HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >

Tipping on takeout?

Meowzerz Jan 30, 2013 06:14 PM

I like to think of myself as a good tipper (Don't we all? lol). I'll tip 20% almost as a standard. I just can't bring myself to tip on takeout. I know people who do, and I see the space for it on the receipt, but if I'm picking up my Chinese/Thai/Pizza/Whatever, I don't see why a tip is necessary. It seems to go against everything I've ever known about the reason why we tip. How about you guys?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. sal_acid RE: Meowzerz Jan 30, 2013 06:24 PM

    of course not

    1. BubblyOne RE: Meowzerz Jan 30, 2013 06:32 PM

      This must be the 1000th thread on takeout tipping, but I'll bite:)
      Someone still packs up the order and makes sure it's correct.
      $2 or $3 bucks makes no difference to me, but it might to the person doing the work.

      22 Replies
      1. re: BubblyOne
        Midknight RE: BubblyOne Jan 31, 2013 06:34 AM

        Using that logic (and because I like playing devil's advocate. :) ), would you tip at McDonald's or Subway? How about the drug store if they bag your shampoo?

        1. re: Midknight
          rockandroller1 RE: Midknight Jan 31, 2013 06:46 AM


          1. re: Midknight
            ChristinaMason RE: Midknight Jan 31, 2013 06:57 AM

            Well, people working at fast-food restaurants are paid at least minimum wage; restaurant servers are not. For example, in DC, regular minimum wage is $8.25; minimum wage for tipped employees, meanwhile, is only $2.77. So you are not comparing apples to apples.

            1. re: ChristinaMason
              gardencook RE: ChristinaMason Jan 31, 2013 07:23 AM

              Servers are not serving for take-out. The kitchen is preparing the food and the counter staff are doing the "serving" - and they are making at least minimum wage just like at the counter of fast food. It is apples to apples because the server making $2.77 isn't involved in the take-out process.

              1. re: gardencook
                rockandroller1 RE: gardencook Jan 31, 2013 07:35 AM

                Agree, counter staff in a lot of places, or a hostess. All making minimum. But sometimes, a bartender. A bar tender is someone who serves you drinks, or if you are eating at the bar, also serves you your food. If they aren't serving me anything but are passing me a bag from the kitchen, I just don't see that it needs a tip.

                1. re: rockandroller1
                  Sal Vanilla RE: rockandroller1 Feb 7, 2013 01:24 PM

                  Unless the server has to order the food, bag and prep it, make sure you have what you need to eat it and enjoy it, bags the food with care to make sure it arrives optimally, makes the salad, boxes up condiments like dressing, sour cream, butter, various sauces you might need... No work at all involved in that. : )

                  Burgers tossed in a bag - diff story.

                2. re: gardencook
                  ChristinaMason RE: gardencook Jan 31, 2013 07:53 AM

                  <the server making $2.77 isn't involved in the take-out process.>

                  That simply isn't true *everywhere* you go (especially, as I pointed out, in places without a host). I've done the takeout prep at both restaurants I worked in, as a server making $2.77 or less.

                  1. re: ChristinaMason
                    gardencook RE: ChristinaMason Jan 31, 2013 08:01 AM

                    And if they are... the $2.77 is there to cover the 2 minutes they spend actually doing the take-out prep. It's not like servers do not get paid *at all* outside of tips. This is why there is a minimum server wage. In the end, doing their main job of serving usually nets them a very respectable wage. People go overboard with this tipping. Tip well when you sit and know that in the end it is fair when you stop in and grab-n-go without tipping.

                    1. re: gardencook
                      Jay F RE: gardencook Jan 31, 2013 04:09 PM

                      It may be fair for someone like Garden Cook to "know that in the end it is fair when you stop in and grab-n-go without tipping," but it really isn't fair if you're a decent person.

                      1. re: Jay F
                        westsidegal RE: Jay F Feb 2, 2013 10:20 PM

                        +1 Jay F

                    2. re: ChristinaMason
                      hyacinthgirl RE: ChristinaMason Jan 31, 2013 10:15 AM

                      Me too, I've also done take-out prep as part of my job as a server at 2 establishments (one being a national chain). I never expected a tip on takeout but it was appreciated.

                    3. re: gardencook
                      Jay F RE: gardencook Jan 31, 2013 04:07 PM

                      That's not true, Garden Cook. When I was a waiter, I had to pack up and ring up takeout orders. The server in both restaurants I worked in, i.e., I, was quite involved in the take-out process.

