something.

                                                                            2. Tipping exists, it's a fact of life. That's not the question in this thread. It's a given. Deal with it. What's at issue is do we tip for take-out, especially if it's primarily an eat-in place?

                                                                              I do sometimes, especially if I'm a regular, they smiled, said "thank you", got the order right, put in all the right utencils sauces & napkins. Usually about 10%. I don't forget that I'm taking time away from them serving table people who are tipping 15-20% if they are doing a good job.

                                                                              However I am sick of tip containers appearing everywhere...bakeries, laundry, grocery...it is reaching the point of panhandling. Especially when there are cutesy things on it such as "college/vacation/new car fund". In a pizza place I no longer go to the sign on the jar says "tip or (drawing of burned slice)".

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: Leonardo

                                                                                I posted a while back that I do tip for take out...usually a few bucks becuase it is a nice thing to do and always appreciated...

                                                                                This post is simply to note a sign I saw in a bar in the East Village years ago and have seen again at various places throughout the years...

                                                                                "Tipping is not a city in China". I always get a laugh out of that one...

                                                                              2. One time I saw that and the sullen cashier gave me my change without a word. I told her that while it's true that tipping is not a city in China, "thank you" is not a city in Korea!

                                                                                1. What people have to remember is that servers have to pay an 8% tax on the total amount of food that they serve when they do their taxes. For restaurants where servers electonically input their orders, at the end of the night, the computer will automatically compute what their tax due is. When you call in an order, a server is the one inputting that order and therefore, will be paying taxes on it. If you don't tip at least the 8%, then they will be 'stiffed'. You would literally be taking money out of their pocket.

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: lilyalli

                                                                                    Then the resto should have a take-out ID so this is not an issue. Once again the tax situation of the waiter, the busboy and the hostess as well as the resto is not the customer's concern.

                                                                                    1. re: lilyalli

                                                                                      That's actually changed recently, much to the chagrin of most waiters. Per the instructions of the U.S. Government, all tipped employees are now required to report 100 percent of all revenues as taxed income regardless of their status above or below the eight-percent (or fifteen percent) line. I know this primarily because I had to stuff gov't issue "reminders" into 130 paychecks for the last two weeks... But maybe that's just a Tri-State thing.

                                                                                      1. re: lilyalli

                                                                                        Almost all the places where I order take out -- and that is a lot -- it's not a server who takes the phone orders, but another employee. So take out largely remains quite distinguisable from table service for that reason. And the custom remains no tip.

                                                                                      2. Waiters and bartenders earn less than minimum wage simply because they are classified as "tipped employees". Hostesses and cashiers make more because they are not classified thusly in the resto's payroll files. So ethically you are not required to tip them for taking and/or transporting your order (just as you are not expected to tip the cooks or the chef, even though they had more to do with the preparation of your meal).
                                                                                        I'll tell you what, though. They are full-on STOKED when you do tip, even a little. Where a waitress will typically rail against a ten-percent tip (and rightly so, given the structure of things) a counterperson will be smiling all night about five percent. Lagniappe for dem.

                                                                                        1. Not necessarily so. It is up to the states as to whether to require that "tipped employees" be paid at least minimum wage. In Oregon the minimum applies.