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Jun 10, 2007 12:12 AM

Tipping for Takeout?

You go into a restaurant that is primarily for eating in but you're picking up an order to go.

You pay with a credit card. When they hand you the slip to sign, there's a space where you can add on a tip and then total it.

Do you tip? If so, how much? Is it customary to tip 15% when all the person at the cash register did was hand you your order and run your credit card?

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  1. The question is did she just hand you the slip???? A lot of establishments have a designated person who is responsible for the to go orders or it is a hostess who is also responsible for seating the dining room while managing to go orders, they are responsible for getting all the condiments together (salad dressings, butter & bread etc.) they also sometimes box the food (not always). I don't think these things qualify for a standard tip but I usually give them $5 or around 10%. Nothing wrong with not leaving a tip, but a nice gesture to leave one.

    1. This question seems to pop up regularly around here :)

      All they did that you saw was hand you your order. Someone packaged it up and got it ready. Not all tips go to the person who hands you the slip, either.

      Basically, my take on it is: tip. Not a ton unless someone has really gone out of their way to provide excellent service of some kind (ie, my wife can't eat pork but sometimes I get a dish that has some in it and I recall once the person giving me the order carefully explained that they'd marked that dish and put it in a separate little bag to be sure we knew which it was). I think I generally tip around 10% when I pick up a takeout order.

      Restaurants are all run differently, too differently to be able to discern without asking them directly how tips are split up, who is in charge of things like take out orders and what being in "charge" of take out orders actually means. Trying to navigate all of those possibilities is impossible. So, I default to a small tip and don't worry about what amount of it ends up where in the restaurant.

      From a utility perspective there's also this reason for tipping: I think the vast majority of people don't tip on take out (delivery is different) and so when you do leave even a small tip, its generally noticed and appreciated. If you're a regular, or wish to be, there's no better way to ensure that you get good service in the future and its a small investment, comparatively, for that. Its also a pretty cheap way to make someone else feel good for a moment.

      1. Separate and apart from the tipping issue on take out, I don't mind if they add in a small service charge for the take out supplies like the containers, napkins, bags and so on. I know those items can add up.