                      1. re: Jay F
                        gardencook RE: Jay F Feb 1, 2013 04:34 AM

                        But it's "decent" to be insulting?

                        I'm speaking as a former server, as well. If you'll read thoroughly, in one of my posts, I said that we just don't do take-out... ever. I'm not in a position to tip or not tip in that situation, but I certainly don't want anyone to think that they are stiffing someone if they don't tip on take-out (from a SERVER'S prospective... unless that server is so greedy that they think every little task is supposed to be additionally compensated!!). I'd certainly still consider a take-out non-tipper "decent" people. Amazing what some people will say when they have a keyboard for defense.

                        1. re: gardencook
                          KaimukiMan RE: gardencook Feb 2, 2013 12:51 PM

                          Many of us disagree with that viewpoint. I don't tip the same as I would for table service, but making sure my take out order is correct is food service. Most of the places I get take out it is a server, not a designated counter/cashier person who prepares the order. I usually give 10% instead of 20% for takeout. It seems miserly not to. And since you are someone who NEVER does take-out, then why are you so quick to pass judgement on those who do? And I don't see anything where you said that you didn't, at least not on this thread, or are we supposed to look up your name and check everything you have ever said about tipping?

                          1. re: KaimukiMan
                            gardencook RE: KaimukiMan Feb 2, 2013 01:53 PM

                            And there are many who disagree with you without being rude.

                            I said we never do take out in my first post to the thread which is now down- thread. I did put in the disclaimer and said I was speaking from the perspective as a former server. I wasn't passing judgement, I was giving an opinion from a certain perspective, which seems to be the point of this forum.

                            And while you may think that 20% is fine for table service, some may think that is too little. No one is wrong, just operating differently in their lives. I stand by my opinion that take - out, as I see it where we are dining and where I used to work, doesn't warrant a tip because the host/ess is doing the work. Nobody can comment on every single particular situation ... These are generalizations which is all anyone can ever relate to.

                            1. re: gardencook
                              Jay F RE: gardencook Feb 2, 2013 02:01 PM

                              Including the generalization that it's the host/ess who takes care of takeout.

                            2. re: KaimukiMan
                              Sal Vanilla RE: KaimukiMan Feb 7, 2013 01:27 PM

                              I think 10 is fair. It is not table service, but if the order is big, complicated, special, involves a lot of pieces parts - 10% is greatly appreciated.

                            3. re: gardencook
                              Jay F RE: gardencook Feb 2, 2013 01:55 PM

                              It is less indecent to call someone out for her non-tipping position, however theoretical it may be, than it is to tip 0% for when picking up takeout (I'm presuming we are talking about restaurant rather than fast food).

                              That's this erstwhile waiter's opinion, written from, yes, behind his keyboard.

                          2. re: gardencook
                            GH1618 RE: gardencook Feb 4, 2013 08:06 AM

                            It depends. Where I most often get take-out, the owner takes the order, makes the sandwich, bags it up, and accept the payment. Unless it's during busy hours, when he has a counter assistant. I leave a dollar tip in either case.

                            I never tip at In-n-Out, however. I've never thought about it before, and can't say why the rule would be different, but it just seems like it isn't done. And I don't think they have a tip jar.

                            There's a contracted coffee corner in the grocery where I shop. I would tip there, but when I asked where the tip jar was, I was told it was against policy to accept tips there.

                            1. re: GH1618
                              KaimukiMan RE: GH1618 Feb 4, 2013 10:44 PM

                              Fast food places are required to pay minimum wage, on rare occasion where someone there has gone out of their way to be accommodating I have tipped at a fast food (McD's, Wendy's, Burger King, whatever.) But it is not expected or justified by pay scales.

                              I'm not sure what the justification is for tipping at Starbucks, but considering how easy it is to mess up a coffee order I kinda get it.

                              1. re: KaimukiMan
                                westsidegal RE: KaimukiMan Feb 6, 2013 11:55 AM

                                at my local starbucks' and peets' they have tip jars out.

                                on the other hand, there used to be an ice cream place that removed their tip jar because the IRS had decided to tax the servers on a presumptive tip amount that was so far in excess of the actual tips received that they were LOSING money by having any possibility of getting tips.

                                the servers put up a sign telling the customers that they do not and will not accept any tips and to please REFRAIN from leaving tips because it would reduce their take-home pay.

