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Do you tip the take out person at PF Changs [moved from Chains]

c
Cameraman May 29, 2010 05:59 PM

When my mother-in-law comes to town she likes take out from PF Changs. The TO person carries the order out in a milk crate and then transfers it to a paper bag double checking the order and giving you a chance to spot mistakes. Actually a thoughtful piece of business. Does this require a tip? If so, how much?

  1. j
    JulietteD Feb 18, 2013 12:15 PM

    Wow, I had completely forgotten about this post until I got an e-mail with a forum response. After reading through the comments, I'll answer some questions. I am no longer at PFC because I decided to be a server somewhere else (though I still love the company very much). The hosts(esses) are responsible for takeout orders. There is one person per shift, 2 if it's a busy day like Valentine's Day or Mother's Day. That host is clocked in as take out and does not receive the usual hourly wage he/she would get as a host. The person in charge of take out not only takes care of orders, but also helps out with seating guests and doing other odd side work jobs.
    Now the Guest vs. Customer thing.
    You are customers in the sense that by you coming into the restaurant and dining, you are helping build the business. We call each person who walks through the door a guest because that is how each person is to be treated. We are to assist you in anyway we can to help your experience at the restaurant be enjoyable. As a host would in his home, they prepare a meal, they serve the meal, give beverages and refills, offer dessert, and clean up afterwords. Think of a host at a home as a server. No, you don't tip them but do you offer to help clean up? Do you bring a wine or dessert as contribution to the meal? It's not a money tip, but it is appreciated, of course, by the host and it does help them out, as does a tip for a server. The host that brings you to your table does not get tipped, but the server or take out person who takes care of you does for providing you with a service and helping you enjoy your experience and helping you decide to come back.
    Now another example of where people are called guests is at a hotel. If your argument is that if you are guests in the restaurant, why get the bill or even tip, then another "good" argument would be why pay for a room in a hotel. Being called a guest isn't about the money, it's about how you are treated. It's the hospitality business. Those who are in the business are hospitable to their guests.

    To another comment based on what I said about the amount of tip that should be given. For take out, it is customary, but of course within your discretion, to tip 5-10% off of the bill. You can leave less, however if the person taking care of you has done everything right, why tip less? It is insulting to receive $1 on a check that is $30 or more (for takeout). 5% says the TO person did a good job, but didn't do anything out of the ordinary to make your dining out experience better, and 10% says everything was perfect. 15% is definitely appreciated for TO. It says everything was perfect and the person did their job and more. Tipping $1 isn't even 10% of 20 if you're dining in. For dining in, it is customary to tip 15-20%, but 18-20% is best. 15% says you did a terrible job, 18% says you were good, but nothing outstanding, and 20% says everything was perfect. Tip based on service, not how long food takes as we are not the ones cooking. If food is taking too long, tip based on how the server handles the situation instead.

    1. j
      JulietteD Oct 18, 2010 08:50 AM

      I work take out at P.F. Changs and I do appreciate every tip I receive. I feel like a lot of people don't realize the actual work involved in take out service. I basically do everything a server does, minus the table. I am the one taking the order, whether by phone or in person. I am the one putting the order in the computer. I constantly go to the kitchen to check if the food is ready and make sure everything is coming out in a timely fashion & correctly. If soup is ordered, I ladle it into the container myself. If a guest is waiting at the restaurant for their food, I offer them a drink while they wait, and bring it to them. At the convenience to the guest, I bring the food out in a basket and bag it in front of them so that if there are any mistakes, they can be fixed right then and there. I also take the payment-cash or swiping the card-at the computer in front of them.
      I provide a service to a guest (not customer!), therefore a tip should be provided to me. Yes a full 20% isn't completely necessary, but at least leave 5-10%. Leaving $1 is considered an insult, leaving the coins from the change provided is even worse. Leaving nothing is just rude.

