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take-out tipping...

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OK, after reading that other lengthy thread about tipping, it got me thinking about something.

When I take out from my favorite Indian place (which has a large, nice dine-in area), I pick up my order from the bar. When I'm handed the check there is a blank for the tip amount...just as if I've eaten in the dining area. I just cross this out and do not leave anything as a tip for take out.

When I sit down and eat in any establishment, my usual tip is 20%. However, I just cannot justify leaving any tip when I do take out. No one served my food to me, no one bussed a table for me, no one seated me or refilled my water. So, I don't see the need to tip.

I've noticed, though, that almost all places that offer take-out use the same checks that dine-in patrons get. That is, with a blank to fill in the tip amount. This is true even in my hole-in-the-wall chinese take out. It has only a few measly tables that no one would dare sit at.

So I'm curious, what do others think about tipping for take-out?

Please note that I am not talking about tipping for delivery service, which obvioulsy warrants a tip.

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  1. It's not absolutely necessary, but it is certainly good restaurant karma; I know when I put together a to-go order for someone at work, I don't expect a tip but certainly appreciate it The bigger the order, the better of an idea it is to tip; anything bigger than dinner for four should certainly be tipped on, as it's quite a bit of work to put together a large takeout order.

    1. The restaurants all usually use one type of slip for any type of POS transaction.
      The tip line would be part of that.
      As a server/bartender I can speak from personal opinion. The to-gos all go thru me when I am on shift. I have to take time away from my bar customers and deal with the servers (glaring looks) at the service station to take the order, enter it into the computer, and then process the transaction when the to-go customer comes to pick up their order.
      So...may not seem like a lot of work, but when you are already busy every minute (second) counts.
      Now that you understand the process, tips on take out orders are of course not required, but definitely appreciated.
      If you don't feel comfortable leaving your usual 20% (understanable) leave whatever you'd like. Even a dollar or two is nice.

      1 Reply
      1. re: momof3

        In my experience Takeout's been the biggest pain. A lot of times I'd get the call in the middle of a rush in the bar and then take an order from a person who only vaguely knew what was on the menu. I'd then explain everything in detail while making drinks in the well, put the order in, get it packed up, then take orders from bar guests, and...

        I hate takeout. I still have bartender takeout nightmares.

      2. It depends.

        Three types of restos:

        1 - Pizzerias - normal business model is take-out. It's basically a candy store for hot food. Tip not required but when friends of one of the little Jfoods is manning the counter I leave a tip. Love to hear the shrilly voice "Thanks Mr. Jfood."
        2 - Resto that are primarily sit-downs and they have a small to-go biz. As Momof3 states, the bartender normally takes the order and makes sure the food is there. I usually leave a tip (mainly $5). And besides in my town, this is how you move to the "regular" category wrt the staff.
        3 - Hybrids - Traditionally are to-go places but they have a sit down as well. Normally thought of in the Chinese food category. If I order from any of the Chinese restos in town I never leave a tip and standing on line watching others, no one else does either. Being a regular at these places is worthless because these restos in my town treat everyone with complete irreverence.

        When I first saw the "tip" line on the charge slip I had the same question. Then I realized that the printer is set up to spew receipts and the simpler the better. I always put a line through the tip line. Hey you never know.

        1. If the carryout place is a restuarant & has a bar, I sit down and have a drik while I wait for the order. In this case I tip for food & drinks . But if it is just a pick-up joint(chinese,ribs,fried chicken, etc) I dont leave a tip.

          1. For me, it depends on where I am taking out from. For instance, at the tiny pizza place my fiancee and I go to, I always tip because there are only two staff members who do all the work themselves with no help, no complaints, and always a friendly greeting and a smile. However, in the larger establishments with a full kitchen staff and more impersonaI interactions I typically do not feel I HAVE to. I always like to tip a friendly person though.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ArikaDawn

              I already understood the process of how my take-out order is assembled. I never really never understood what the "expectation" is, though.

              It's clear to everyone in this country that patrons are expected to leave a tip as part of their dining bill when eating in. However, this "take-out tippinng" category is fuzzier.

              Agreed on the pizzeria & chinese take-out type restarants...I think the establishment employees just look at the tip jar as an added bonus, certainly not an expectation.

              However, perhaps the primarily sit-down restaurant employees who assemble orders are starting to see tips (maybe not 20%, but at least something) as somewhat of an expectation? Thoughts on this?