                        2. re: Midknight
                          BlueMagic RE: Midknight Feb 2, 2013 12:12 PM

                          I will usually leave a tip if the person has provided an extra service or is unusually pleasant or helpful. I don't eat at places like MCDonalds or Subway..but I do stop for coffee at Dunkins a couple of times a week. I always leave a tip.

                      2. shaogo RE: Meowzerz Jan 30, 2013 06:43 PM


                        My personal reasons for tipping for take-out are three-fold:

                        1) Solidarity: I'm in the restaurant business so it's "professional courtesy."
                        2) Feed my ego -- and ensure service: I enjoy the enhanced level of greeting/service and accuracy/quality of order one invariably gets from tipping sufficiently that the restaurant staff knows me.
                        3) Taking care of those who're less fortunate: I'm grateful every single day that I have a job that pays very well. While I don't necessarily think that my few extra dollars spent is going to invigorate the economy, it's really not a financial burden for me to at least help *some* of those who've probably been quite negatively impacted by the poor economy. It's my own silly version of "trickle-down."

                        Many of the nice Chowhounds I meet are quite well-off. Isn't it just the right thing to do to "spread it around" a bit?

                        All this being said, I know that there are some ChowHounds who're on a tight budget or have fallen on hard times and for whom a couple of dollars is indeed meaningful. I would certainly understand if they choose not to give a tip if they're not eating-in. Take-out, for some, is a treat and a relief from the routine effort of preparing a meal at home.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: shaogo
                          hyacinthgirl RE: shaogo Jan 31, 2013 06:45 AM

                          I love your reasons and agree with all of them.

                          1. re: shaogo
                            westsidegal RE: shaogo Feb 2, 2013 10:39 PM

                            i've yet to meet a counterperson or a server in a non-fine-dineing establishment who is making so much that a couple of dollars isn't meaningful to them too.

                            when times were really tough for me, if i couldn't tip, i went to the grocery store and bought some of their pre-prepared food.

                            it's just a few dollars in order to be fair. the counterpeople did their part, i have to be a good enough person to do mine.

                          2. g
                            GH1618 RE: Meowzerz Jan 30, 2013 06:46 PM

                            I do, but it doesn't have to be the same as for table service.

                            1. Chemicalkinetics RE: Meowzerz Jan 30, 2013 06:50 PM

                              I am not a good tipper. I tip about 20%-25% in general, but I have no idea what to do half of the time. As for takeout, I know I don't have to tip, but sometime I do, and then I feel bad afterward. I don't feel bad because I tipped. I feel bad that I don't tip other people. I should bite the bullets and just don't tip at all in any place for takeouts.

                              I go to a nicer looking place, and I tipped for takeout. I go to a not-so-great looking place and I don't. Why? It is not logical, but I do that from time to time.

                              So unlike other people here who have good answers. I am not in place to tell you what to do because I am trying to figure out myself.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                westsidegal RE: Chemicalkinetics Feb 2, 2013 10:44 PM

                                for take out, i tip about the same in all places.
                                it took just as much time for the worker in the lower-level restaurant to help me as it did for the worker in the higher-level restaurant.

                                off topic:
                                because i look at tipping as being related to the labor involved, i've been known as a wild over-tipper in breakfast places where the tab is generally quite low, while being a "regular" tipper in the higher-end places (about 20% or a little more on the total including tax).

                                it never seemed fair to me that a breakfast server who does the same amount of work as a lunch server should get tipped less just because breakfast food tends to cost less.

                              2. h
                                Hecetamom RE: Meowzerz Jan 30, 2013 07:10 PM

                                I rarely get takeout because I don't like it. When I do I tip a couple of dollars for packing up the order.

                                1. Meowzerz RE: Meowzerz Jan 30, 2013 07:29 PM

                                  Interesting viewpoints ! I am definitely not in the well-to-do range. If it saves me money to pick my own food up, then I will do that (Unless the S/O and I are craving a real night out and have the extra funds for it). So the money I save by driving out to pick up said food and using my own plates, dish washing, etc., is money I intended to save by not having to tip. I think you all are agreeing with me, and saying tipping is an "extra" when doing takeout, not mandatory? I agree with that and if and when I become well-to-do (haha) I'll definitely spread the wealth. As for now, this Hound probably doesn't make too much more than the people boxing up her food. lol

                                  17 Replies
                                  1. re: Meowzerz
                                    ChristinaMason RE: Meowzerz Jan 30, 2013 07:38 PM

                                    I think it's always nice to add at least a dollar or two, just to show you recognize that while you haven't received full table service, someone went to the effort to take your order correctly and pack it up in appropriate containers and bags and provide you with whatever condiments and utensils you might need. 20% is by no means called for, but yes, I do think it's best to leave a little something.

