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Tipping question.

My wife insists on tipping 20% even when we order take-out. She tipped 20% to the pizza place (N.Y. Pizza) the other day after we called in the order. I freaked out, but she says i'm wrong and that tipping 20% is the "proper thing to do" even when ordering out. When I get take out, I only tip a few bucks because the food is handled minimally, and nobody except the cooks spent much time on the dishes. What do ya'll think?

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  1. I tip at least 15% on takeout food and it's been returned to me many times over in the form of larger portions and better service. Most servers don't like to bother with takeout because of the lack of tips. They could be pampering a table of sit-down customers instead and getting a much better return on their efforts.

    1. There is a reason why wives are called SWMBO. But no, I certainly do not tip 20% at take out places. I don't even tip at take out places.

      2 Replies
      1. re: PeterL

        SWMBO? Can't wait to read what that means.

        I tip 20% for takeout since I usually go to the place, and at least that and more in sit down restaurants.

        I don't tip at all for fast food, especially when they have tip jars. If I had food delivered, I would tip 20% as well.

        Why not. They all deserve it. Hardest jobs in the world.

        So. What is SWMBO?

        1. re: dolores

          SWMBO=She Who Must Be Obeyed.

          The rules for takeout and delivery tips are less well-established than for sit-down dining. For takeout, I tip 10% at places where I'm a regular. For delivery, 10% or $2/bag, whichever is more.

      2. Where I currently work, we have a carryout department. Before I worked there, I never thought of tipping on carryout orders, but one day I overheard one of the women working in the carrout department complaining about an employee who came in and ordered food to go but left without tipping (she informed me that 10% is an appropriate amount to tip on carryout).

        Now that I bartend, I have a lot of guests place to-go orders through me so that they can enjoy a drink or two while they wait. I never realized it before, but packing up a to-go order is quite a process, and (at least in my restaurant) involves running around to different stations to collect all of the supplies needed (dressings, bread, plasticware, etc.). It takes me away from my bar and my guests for substantial stretches of time, and even though I don't expect a huge tip on carryout orders, I always get irritated when someone doesn't recognize the effort that went into getting their order to them in a timely fashion.

        Now when I order carryout, I always tip 20%. The bottom line is that SOMEONE SOMEWHERE is putting the order together, and it's not always a quick and simple process. 20% tends not to be that much more money out of my pocket, and I hope that it helps to make up for the alarming number of people who feel like they don't have to tip at all.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Al_Pal

          >>20% tends not to be that much more money out of my pocket, and I hope that it helps to make up for the alarming number of people who feel like they don't have to tip at all.

          Well said, Al Pal.

          1. re: Al_Pal

            no disrespect meant Al_Pal.......but i don't know where you work that "running around" to get take out supplies takes you away from the bar and guests for "substantial" amounts of time. Any place i've ever been, the food arrives to the server, who then in turn puts cutlery etc in the bag pretty quickly.....the dressings, bread or other food items are already there before the order leaves the kitchen.

            1. re: im_nomad

              Nomad, just because YOU haven't seen it doesn't mean that's not how it happens.

              Every place I've worked at has a server or bartender put your order together.

          2. It may be proper for her, but not everyone in general. It is not currently the custom in the US.

            Delivery is 10% (more if it involves climbing staircases or getting wet in rain/snow), rounded up to the nearest dollar.

            Pickup is nothing or whatever you feel like. An exception might be made for fine dining establishment that offer takeout and where servers do the packaging, et cet.

            Otherwise, no.

            1. it may be worth it to your marital harmony to adopt a spouse's tipping policy, regardless of conventional wisdom :) increasing your tip by a couple of bucks is not worth getting into a spat with a loved one about, and it will brighten the day of the people handling your food, which is always a good thing-- see Al Pal & Big Easy's posts.

              1. A search should bring up dozens of topics on tipping for take out. It's an often repeated subject here. I guess I fall into the camp that says that a tip is appropriate at a place whose primary business is NOT takeout (usually a sit-down restaurant) because you're ordering food that requires a certain amount preparation and organization to get right and pack up. It's not generally an assembly line process as in a fast food place. I especially do it when I'm taking out from a place I frequent as a sit-down diner.

                Our local neighborhood Italian resto is a good example. Newer servers seem to take turns at the take-out counter. They take the order, turn it in to the kitchen,check to be sure it's ready and correct, pack it up, add utensils, etc.. To me that's maybe one third of the job of a server at a table and deserves 8-10% or so. Leaving nothing just seems wrong.

                1. For delivery, I generally tip 20%; if I go pick it up, then 10-15%.

                  1. does pizza eaten in house get much more handling than take out pizza?

                    i've become more aware of tipping on take out since i came to these boards....not sure yet if that's a good or a bad thing that i'm so easily influenced, lol.

                    While your SO is probably doing a nice thing, i don't necessarily see it as necessary. The restaurant does presumably have to supply disposable containers (which i wouldn't mind being charged for btw), but does not have to bring dishes, smile and check in throughout your dinner, or use their own soap and hot water to wash the dishes either. The server, in my experience, walks from the kitchen to cash register with order usually already bagged, maybe stuffs a few napkins or a prerolled napkin/plastic cutlery combos into the bag and rings it in. Not really the same as them waiting on you for an hour or more.

                    1. I usually tip at least 20-25% for take out as I do minimum for sit down. If take out, I rarely tip. Unless I see that someone has done something extra for me. I think the smallest bill I ever got for Takeout was $14, and I tipped $3. But I knew the guy literally drove 2 blocks to get to my house.

                      I don't believe that delivery people remember big tips, unless they are much more than 20%. Like 50%. The only time I saw a return on a tip was when I tipped a kid $10 on Valentie's day. The next day I ordered from the same place and the food was there in literally 15 minutes. I tipped $5, and never had that quick service again.