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Mar 21, 2007 07:32 PM

tips for to go order?

what do you do when you pick up a to go order, should you tip or not? for the longest time I though I don't have to tip, until my friend's son start working in the restaurant, and he said sometimes he got good tips for to go order, what should people do? tips or no tips

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  1. Good gravy, yes. Speaking from personal experience, the person who takes your order generally has to assemble and pack the accompanying items after the food has been cooked, and quite frequently has to do some prep and packing, as well - side salads, desserts, etc. Keep in mind that this takes away from the time on the floor serving other customers, too, depending on the set-up of the resto. So tip, just as you would for a delivery order.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sundevilpeg

      I agree entirely that a tip should be given on a take out order. But I disagree that it should be at the same level as delivery. There's a whole separate component to the delivery process on the part of the driver that I think should be tipped at a higher rate. That doesn't mean I think you shouldn't tip well for take out if its warranted, but you should certainly be tipping more for delivery.

      1. There WAS a recent thread about tipping on togo orders; see above - or below; I can't really get a hang of the order here. Regardless, my 2 cents as a server. Every restaurant is set up differently. If they have a huge togo clientele, they may have a designated staffed person to handle those orders. That person is probably paid at least minimum wage. Many restaurants, especially those outside of urban areas, do not have a designated person to handle those orders. generally, whoever answers the phone, takes the order. Often, if not usually, this is a server. Maybe a bartender. They then take to time away from their tables to punch the order in, answer any questions, etc. When the order is ready, they check it, bag it up and make sure it is ready to go. When the customer comes in, they ring up the check. This may seem like small potatoes to those who have never been in the business, but all of these tasks take up time; time that could be spent taking care of active tables who will be paying our rent.

        Having said all that, I certainly do not expect a full tip on take-out. That would be silly, but a few bucks certainly takes the sting out of the work that is required. I am never surprised when I do not recieve a tip on take-out, but it sure is nice to get one as appreciation of the work I had to do to get it to you. Like it or not, servers DO work for tips on service recieved. Doing take-out DOES take them away from other duties.

        But like I said, every restaurant is set up differently. Try to get a feel for the place before you start tipping people who really do not need to be tipped.

        3 Replies
        1. re: hilltowner

          On a busy weekend night- having to get a full to go order dinner ready for someone is the biggest pain and interruption of service to the customers in the restaurant. The server has to take the plated food and transfer to the "to go" box, get the dressings all in seperate containers, bread, butter, extra sauces or anything else the customer requested as if they were sitting in a booth. This takes a lot of time and 99.99% of the the "to go" customers stiff you for a tip. I stopped doing to go orders in most places I worked because of that reason. Why should I waste my time with your to go order for no tip when I can get a tip from the customer sitting in my station...

          1. re: MeffaBabe

            Because the same person who you were very gracious to when they got a to go order may give you a very good tip when they come in and sit down for dinner.

            1. re: MeffaBabe

              It hasn't been customary for tipping on take-out absent some unusual service. Tipping as a social custom is something that people inherit, and it's very slow to change, if ever. These people are simply following the tipping custom of the US. You may feel stiffed, but they aren't stiffing you.

              Now, as I've said before, in my experience it is very rare for a server to be attending to take out orders. Where I and my friends order takeout, it's almost always the host(ess) or cashier who takes food from the kitchen window, sometimes a bartender. I suspect most people who be unlikely to reconsider if a server handled it because it may not be obvious to them.

              Let me also clarify my experience: I never order take-out from higher end, fine dining restaurants where perhaps it's more common for servers to be assigned this work. The reason: because really fine food is ruined by being put into containers to go; it should be served on proper temperature dish and eaten immediately. I just think of take-out of that level of food as a big waste of money!

              It would be easier to get management to change assigning this work than it will be to change public habits regarding tipping in this regard.

          2. Jfood to the it depends point of view. There are three types of to-go restos:

            1 - Pizzerias - I never tip at a pizza place except if a friend of a little jfood is working there that night
            2 - Chinese - I never tip at chinese to-go and I have looked over the shoulder of those in front of me in line and 90% of the data pool do NOT tip at chinese
            3 - Sit-down restos that serve to-go as an adjunct - This is usually handled by a bartender. He gathers my order, places in a bag and collects my card. I usualyy give $5 which is about 10%.

            Why do I not tip in 1 & 2 and only 10% in 3. I view the first two as their core business and it is the same as any retail store. They should be paid by management. In 3 I view this as a nice gesture on my part but not required. Yest the bartender spends a couple of minutes to gather my order, but does he deserve the same compensation that a waiter receives who spends 90-120 minutes while i relax and dine?

            So Jfood's opinion is, there really is no requirement to tip as a social custom, but is is usually well received as upside to the gatherer.

            1. My thoughts on tipping on to-go orders. I have been a server for years. In the restaurant in which I currently work there is no one person designated to process to -go orders, except on Friday nights in which case that person is usually there only a couple of hours out of the entire evening shift. It is always a server to whom this resposibility falls. And yes, all of the replies posted are accurate as to the time demands of taking the order, putting it into the computer, checking and packaging the order for pickup. However, the kicker is, in my place of employment (as in many restaurants) the server pays what is called a tip-share. This is generally a percentage of that servers sales (in my case 2.5%) that is considered part of tips received that goes back to the restaurant to help cover employees who "assist" the servers in their duties. Bartenders, bus personnel, hosts, etc. However, to-go orders count the same as dine-in customers when it comes to sales. Outrageously, we are required to pay 2.5% back to the restaurant even when a tip is not received. So, essentially, I am paying the restaurant to process that to-go order. I have taken issue with this policy with several memebers of management and the only response I have gotten is that there is no way to separate to-go sales from regular sales. So, yes, a tip on to-go orders is ALWAYS appreciated. I am still not done pursuing this issue but am hesistant to push my luck in such a fragile economy with an industry that has a dime-a-dozen for employees mentality.

              2 Replies
              1. re: BSpaniel

                Every single time hat I have tipped on a to-go order the order has had something incorrect. Something missing, something that cooked incorrectly, put together incorrectly...short of my prying open everything and examining it (getting the food cold in the process, plus having the annoyance of putting everything back together), I don't know how to avoid this.

                Since it always irritates me when I get home and something is wrong, I get even more irritated when I've tipped and something is wrong. If somebody drives out there and fixes it by bringing what is missing/wrong, I'll tip that person, yeah, even though it was still as a result of an error. But do I want to drive back myself (and yes, I've had this suggested)? No. I certainly do not, and not only because of the price of gas. Usually I'll make do, even if I'm unhappy, or if things are really not good, I'll have to toss the food. Sometimes (often) I don't even feel it is worth the aggravation of complaining. So, no, I no longer tip on to-go orders (well, excepting once, but it just happened this week and that was because I got a free piece of something like pizza - new place). If a place gave me the correct stuff (some low standards, huh?), I'll try to account for it the next time I eat in there, since every place we go to does both take-out and dining in.

                1. re: BSpaniel

                  "the only response I have gotten is that there is no way to separate to-go sales from regular sales. "
                  Your management is lying to you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                  If your restaurant has any kind of primitive or better computer POS ordering system or cashregister they can track To Go orders, just as they track sales by server for the 2.5% tip out.