      23 Replies
      1. re: JulietteD
        k
        kmcarr Oct 18, 2010 10:02 AM

        "I provide a service to a guest (not customer!), therefore a tip should be provided to me."
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        I'm sorry Juliette but I am in fact your customer, not your guest. Why has "customer" become a dirty word in the restaurant industry? Furthermore a guest never, ever tips their host(ess) and a host(ess) expecting a tip from a guest is just rude.

        (P.S. Hostess gifts are not tips. They are given as an act of kindness, not remuneration for the service provided.)

        1. re: kmcarr
          mucho gordo Oct 18, 2010 10:55 AM

          WELL SAID!
          I do, however believe in tipping the TO person for the reasons cited by Juliette. They are the waitperson minus the table.

          1. re: mucho gordo
            k
            kmcarr Oct 18, 2010 12:12 PM

            To be clear, I too tip the TO person, even if they do insist on calling me their guest. My beef was just with this particular affectation which has run rampant in the hospitality industry.

          2. re: kmcarr
            rockandroller1 Oct 22, 2010 11:26 AM

            I've worked in a lot of chains and they won't let you call patrons "customers" anymore. As one former manager often said, "Whores have customers, we have guests."

            I think Juliette should also disclose whether or not she is being paid the full min wage when she works the takeout station. At the chains I worked at, table servers are not paid min wage, but the take out person is - meaning your pay is upped as there is not an "expectance" that you will make up your salary from tips, as it would be if you were waiting tables. I do not tip people who get paid at least minimum wage, be it at fast food joints, mcdonald's, or a carry out restaurant.

            But perhaps PF Chang's doesn't do that. Juliette should disclose.

          3. re: JulietteD
            j
            JRSD Oct 18, 2010 11:34 AM

            (meant to be a reply to Juliette D)

            Are you paid a full wage or are you paid less and expected to make up the difference in tips like a server is?

            1. re: JRSD
              ZenSojourner Oct 18, 2010 12:25 PM

              My thought exactly.

              1. re: ZenSojourner
                l
                LTL Oct 21, 2010 07:10 AM

                I third this question. While I also tip the TO person (less than I would dining in), JulietteD's end comments did make me question what amount is considered "suitable". For someone who is so adamant about being tipped, why the extreme specificity (and defensiveness) about the amount? I would think people would appreciate the gesture itself, especially since I'm sure that most people do NOT tip for TO.

                1. re: LTL
                  ZenSojourner Oct 21, 2010 01:22 PM

                  I do not tip for take-out, and I tip minimally at buffets. Tipping is for SERVICE. If I get carry out there is no service. If it's a buffet, there is minimal to no service.

                  And yes, I have worked in a restaurant that ran a buffet.

                  1. re: ZenSojourner
                    y
                    yfunk3 Oct 22, 2010 06:14 AM

                    Well, there might not be anyone bringing the food to you, but there are people taking your used plates and cutlery away. And often, there are buffets where waiters/waitresses give you the drinks instead of there being a soda fountain. So in those places, there should be around a 10% tip for that. I don't think that's too much out of the bill. I also know buffets often take reservations now for big groups, and that can be taxing for any place.

                    For take-out, I always try to give at least $1, most times $2. More if I'm a regular and they recognize me and give me great service because of that. Or just super great service in general.

                    Honestly, if I can afford to eat out, I can afford an extra dollar or two or 10% more. But I'm an over-tipper in general and tip post-tax most of the time.

                    1. re: yfunk3
                      ZenSojourner Oct 22, 2010 09:56 AM

                      I didn't say I don't tip at buffets. I said I tip LESS. Like $1 or two.

              2. re: JRSD
                Karl S Oct 21, 2010 07:35 AM

                That indeed is the relevant question.

              3. re: JulietteD
                jfood Oct 21, 2010 07:50 AM

                If you are paid at least minimum wage then no you do not "deserve" a tip, although it is appreciated. If you are paid in the same manner as the other servers and were told when you accepted the job that you would earn tips to achieve at least minimum wage then there is a disconnect between you , the manager and the customer. For me, I do not normally leave tips at take outs, PFC included.

