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Jun 12, 2008 01:28 PM

Tip calculation when ordering takeout while dining-in?

My favorite Chinese restaurant is quite a distance away, so I only eat there a few times a year, and always also get several meals' worth to go. I tell the waiter that I would also like a take-out order. In general, the take-out totals 2-3 times the eat-in tab. On what amount should I base the tip? I usually tip half-again as much as I would for just the eat-in part. It's not quite the same situation as just walking in and ordering to go. Or, should I just handle the dining tab as usual, and order the take-out afterwards at the register? I'd like to hear waitstaffers' opinions on this.

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  1. At the register, separately. Problem avoided.

    1. jfood usually has the situation where one of the little jfoods calls and asks for a take-away while M&M jfood are eating. so the situation is usually two full dinners and one entree take-away he normally tips the percentage on the total.

      But in your case he would tip his normal percentage on the eat-ins and tip on the take-aways as if they were take-aways (wait they are) which would be at a lower percentage.Ifthe server were on his game he would bring two tabs (one eat in, one take away), and jfood would tip differently on both. but if he brings one, c'est la vie.

      1. i more often than not agree w Invino, but in this case, no. if i am having a meal and also order food to go on the same check/ticket, it tends to be handled totally by my table server, so i always treat it as regular dine-in tip. the server often double-checks and packs all the food and brings it to the table (normally a manager or other non-tipped employee would do at least a portion of this work). especially for large orders, where you'd be bummed if any item were forgotten, i think the normal gratuity is in order. just my opinion. alternately, you could order the takeout from the register before being seated, paying in advance, and then pick up the food when you leave, tipping whatever is customary for you for takeout. i used to work at a chinese-american restaurant, and you would be considered a good customer there if you followed either of these norms-- indeed, even if you only stopped in a few times a year, but stuck to your predictable pattern, you would probably be remembered, and treated specially.

        1 Reply
        1. re: soupkitten

          Hey, I do the same. That was just a suggestion for people to avoid undertipping their server. :)

        2. Thanks for the first original tipping thread I've seen in ages! I also like the the question is "how much do i tip for" not "should I tip for."

          I'd fall somewhere between jfood and soupkitten on this one. It'd be based on "feel." I probably wouldn't lean all the way to tip the full dine-in percentage on the whole tab but I also think that in such situations its common for the waiter to be a bit more careful with your order, pack it a bit more securely, make certain you get little extras like more rice, noodles for soup and so on. If I felt that it had been dealt with in a way that made my life easier and was special, then I'd tip more than for standard take-away food.

          This is also a good idea that I may have to start using at my favorite place.

          1. I am a pretty generous tipper when I'm dining (and for certain when food is delivered to my home) but if I pick up a meal, and as indicated this is best handled off the regular bill if you are there eating, why tip? This isn't something that has required service, you are buying something directly from the restaurant. Your server is not involved. The restaurant is just selling more of what they sell.

            6 Replies
            1. re: serious

              You tip when picking up food because someone took the time to pack the food, condiments, and, utensils properly. This is an additional service and you tip on service.

              1. re: KTinNYC

                It's less expensive for the restaurant to pack the food than serve it at a table. (Untensils - for another discussion this wasteful practice should be explored for food going home.) Take out maximizes the use of kitchen. Do you think the tips go to the kitchen staff who cook and pack?

                1. re: serious

                  There are places here that advertise a $0.50 or $1 per item surcharge on takeout orders with the explanation that it's the servers that pack the food, and when someone has takeout duty for the night, they're assigned one fewer table. The surcharge helps that server make up for lost tips on that table.

                  1. re: beachmouse

                    I have never seen that on a menu in NYC. I would be plenty surprised to hear of nyc wait staff taking over the packing up for take out.

                    1. re: beachmouse

                      The 99 charges 3% of the total bill for takeout. I'm pretty sure that the amount goes into the register, not an employee's pocket. I'll give them credit, most people probably never notice it and the restaurant puts a nice pad on their top line.

                      I base tipping on additional "take out" meals while dining in on the "big picture". If the server completed the process, made sure the food was kept warm, etc. I would likely just tip on the whole bill. Not to be cheap, but if were ordering several meals like the OP, I would split the bill out by ordering through a host or manager and tip at a reduced rate. I guess it really depends on the restaurant and the specific situation.