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Do you tip for take out?

I picked up some pizzas and starters tonight at a new, fairly high end place. Since the bill was $85. I paid with a CC. The waiter hovered over me like he was waiting for a tip. I did not include one, then when I went home and discussed this at the dinner table, got a mixed response. What do you think?

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  1. Tipping on take-out is good karma, and can often result in the restaurant providing you a little extra hospitality if the order isn't completely done when you get there. I know when I'm working I don't expect a tip when I put together a take-out order for someone since the workload is considerably lighter than waiting on a full table. However, when I do get a tip from someone on those, I greatly appreciate it. Usually I tip around 10 percent of the bill on take-out.

    1. Generally no, unless there is some special service. You are free to do so if you wish, but that's beyond standard tipping practice in the US.

      1. If someone is doing you a service - tip them. I don't generally tip my 30 + % on take out because of the obvious less time and effort it takes. But, someone is still packaging up my bag, making sure I have proper condiments, accounting for everything that is there..etc. To me, it's just common kindness.

        19 Replies
        1. re: andlulu

          It's a kindness, but it's beyond standard US tipping convention. People need not feel they are violating the convention by not tipping.

          1. re: Karl S

            Maybe beyond your standard.. not mine.

            1. re: andlulu

              Simply not beyond the conventional etiquette rules in this country. Tipping is a convention of etiquette, not kindness. Kindness is measured different. I am not going to look down on anyone for tipping in this situation, or for not tipping. But I will take issue with those who think that those who do not tipping are violating the convention; those folks are wrong.

                1. re: andlulu

                  Yes, but not merely. It's consistent with the standard tipping etiquette advice. My point is merely that you don't have objective grounds to think people who follow the standard US tipping convention are cheap or violating the standard. You may think them ungenerous. But that's about it.

                  1. re: Karl S

                    At what point did I say I thought anyone WAS cheap or violating anything? I didn't even say they were ungenerous. I said my opinion about how I tip and on what.. By the way.. if you write standard, etiquette or conventional one more time.. I may loose my little mind.

                    1. re: andlulu

                      I think you mean "I may LOSE my little mind."

                      And little it seems to be.

                      Karl S is just saying that you go above and beyond the customary tipping standard. It is not customary to tip for take-out.

                      For take-out, I will usually just round up to the nearest dollar or if it is a big order, to the nearest multiple of 5 dollars. I tip 5-10 percent in places where you place the order at a counter and food is brought to you, and I tip 25-40% at full service places.

                      1. re: batdown

                        I did mean lose.. Thanks for catching it.

                        1. re: batdown

                          Not really trying to start anything here, but isn't "customary" a highly relative term? Webster's online gives this as one defintion: "a usage or practice common to many or to a particular place or class or habitual with an individual". How many is "many"? Is this a class thing? A place thing?

                          Not that andlulu needs any defense, but one should be careful before concluding that something they and their circle of acquaintances don't do isn't "customary". There seem to be a rather significant number of posters here who say they do tip 'something' for take-out, at least take-out from full-service restaurants..

                          1. re: Midlife

                            Hmmm..I think it depends on the situation. If I stop off for a pizza..and the person behind the counter hands it to me when I go in to pick it up, I don't feel the need to tip. After all..where do you draw the line? Should I then tip the person who made the pizza?
                            On the other hand..if I go in to pick up a pizza and the person behind the counter offers me plates, napkins etc..then chances are I will probably give a tip.
                            Same think at Dunkin Donuts. I stop most morning to pick up coffee and such for some of my early morning coworkers. If I order 3 or more beverages and the person in the drive through starts handing them to me one at a time..that person is not getting a tip. On the other hand..if they put them in a tray ( you know..what a sensible person would do)..then I give a tip.
                            Anytime I am in a restaurant whether sit down or take out..and I make special requests..I always reward with a tip.
                            That being said..tipping is always optional..no matter what..and no waiter should be standing over someone who is picking up takeout expecting a tip. That is rude.

                            1. re: BlueMagic

                              I'm old, and I live here in New England where Dunkin Donuts started in business.
                              Dunkin used to have signs that said "NO TIPPING PERMITTED" now they have obnoxious oversized mugs on the counter that are for tips.
                              Problem solved for me....6 blocks from house north is Dunkin with Tip cup, 6 blocks south is Dunkin inside Stop and Shop--NO TIPPING PERMITTED. Neither has a drive thru.
                              But, I ususally brew my own or go to Starbucks..............

                          2. re: batdown

                            If you folks are tipping 25-40% at full service restaurants, you must be getting more for your money than just excellent service. I'm a good tipper if service warrants it - 20 - 25% and I think 30% and up is ridiculous for ANY restaurant.

                            1. re: quadbabe

                              I agree with quadbabe. 30-40%+ is ridiculous. And tipping is not merely a courtesy or good etiquette, it is to make up the pay of someone who gets a reduced rate of pay. In California, restraurants are permitted to pay their waiters or waitresses less than the standard minimum wage because part of their pay is made up by tips (the government normally factors this at about 8%). That's why people who don't tip on a sit down meal really are not just getting bad karma, they are costing the server money, because the IRS automatically factors than they will at least get an 8% tip and that part of their tip will be split with some of the other staff (like the hostess, who usually will handle your take out order).
                              If I am ordering take out from a sit down restaurant, I tip about 5-10%. If it is a counter where you order food (like Subway, Panda Express, Starbucks, etc.), I do not tip, as those people do not have any reduction in their pay and are paid full minimum wage and often above that. In fact, I hate to see tip jars out anywhere, as they are extremely inappropriate and I never like to feel like someone is beginning me to get a tip.

                              1. re: freddiaschaffer

                                Actually, in California, restaurants have to pay all the employees the standard state minimum wage regardless of whether they receive tips. See question 5.
                                http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/FAQ_Minimu...

                                However, there are some states where the minimum wage is lower for tipped employees and that's also the case with the federal minimum wage.

                              2. re: quadbabe

                                20% is ridiculous too, if you're from any country other than the United States.

                                Mr Taster

                    2. re: andlulu

                      Andlulu---Do I understand correctly that you ordinarily tip 30%+ for table service?

                  2. re: andlulu

                    I worked at McDonald's through high school, making barely more than the waiter's base pay and never received a tip. Trust me, it was hard work, plus I had to wear polyester. I tip if the waiter or waitress packs up the food but not if it's someone who is designated as a take out person at a window.

                    1. re: chowser

                      The polyester alone deserves a 30% tip! I worked at a Burger King for 6 weeks in high school, and that scratchy brown and orange polyester leisure suit was among my least favorite aspects of the job.

                      I usually do tip for takeout, but only about 8-10% or so. I figure that it goes into a pool, so someone is being compensated for something.

                      1. re: chowser

                        You just made laugh out loud. My daughter works for a donut chain and wears a polyester uniform which she detests. She makes student minimum wage but also makes pretty good tips even on drive through. The tips are divided equally and an eight hour shift brings approx. $15-$20. She banks her paychecks and lives off the tips as she has school to pay for next year. I didn't realize people tipped at these types of establishment and now I always tip.

                    2. If it's a pain in the butt order (as my family can tend to have) with lots of special requests, I tip accordingly. If it's straight up and especially if it's a small order, I generally don't tip.

                      1. I totally tip for takeout - maybe not the same amount as for terrific service, but as JK said, it's good kharma, esp if you're a regular.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: orangewasabi

                          I do as well, though not as much. I have found one place now remembers me,knows what I like and what I don't, always double checks to see if I have condiments plastic wear etc. I feel VERY taken care of. And who doesn't want to go where everybody knows your name?