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Take-out Tipping

I hate to start another tipping thread, but I wondered: am I supposed to be tipping take-out?

Like, if I go to a fish and chips place, and I order and pay, then sit myself down, then pick up my food, the eat it, then dispose of the waste myself, should I tip?

Or if I'm picking up Thai take-out and all I do is call, then walk in, pay and rab my food, should I be tipping?

I know that the entire concept of tipping is to tip your server for good service. But is there some standard for take-out tipping I'm missing?

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  1. As the sayings go........

    It never hurts to share your wealth...........and

    What goes around, comes around.

    Simple change or a buck goes a long way for some when added up.

        1. re: rednyellow

          One thing to keep in mind though is at nicer restaurants that happen to also make food to go, the person who takes the phone order, and packs it up to go is often a waiter and is then taxed on your take out check just as if you had dined in the rest. The restaurant considers the take out order the same as a dine in order and assumes that the waiter was tipped 15%.

          1. re: rednyellow

            That sounds very wrong, but I'm sure it happens a lot, just like not paying staff minimum wages, and skimming off pooled tips.

            I've asked waitress friends if I should be tipping on a takeout and they all say no, that nobody tips, and luckily none have ever mentioned getting stung by it. I find that a lot of times they'll just ask me to put my order in through the bar instead, and that probably explains why.

        2. No.. it's take out. Where does it end? This is tipping thing is getting out of hand.Pretty soon we're going to start tipping the Walmart greeters.

          5 Replies
          1. re: sleepycat

            I saw a tip jar by the cash register at a florist.

            1. re: Up With Olives

              That's funny! If it is a place I go to a lot, then I give them one or two bucks. On Saturday, at Tito's Tacos (a place where you walk up to a window, place your order and then that person runs around putting your order together) I gave her $1 since she did all that running around. It depends on the mood I am in. Most places I do, some I don't. Get me on a good day... ;-)

              1. re: WildSwede

                At the bakery I work at, the counter girls have a tip jar, with the blessing of the owners. They all make minimum wage, but with .25 here and .50 here (mainly change), they can make a little bit extra. And they do work for their tips - buttering bagels & rolls, making coffee, slicing breads, boxing pastries & cookies... on & on. On a busy morning when a customer walks in asking for 8 loaves of rye bread, all sliced & bagged, and there's a line waiting... it does help if the customer drops a buck in the jar. But if not, there's no attitude, no sense of entitlement. Every tip earns the tipper a big smile and a sincere "thank you". Even for a nickel.

                1. re: WildSwede

                  I'll do this at my two favorite Starbucks joints. I'll throw in $0.50 to a buck every once and a while. If I phone up and order chinese or pizza for pickup, I don't tip. I think it'd be different if I was a regular though. We hardly order takeout.

                2. re: Up With Olives

                  I tipped my florist last time I got flowers. He thanked me, said he was the owner, and refused to take it.

              2. If I order ahead, drive to the restaurant, park in one of the spots designated for quick pick-up, and someone comes out to the car and hands me my order, I'll tip them. Otherwise I generally don't tip for take-out.

                1. self-serve counter, nah.

                  phoned-in t/o from a proper restaurant, maybe a coupla bucks (the server still has to ensure the order, the utensils, the condiments whatever are all correct) esp. if I'm a regular as someone mentioned. F'rinstance the Thai place in my hood always has it ready exactly when they say it will be and it has never been missing anything. yeah it's only 3 blocks, but that adds up to 15+ minutes of delay if there's a mistake, that I'd rather spend on my Yum Pla Muk.

                  so it's really a tip on past performance I guess.

                  1. I always tip on my takeout. There is an effort made, it usually takes time away from other in-store customers, and it requires careful attention to detail. I usually tip about $2 for 2 person order. $3 for a large 2 or 2-4 persons. $5-$10 on a big order. I just think that it is appropriate and always appreciated.

                    Also something to keep in mind is that at some restaurants that don't do a huge take-out business, takeout orders are entered under a waiter's number. At the end of the night, the waiter will be required to tip-out to support staff on that takeout order even if there was no tip and so they could ultimately lose money by having sold a take-out order.

                    1. Just have to vent. I've had a long, on-going, internal (and external, with my wife and friends) about tipping for take-out. I believe that if I'm doing all the labor (aside from preparing/bagging the food, which is what the cost is supposed to cover) then I don't need to tip.