                As to your point on the guest versus customer...I do not charge my guests when I serve them a meal in my house, so if I am truly a guest of PFC, thank you for inviting me but why are you giving me a bill. I am a customer, not a guest.

                1. re: jfood
                  im_nomad Oct 21, 2010 09:23 AM

                  I could possibly split a thread from this on your first sentence; in Canada to my knowledge, all servers are paid at least minimum wage. That said, I think most people tip.

                  1. re: im_nomad
                    Karl S Oct 21, 2010 09:41 AM

                    Well, in the US, servers are also paid a minimum wage, but a lower one than for most labor categories (agricultural workers of certain classes also have a different, lower, minimum wage, et cet.) Much of the insistence on tipping levels not being very discretionary in the US has been very much tied in arguments to this situation, and so the question remains relevant in the context of our current socio-cultural compact, as it were. (It has not been the general social custom to tip on take-out in the US, and the practice is still a minority one, and the question is part of finding an appropriate and explicable justificaiton for expanding a boundary, et cet.)

                    1. re: Karl S
                      im_nomad Oct 21, 2010 10:11 AM

                      In Canada (again, to my knowledge), minimum wage varies from province to province but never by job. The expectation for tipping is still very much here, as I would imagine in the US. As I would also imagine it would remain if the minimum wage in the US became standard no matter what job you were working.

                      1. re: im_nomad
                        jfood Oct 21, 2010 10:26 AM

                        FYI - the proliferation of "TIP" jars in the US is just silly and numerous threads have been started and eventually locked when they have spiraled out of control. Needless to say this is not a black-white issue.

                        1. re: im_nomad
                          Karl S Oct 21, 2010 11:47 AM

                          Still doesn't address the issue of why to change the long-prevailing custom in the US.

                          1. re: Karl S
                            ZenSojourner Oct 21, 2010 01:19 PM

                            "Wait staff must be paid at least $2.89 per hour and the amount of tips received must bring this amount to $6.15"

                            The reason to change is that a lot of servers at the low end get ripped off by their employers. They are forced to sign waivers at the end of the year attesting to having made $6.15 an hour (or the current minimum regulated amount) or lose their jobs. This is an on-going problem in many less-than hoity toity places all across the country. When I worked for the Chinese restaurant, my employer did not do this - but one of his compatriots running another restaurant did it routinely. NONE of his wait staff (it was a buffet) ever cleared the actual minimum wage. Eventually they would quit and then he would hire a fresh batch of illegals and inexperienced high school girls. He did this for years, it was common knowledge across at least 3 counties. He tried to do it to me but I refused to work for him (he hired kitchen staff on as "wait staff" so NO ONE was making minimum wage in his place). He also raided the tip jar whenever he thought no one was looking, AND picked up the tips diners left before the table could be bussed, AND did all the book-keeping so tips left on credit cards rarely made it to their intended targets.

                            This was a particularly heinous example of this sort of abuse, but it's rampant throughout the industry.

                            THAT'S why we should change the "long-prevailing custom" in the US. Slavery was a long-prevailing custom too. I'm pretty durn glad we changed it.

                            1. re: ZenSojourner
                              Karl S Oct 21, 2010 01:55 PM

                              Um, this still begs the question of whether all people running the registers at take out joints are similarly situated in this regard. No one's question the tipping of servers who are in fact in the wage classification of servers. But people who ring up take out at the pizzeria or Chinese takeout joint (as opposed, for example, to floor servers at Chez Panisse ringing up a take out sale; those servers should get tipped if those sales are included in their base for withholding) are more typically like cashiers at McDonalds. No social custom of tipping there. When most Americans outside dining meccas think "take-out" they are not referring to the Chez Panisse idea but the pizzeria/Chinese takeout/Greek gyro shop idea.

