HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >


How much do you tip when you get take-out? [Moved from SF Bay Area board]

Let's say you've ordered indian food for take-out, at the counter or over the phone. I normally don't tip 15%, because it wasn't a full service meal. But I want to tip something - do you tip 10%, or just a couple of dollars even if you've ordered $80 worth of food?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. It depends on who has to "assemble" it. If it is a server, 10%, a hostess or manager, $5 or so.

        1. Zero. What sense does it make to tip for something that was never waited on?

          1. There are loads of related topics if you search here or using Google (search for "chowhound tipping takeout"), but here's one of the longer ones with posts from 5 years ago and thjs year:


            1. I tip 10%- after all, someone put effort into assembling it into containers, making sure the condiments and utensils are correct, and packaging it so that it doesn't fall apart in the bag. It's not all that different from bringing the plated meal to your table except for the lack of follow up service. Obviously, though, I don't tip somewhere where I wouldn't tip for sit down service like Chipotle.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Hobbert

                Well, they're not cleaning up after you which is a nice feature of eating out.

                1. re: olyolyy

                  Lol true. That would be the lack of follow up service.

                  1. re: olyolyy

                    well many waiters are not cleaning up after you either... the busboys are. many Togo people get paid the same as servers.. $4 an hour. meaning they work off tips. although you may not get the same face-to-face experience... they take your order over the phone, deal with any complications, deal with the kitchen, bag/assemble your food, take your payment & some restaurants bring it out to your car. all the while, they are dealing with many more customers yet trying their hardest to make you satisfied with ur takeout experience. although some people just don't understand the difficulty of the job, it isn't the easiest & definitely deserves the recognition when not even getting paid minimum wage because expectancy of tips.

                    1. re: apet606

                      I agree with you regardless of the base hourly wage. That wage varies from state to state. Here in California it's $8.00 and I STILL think a tip of some kind is deserved when it's clear that more than just cursory service was performed. As much as I try I can't get comfortable with those who feel takeout deserves no tip at all....... ever.

                2. I don't tip for takeout.

                    1. I tip about 10 pct. because usually a server takes the order and the money from that order is added on to that server's sales that night, meaning that there is more tax to pay. Also, the server is taking time away from their tables to cash you out, and making sure everything is boxed and bagged properly.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Oboegal

                        I agree with everything you said except the part about the taxes........ that being a bit sketchy. As far as I understand the IRS rules, the restaurant withholds a minimum of 8% of sales from each server's pay and the employee is required to submit a form to the employer summarizing all tips received in that period. That';s because most servers receive a lot of their tips in cash and the employer has no way of knowing that amount directly.

                        If the restaurant only reports the 8% "threshold" amount, the server CAN report only that amount to the employer and on his/her taxes BUT, if they're ever audited, the IRS is going to question it. SO.................... depending on the server's reporting, the employer's deduction policy, and the IRS's assessment of likely tips in an audit, there may or may not be more tax to pay.

                        Just sayin'..................... ;o]

                      2. I tip 2-3$ because I usually have to ask the hostess to add extra utensils and dressings on the side.

                        1. Five bucks. Always. But I never have take out for more than 3 people.

                            1. <if you've ordered $80 worth of food>

                              I'll leave $16 in tip.
                              I tip a full 20%.
                              Based on the responses on this thread it answers the question of why the server actually throws out a few 'thanks so much', opens my door and stops short of hugging me.
                              Same with 'ordering in'.
                              Shouldn't I be doing that?

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: latindancer

                                I tip 20% for dine-in or delivery, but until October of last year(this thread) it never occurred to me to tip for take-out. Never even entered my mind. I still don't tip for take-out. But I'm certainly not saying you or anyone else shouldn't tip if it makes you happy.

                                1. re: miss_belle

                                  I'd sincerely like to understand how the lack of 'sit down' table service, even at the exact same restaurant, ordering almost the exact same thing, translates from 20% to zero. Not picking on you. I truly don't get it. Restaurant staff routinely splits tips between server and some 'behind-the-scenes' staff, so how do you see takeout as no one doing anything worth a gratuity of any amount?

                                  1. re: Midlife

                                    I'm not saying there's no work involved with take-out. Guess the reason I don't tip is because I've never found it to be customary in places I've frequented over the years. Not that I could see anyways.

                                    1. re: miss_belle

                                      Interesting take. How can you tell if other people add a tip on their credit card slip?

                                      1. re: Midlife

                                        Looking at your posts downwind on this thread I can see you're not one to give up on the subject..lol

                                        Small town, BBQ, Chinese, Mexican & Fried chicken. No waiting lines so I can't look over anyone's shoulder to check for tips on credit cards. Think they're all just happy to have our business and I'll just leave it at that ok .

                                        1. re: miss_belle

                                          If that's OK with you, I certainly don't have a way to change your mind. This is one of those things that seems to have highly polarized POVs. I guess I'm just too logical a thinker to be comfortable with a 'never' response on this from anyone who tips for table service. I simply don't get it. Whatever!

                              2. I base my take-out tip the same way I base my sit-down tip. Start at 20% and go up or down depending on service, friendliness, attitude, etc.

                                1. I just bought take-out today at my usual place. Food prepared by owner. Bill $11.50. I put a dollar in the tip jar.

                                  1. Nothing. Nada. Zip. ESPECIALLY if it's the owner. Never did, never will.
                                    Hey, I haven't worked in over three years, they should be tipping me.

                                    1. I have never tipped for take-away - and I doubt whether anyone else in this part of the world has either.