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Tipping for take out

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Do you guys tip when you do take-out? If you do how much will you tip?

My wife and I can't agree on how much to tip for take-out.

I'll tip a full 15% because although I'm not sitting down for a full meal, I feel servers still need to pack my food properly, get my order faster and I think they are doing a lot of the same work as if I was sitting in the restaurant..

My wife disagrees and will usually tip a couple of bucks because she feels we are only picking up our food.

Just curious what Calgary chowhounders do.

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  1. I'm not from Calgary so perhaps there is a cultural difference here, but I do not tip at all for take out. My thoughts on this are that it is very similar to going to a super market and buying food. I do not tip the cashier when I buy my own food and I generally wait for the cashier/bag person to bag my groceries as well. I think this is pretty similar to taking out from a restaurant - while I appreciate them getting my food order correct and putting it into a bag properly, I do not believe this is a service which requires tipping. If they do a really great job or you a regular, then maybe a few bucks here and there.

    1. a basic search of this board reveals the following threads on take out tipping, perhaps these will be of interest to you:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/666603
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/366450
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/302630
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/463645
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/411747

      1. This is a pretty hot topic with lots of opinions. Here are a couple of recent threads that might be of interest to read through.

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/666603

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/366450

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/601359

        1. I agree with cseto3 and don't tip for take out. I used to work as a cashier at a restaurant and I know what a pain take out orders can be. The waitresses used to resent doing them so much that the hostess I worked with just did the take outs if possible just so she wouldn't have to listen to the complaining. So I do have some understanding, but I also know no job is perfect.

          3 Replies
          1. re: givemecarbs

            This subject has been beaten to death here but your take is unique. You KNOW what a pain these orders can be for staff and yet you DON'T tip anything. I'm really curious how you rationalize that given you seem to have MORE than 'some' understanding.

            Maybe the complaining was because people didn't tip?

            1. re: Midlife

              Yes that was it. No maybe about it. As the cashier I sometimes had to get involved if the hostess was busy. I remember waiting for the bartender to fill up a take out cup of coke when she was busy while worrying that people might be waiting to pay at my register. The bar was in an adjacent room. I've been thinking that it is likely that more people are getting stuff to go and eating in the comfort of their own homes these days so this issue probably comes up even more now.

              1. re: givemecarbs

                Am I wrong in thinking you are defending not tipping, in spite of all you know? I don't really get how you can do that?

          2. I always leave five dollars. It usually costs about 50.

            1. I'm in LA and I always do.
              It's a service....I tip.

              20 Replies
              1. re: latindancer

                If I get delivery, I tip the delivery person 15/20 percent up to $5 or so. If I go to pick it up myself, I don't tip. If I have to tip when I go to get it myself, what's the point. Why not just get delivery and save myself the hassle?

                1. re: StheJ

                  "Why not just get delivery and save myself the hassle?"

                  To me it's more about principle.
                  Someone provides a service (including the one who's giving it to me at the counter) and I show them appreciation with a tip.
                  It's personal and certainly subjective.

                  1. re: latindancer

                    By that logic, if I buy a sweater and the counterperson wraps it in tissue paper and puts it in a bag, I should tip. I don't see the difference in service between that, and someone packing up a sandwich for me. So do you tip when you buy clothes?

                    1. re: small h

                      "So do you tip when you buy clothes'?

                      In very select situations, yes.

                      1. re: latindancer

                        The example I gave involved the person at the cash register wrapping up a purchase. Would that be one of the "select situations"?

                        1. re: small h

                          I would never do anything that could potentially jeopardize anyone's job.
                          Not all businesses allow tipping for their employees.

                    2. re: latindancer

                      You make a good point... and it certainly is subjective. I guess I expect the folks who pack the food up, take the orders, sell me sweaters etc... to be compensated by the establishment for their time and effort. Whereas my understanding is that the delivery person or the server is compensated mainly by my tips and to a lesser degree by the establishment.

                      1. re: StheJ

                        When it comes to tipping I don't break it down and analyze 'who compensates whom'.
                        If a person works hard at providing a good service to me I feel good about paying it back in the way of a nice tip.
                        If the person washing my car, for instance, is obligated to pool his tips and they're doing a stellar job on my car, I tip them an extra tip, privately, beyond the pooled tip.

                    3. re: StheJ

                      I tip because the places I pick up from dont deliever and Im even often surprised you can get take out considering they arent take out places whatsoever ...

                      and if I wanted something from a place that delievered chances are Id have it delieved unless I was walking by

                    4. re: latindancer

                      Really - you tip any time you receive a service?

                      You buy $100 worth of groceries - give the bag boy $10.

                      Teeth cleaned? $20 for the dental hygienist.

                      Annual physical? $50 for the nurse.

                      Time to revise your will? $100 for the legal secretary.

                      The notion that one should tip any time a service is rendered is just silly. If you're taking a tipped employee away from other jobs, then tipping on takeout is appropriate. If you're going through the drive-through at In-N-Out, it's not.

                      1. re: alanbarnes

                        "Really - you tip any time you receive a service?"

                        Did I say that?
                        Groceries?....I tip the bag guy/girl who takes them to my car.
                        Teeth cleaned?....every 3 months yes I take a small gift....it's my pleasure and my relationship is important.
                        Annual physical?..absolutely a gift.
                        Will?....that's really nobody's business what I do.
                        I tip...it's subjective, as I said, and I do what I do because it gives me pleasure and I don't consider it 'silly'. The person(s) on the receiving end certainly don't.