                      That said, as I frequent local places and feel I've been treated like a valued customer, then I'll drop $.50 or $1.00 in the jar. The problem is I don't get that all that often, save for the wonderful coffee shop I visit three or four times a week, where I am greeted with an enthusiastic "good morning!" and "the usual?" type salutations. More often, I feel as though I am treated as an inconvenience, an interference (usually with the inappropriate personal conversations with a co-worker), or the "unwanted interaction of the day." Granted these folks *are* making minimum wage, or slightly better, but that does not automatically qualify them for my money to defray the cost of living.
                      My bottom line is: when I do the work, I don't tip. When you *earn* a tip, I deliver. When you treat me like an inconvenience, I terminate the transaction (which I've done more frequently in the past months), tell you why, then leave. With my money.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: gsshark

                        I don't think there should be any argument given what you lay out: when you get good service, you tip and when you don't get good service you don't tip. Makes total sense to me. I am in complete agreement with you that in a coffee shop or pizza joint or what have you, if I am picking something up to go and the person taking my order or interacting with me treats me like I'm interfering with their conversation with a co-worker or something similar, I'm certainly not tipping. It doesn't take much to take an order, handle the financial exchange and then give me my order. When I get good service, I'll tip happily.

                        1. re: ccbweb

                          Couldn't have been said better, thank you. When I have REALLY good service, I will even call and speak with a manager to let them know (I feel this is important since they usually only get to hear complaints - which, believe me, is something I also will do without qualm). There are several restaurants that I go to constantly and they know me and what I like. Great service, gets a great tip. Crappy service gets $.32 and a note on the bill stating something like "use this to go buy yourself a personality" (I really did do that once in my "younger" days). She acted like everything we asked for was a chore. She should have been working in the back peeling potatoes or doing dishes (or not working there at all!) with that attitude!! Another time I was in the drive through (I know) and the girl was such a sourpuss that I asked her "Bad day?" she was shocked and shaped up real quick!

                        2. re: gsshark

                          Hallelujah. Good post, qsshark. I wonder why there is tipping for counter service when a real server only gets 15% (not from me)? Go figure.

                          >>When you *earn* a tip, I deliver.


                          >>When you treat me like an inconvenience, I terminate the transaction (which I've done more frequently in the past months), tell you why, then leave. With my money.

                          Wow, good for you. I want to do that, but don't. I just don't go back, witness the 'we have no cake donuts' 'they're right behind you' 'I don't know what a cake donut is' 'aaaaaargh'.

                        3. When I worked as a restaurant cashier and was responsible for the take-out orders, I never expected to be tipped. It was nice the couple of times it happened though.

                          1. I wanted to jump in on one of the previous thread on this, so I will add to this one. I do NOT tip for take out. Delivery, of course, but the way I think about it is that I am not getting the service at home with take out that I woud in a restaurant. In other words, no one will be refilling my water glass, asking if I want dessert or refolding my napkin for me once I get the food home.

                            1. So, I have given it some thought. There are no "servers don't get a real wage" issues where I live. It does not take any particular effort or skill to pack up my food. I tip my regular take-out place, I tip the first time I get take out from a restaurant (in the hope that they'll be motivated to make it great), and I tip at restaurants that don't typically do take out.
                              Otherwise, I am not going to tip take out.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: miss_bennet

                                Tell me about this motivational tipping you mention. You hand over money before you get your food? The only times I've settled the check without my order in hand are at the places that make you pay first to discourage you from leaving before your food arrives.

                              2. Last Sunday, I picked up an order I placed a few days earlier (pork BBQ & sides for about 30 ppl). I gave them a tip (amounted to about 6% of the order's total) and they looked shocked. I hope it wasn't because it was too little, though I rarely ever get takeout and am not exactly sure of the tipping standards. Then again, I live in a part of the country where 15%, not 20%, is the standard tip (for dining in). Okay, it is a casual BBQ place, but they boxed it up for me and carried it out to my car for me. They didn't fill my water glass, get me extra sauce, etc., the things that a dine-in waitperson would do, but they did *something*. OTOH, they didn't do as much as a dine-in staffer would, so I surely wouldn't be expected to leave 15%, would I?

                                FWIW, everything was ready and they were quite pleasant, if a little confused (wrong type of rolls, but that was easily corrected).