                              1. re: ZenSojourner
                                jfood Oct 21, 2010 03:29 PM

                                and what did the local officials do when you informed them of such heinous acts?

                                1. re: jfood
                                  ZenSojourner Oct 21, 2010 04:57 PM

                                  Since I refused to work for the guy, I had no evidence. I tried to get people who HAD worked for him to come forward, but they were all afraid to. They guy was in good with the county officials as well as city officials. "Thriving business" and whatnot. Very corrupt small town in a very rural area. He actually had been turned in at least a couple times, but a few free meals and some back-slapping and it always went away.

                                  Plus, like I said, he liked to hire illegals and high school kids. Not your most sophisticated workers.

                            2. re: im_nomad
                              Sooeygun Oct 22, 2010 08:51 AM

                              In Ontario, the min wage for servers "who serve liquor directly to customers or guests in licensed premises as a regular part of their work." is lower than the regular min wage (currently $10.25) by $1.35.

                              In Quebec, the min wage for those who earn tips is lower by $1.25.

                      2. re: JulietteD
                        m
                        mentasks Feb 17, 2013 01:15 PM

                        I totally agree. I always tip for takeout at PF Changs. In fact, this past Valentines Day I picked up takeout and decided that since it was one of their busiest days and I knew the TO person was not going to benefit from the extra tips that would be earned that night from waiting extra tables, I would give an extra tip. Even though I put my bill on the Credit Card I like to tip the staff in cash so they get the tip immediately. When she brought my order and bagged it, I signed the check, gave her a generous tip (15% on a $60 check) and then noticed she had not given me the chili paste. She was very nice, but very rushed and busy, ran to the kitchen, got the chili paste and tossed it in my bag when she returned. When we arrived at our friends house and went to take the food out, two of the chili paste lids had popped off and EVERYTHING was coated in spilled chili paste and had to be cleaned off. While I have no complaints with her (very pleasant and working hard) the time should have been taken to ensure this accident didn't happen.

                      3. PeterL May 31, 2010 10:06 AM

                        I don't tip for takeouts, pf chang or MacDonald.

                        1. h
                          Harters May 31, 2010 06:38 AM

                          I guess it depends on the cultural norm wherever you are. Where I am, we would never consider tipping on takeout, nor would it ever be expected.

                          1. boyzoma May 30, 2010 06:12 PM

                            The OP said they bring it out and bag it in front of you???? Not at our PF Chang's. We have learned that we have to sit and personally go through the bag to check as it is pretty nasty to get home and find you have no sauce for your chicken lettuce wraps or you have sweet/sour chicken instead of kung pao scallops! I may tip carry-out to other restaurants, but until Chang's gets it right, no tip from me!

                            1. c
                              Cameraman May 30, 2010 05:56 PM

                              I've read here and searched the other thread and have been enlightened. It honestly never crossed my mind to tip for takeout. But now I have an appreciation for the various levels of takeout service. Thanks.

                              1. Veggo May 30, 2010 05:35 PM

                                And remember to tip in $US and not in yuan, which are worth 15 cents- the PF in Chang is Paul Fleming.

                                1. i
                                  irishnyc May 29, 2010 06:17 PM

                                  I've never gotten takeout from there, but yes, I would tip 10%.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: irishnyc
                                    j
                                    joe777cool May 30, 2010 05:03 PM

                                    im with irish - 10% is about right. .

                                  2. invinotheresverde May 29, 2010 06:14 PM

                                    Lots of posts on the Not About Food board regarding tipping on takeout.

                                    I usually tip about 15-20% for takeout, but I'm in the industry, so I probably tip a bit above average. That said, the majority of people who order takeout from my work leave a tip.

                                    1. a
                                      adamshoe May 29, 2010 06:11 PM

                                      Yes. At least a little love for putting your order together. Not a full on 18-20%, but a littlle stipend (like $5 on fifty, $10-12 0n a hundred. Just good karma and you'll be rewarded for it.
                                      adam

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