                        1. re: latindancer

                          "I tip...it's subjective, as I said, and I do what I do because it gives me pleasure and I don't consider it 'silly'. The person(s) on the receiving end certainly don't."

                          Whatever makes you happy, no? You must truly be a saint/loved by all...

                          "The notion that one should tip any time a service is rendered is just silly. If you're taking a tipped employee away from other jobs, then tipping on takeout is appropriate. If you're going through the drive-through at In-N-Out, it's not."

                          Just because latindancer chooses to tip in certain situations, doesn't mean that anyone else has to or should. I'm perfectly happy with my tipping regimen and just because latindancer chooses to tip in situations where I don't doesn't mean that I'm a cheapskate or that I should.

                          1. re: StheJ

                            The OP asked....
                            I responded.

                            1. re: StheJ

                              "You must truly be a saint/loved by all..."

                              Ha. I don't trust anyone like that.
                              It's not why I tip.

                              1. re: latindancer

                                "I do what I do because it gives me pleasure"

                                I meant to say that I'm sure folks pick up on this and respond in kind, not that you are a "saint"... I don't trust anyone like that either.

                            2. re: latindancer

                              No, what you said is "It's a service ... I tip." Which is only relevant if you believe that tipping is appropriate whenever you receive a service.

                              It's not. Tipping has very little to do with the fact that someone has provided you a service. It's strictly a function of social custom. Tipping a doctor or a lawyer (both service providers) would considered by most people to be profoundly inappropriate.

                              Gift-giving has nothign to do with tipping. I give my kids gifts for their birthdays, but don't tip them for emptying the dishwasher. And I don't think the servers at the local restaurant would appreciate it if you stiffed them all year long, no matter how generous your Christmas gifts might be.

                              1. re: alanbarnes

                                'And I don't think the servers at the local restaurant would appreciate it if yo stiffed them all year long, no matter how generous your Christmas gifts might be"....

                                Huh?
                                I can't think of one time I've 'stiffed' any server, no matter how lousy the service was and I would never consider a gift a tip.
                                There are certain establishments where my tipping could help lose a job for someone....they're not allowed to take it so I pay back in the form of a gift.
                                I shop where I know people and they know me. .it's an important criteria for me. I build relationships with people/places and I tip generously where it's allowed. I have never, once, given a $5 tip to a takeout person, who's boxed/bagged my meal, without a hearty 'thankyou'. People need to make a living and I'm constantly aware of that.
                                I also give gifts to show my deep appreciation to those I've built those relationships with...if you find that odd then let's just say....
                                You have your way of doing things and I have mine.

                                1. re: latindancer

                                  Let's try this one more time.

                                  Whether a service has been provided has nothing to do with whether a tip is appropriate or expected. Maunder all you like about "deep appreciation" and "relationships" with people in the service industry. Those things are all very nice, but they're completely irrelevant to the question at hand.

                                  The question is whether to tip on takeout. Reasonable people can disagree as to the answer, but what I was trying to illustrate is that it's patently unreasonable to argue that a tip should be given any time a service is rendered.

                                  1. re: alanbarnes

                                    "The question is whether to tip on takeout".

                                    I'll go back to my original response before it was dissected for whatever reason.
                                    It's a service....I tip. I always, always, always tip.
                                    Sometimes big, sometimes not so big.
                                    But I tip.
                                    I enjoy it and the person who's doing the service enjoys it.

                                    1. re: alanbarnes

                                      "Maunder all you like about "deep appreciation" and "relationships" with people in the service industry. Those things are all very nice, but they're completely irrelevant to the question at hand.

                                      For me, they're not. They';re completely relevant.
                                      I've never, once, thought about what's expected/not expected or what is appropriate unless, as I've stated before quite a few times, it compromises the person's job. I do what feels good and what I think is the right thing for me.
                                      The OP asked what people do when it comes to tipping at take-out.
                                      I answered.

                          2. Depends where the takeout is coming from. Most of the takeout I get is from places that have a proper takeout area or are only takeout. The wait staff don't have anything to do with the orders. So I treat it like any other store and don't tip.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Sooeygun

                              Good point. A lot of the take out I get is chinese, vietnamese and thai and these places do a huge take out business in my area. From the looks of the dining area they wouldn't survive without the take out orders.

                            2. This umpteenth incarnation of this subject is about as far as I can go with it.

                              Here's my 2¢.

                              For me anyway, the appropriateness of tipping for takeout is related mostly to two things:
                              1. Is the restaurant's main business focus the service of more complex food items as compared with fast food? Sometimes a subjective but figures into my thinking.
                              ---I don't tip at Panda Express (steam table spooned into styrofoam), but I do at a sit-down Chinese restaurant.
                              2. Is someone in the restaurant providing a 'service' that is something akin to a proportional part of seated dining service.
                              --I tip just a dollar for a take-out pizza at a sit-down Italian restaurant, but 10% if I'm picking up salads and entrees.

                              I'm not sure why I do this, as I really understand that there's someone in the back at Carl's Jr. who's running a burger patty through broiler, slapping sauce and condiments on a bun and wrapping it all up. And there is a guy slaving away at the huge woks in Panda Express. But neither of them is actually 'preparing' a meal for me, as I see it. Much of it has to do with what 'seems right' to me.