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tipping on take-out

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i just got take out from cpk and tipped 10%, but i don't see why tipping is necessary for take out. i will admit, i've never worked in the food industry, but i've always thought tipping is for the service i receive. i understand why i should tip if i get horrible service, but what's the "service" in take out? how is the take out guy at cpk any different from the guy at in n out who packs up my burger and fries? i've read previous posts mentioning food industry wages being on the low side to factor in tips, but why should i have to subsidize a server's pay for the day he works the take out counter? shouldn't the restaurant take that into consideration? i currently tip, but i'm not convinced i should continue to do so. is there something i'm missing???

no longer want to grumble when i tip the take out guy...

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  1. I sometimes tip on takeout. But I find that a good way to avoid feeling awkward about NOT tipping on takeout is to pay cash. That way you don't have to face the tip portion of the credit card slip.

    What restaurants do as far as calculating their employee's taxes is not my concern, and frankly shouldn't be. They should work that out themselves. I'm sure there is a way for them to do it. If they're too lazy to do proper bookkeeping, then the employees need to work that issue themselves.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Steve

      For those who have never worked in the restaurant business, good for you!!!!
      I wouldn't recommend it unless you have the skills of an air traffic controller, but wish to live below the poverty line.
      I worked for 4 years in a very very busy restaurant with a huge take out business. It does take a lot of work to pack up to go food. Particularly for 20, 30, 40 dollar orders. While at the same time answering phones, seating customers, making drinks and god knows what else.
      It would make my WHOLE DAY when someone would be thoughtful enough to throw me a couple of bucks.
      Believe me, it is well appreciated.
      When I get to go food now, I ALWAYS leave a buck or two, even for one order-----and I am not 'loaded' by any stretch of the imagination.
      ESPECIALLY on a large order of food to go, what is a couple of extra dollars???

      1. re: Piglet

        I, too, worked in the restaurant industry for years while earning college money, etc. Packing up to-go food is time consuming (believe it--think about making your lunch for work), especially while also waiting on 5-6 in-house tables. I was happy to receive a tip from take-out customers. I spent time putting their order together as carefully as any table I waited on although I certainly never expected more than a couple of dollars.

        Every time we order take-out we tip four dollars, sometimes five on larger orders. Our drivers remember us, are always happy to see us and are very cooperative if there's anything missing or incorrect (happens rarely). These people are hard workers who are also driving their own vehicles. I have no problem paying for their time, their service, the drive through LA traffic and helping out with auto maintenance.

    2. Aah, the tipping saga continues . . .

      Here's a good rule of thumb: if it's the type of restaurant where you'd tip if you ate there, tip for takeout, too. But instead of tipping the full 15-20 percent, tip about 10 percent. The person who handles takeout is indeed providing a service - it doesn't require quite the same level of attention as waiting on a table, but it is a service nonetheless.

      I especially recommend tipping if you order takeout from the same place regularly. It can add up to little things like getting your order quickly even when the kitchen is backed up, that your meal is fresh and ready at the time you're scheduled to pick it up, and that details you've specified are taken care of.

      To show the benefits of tipping, I like to point out the example of the sandwich counter at Katz's Deli in Manhattan. If you slip the guy at the counter a buck after you order, he'll give you an extra generous portion of meat with your sandwich and he'll often make sure that he gives you a better quality cut to boot. It's kind of like a bribe, but in our society yous gets what yous pays for.

      FYI, the guy at In-n-Out who packs up your burger and fries is paid more than minimum wage. The servers at CPK (and a significant majority of restaurants in California) are paid minimum wage and rely on tips to make a decent income. As a rule, restaurants pay servers minimum wage. If restaurants paid servers a decent living wage, you could be certain that you'd have to subsidize the server's pay through paying higher prices for the food and drink you order.

      I really don't understand all the fuss about tipping here. I eat out at least 10 times a week, and I rarely get service that I'd rate as poor or unacceptable. Maybe that's because the servers at the restaurants I frequent know that I tip generously. Generally, I find that if you go into a restaurant with a good, respectful attitude, you'll generally be treated well.

      If you don't want to grumble about that tip you're leaving, remember that the server may have a life you're not aware of. That 23-year-old girl may look like a recent college grad, but she could be the mother of a six-year-old kid and those extra dollars may be helping fund her college education. Maybe that Mexican busboy is trying to support a family of five. That bartender? He's trying to make payments on the new Mercedes SL500 he bought because he foolishly thought it would "get him chicks." ;-)

      If you think service here is bad, try spending a week in South Beach Florida (check out my post of the Florida board for an account of a recent trip there). The worst part is that the tip is usually already added into the bill there.

      If you still have a problem with tipping and you want to avoid the "guilt," consider restricting your eating (or takeout orders) to places where tipping isn't expected. After all, you could do a lot worse than to eat at In-n-Out, El Taurino, or Zankou Chicken all the time.