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Tipping for take out?

I'm wondering if there is any rule of thumb for tipping on a take out order. I always see the gratuity line, even on a to go order, and while I normally tip 20% on table service that seems way too high for take out... but I also feel weird leaving it blank, figuring someone had to box the food up.

Was wondering if anyone knew of a standard practice here.

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    1. it has been covered a couple of times, you might want to check out these threads
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/366450 - general discussion
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/792430 - at chinese
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/711017 - at PF Chang

      In general it depends on the restaurant, the amount of work done to prep your order to take out, and personal feelings about the appropriateness of tipping. The majority of people do tip unless it is a fast food kind of place. At a restaurant with table service that also provides take out, most appear to believe that a tip of some amount is appropriate, but often less than you would tip if you were dining in. (say 5%-10%) Often places (starbucks for example) have a tip jar.

      I am not the best to judge as I have been known to tip (on one occasion) at McDonalds - it was an order for about 11 people, most of whom wanted something special done to or with their food. Sodas with no ice, sodas with extra ice, a cup of ice with their coffee.... One slice of cheese instead of two, can they put the pickle under the burger... it was quite an experience. The person behind the counter was very helpful, made sure the orders were right, came out almost all at once, and helped me carry the four trays of food to the table.

      1 Reply
      1. re: KaimukiMan

        Thanks. I tried doing a search on this subject , but didn't come up with these threads. This is helpful.

      2. Didn't we just have this discussion, though that one was focused on Chinese takeout?

        1 Reply
        1. As noted, there are tons of long threads on this.

          Bottom line: it's not the general custom in the US, except in where a server (rather than cashier, host/ess, manager, cook, et cet.) takes care of the order and has to include your sale in his or her tab on which he or she is having withholding for tip income. There are people who get take out from establishments where this is done, but most people think of take out in terms of places this is not done.

          1. This topic comes up AT LEAST once per month.

            Here is last month's, may provide some insight.

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/796175

            4 Replies
            1. re: thegforceny

              that link is actually to this page lol

              1. re: kpaxonite

                Ha! My error! Still an incredibly boring topic....

                1. re: thegforceny

                  Here's the most recent (I think) thread on this topic:

                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/792430

                  Pretty sure everything that needs to be said about this has already been said. Many times. But Chowhound without mind-numbing repetition just wouldn't be Chowhound, no? (Which is why I provided a link already provided by Kaimukiman.)