                                    Also consider that the person who took and packed up your order may have momentarily turned their back on their busy bar or ignored busy tables, thereby hurting their other tips to provide you service. It's nice to help compensate for that.

                                    1. re: ChristinaMason
                                      Meowzerz RE: ChristinaMason Jan 30, 2013 07:45 PM

                                      I feel ignorant about all this! That is something to consider. I have worked a lot in customer-focused jobs, but not in the food industry making less than minimum wage. Perhaps if I did I would have a different viewpoint entirely. It's good to think thoroughly and objectively, like you do!

                                      1. re: Meowzerz
                                        ChristinaMason RE: Meowzerz Jan 30, 2013 07:57 PM

                                        Former bartender and server here :)

                                        1. re: ChristinaMason
                                          Meowzerz RE: ChristinaMason Jan 30, 2013 07:58 PM

                                          Thought I heard the voice of experience =)

                                        2. re: Meowzerz
                                          rockandroller1 RE: Meowzerz Jan 31, 2013 06:49 AM

                                          I'm a former long-time server. I don't tip on takeout. As someone said above, people pack up your purchases everywhere you shop but you don't tip them. If I go to the chocolate shop to get some take-away chocolates, they have to box them up. At a department store, they have to go in the back and climb up on shelving to get a vase I might give as a wedding present. At the drugstore, the pharmacist has to measure out the little pills and make a label and print out specific instructions for me. I don't tip any of those people, even though they're all doing a "service" for me. I believe tipping should be reserved as much as possible for table service at a restaurant. I'd like to see that go away too, but that's another topic.

                                          1. re: rockandroller1
                                            ChristinaMason RE: rockandroller1 Jan 31, 2013 07:00 AM

                                            All of those examples you cite are people who make full minimum wage, not the reduced minimum for "tipped employees." I'm surprised that is not a factor in your understanding as a former server.

                                            Thus, none are people who rely on tips to make up the bulk of their income. Tips are not just a nice thing to do or an extra little something for a job well done---in most states, they are the vast majority of a tipped person's income. If you have ever received a paycheck from your employer for $200, you know exactly what that means to your bottom line.

                                            The federal government more or less expects patrons to tip on restaurant service and adjusts minimum wages accordingly.

                                            1. re: ChristinaMason
                                              rockandroller1 RE: ChristinaMason Jan 31, 2013 07:33 AM

                                              They expect them to make up their tips on the customers they SERVE in their capacity as, say, a bartender, who would serve you drinks. I don't get any drinks when I get takeout, and almost without exception at the places I get takeout, the person isn't even bagging it up or gettign plasticware or anything, that is all done in the kitchen. They literally hand me a bag and I pay them. I don't think it deserves a tip, sorry.

                                              You also may find it interesting to know that in many chain restaurants, where there is a dedicated person handling "to go" orders, that person makes minimum wage (or more) when they are working that station, as they are NOT EXPECTED TO MAKE UP A % OF THEIR INCOME WITH TIPS, as takeout is not an expected "tip" station like table service. So if you're tipping take-out specialists at chain restaurants, good for you, but you're tipping someone who is already making minimum. I think this is further proof that the industry does not expect people working in restaurants to be tipped on takeout.

                                              1. re: rockandroller1
                                                ChristinaMason RE: rockandroller1 Jan 31, 2013 07:55 AM

                                                Some, but definitely not all. No need to resort to all caps "yelling". And note that carryout sales are included in a server's sales totals and one is expected to report tips/pay a percentage on those sales as well. I want to say it's 8% of sales, but I can't quite recall.

                                                I often find when there is so much vitriol related to a question like this that there is a certain unwillingness to consider from the other person's (i.e., your server's) perspective or to bend in any way. Almost like sticking to your guns just for the sake of sticking to them. I don't see the point. In some places, as I think I have ably demonstrated, by my own experience and that of many other friends in the industry, the servers and bartenders receive, pack up, and deliver the takout orders. And they quite often do so at the expense of attention to their regular customers at tables or at the bar.

                                                I am comfortable paying a small recognition of that time and attention. You may not be. No need to get all heated over it.

                                                1. re: ChristinaMason
                                                  rockandroller1 RE: ChristinaMason Jan 31, 2013 10:15 AM

                                                  Sorry about getting huffy. The whole endless tipping discussion on here clearly indicates there is no clear right and wrong of tipping, and that everyone who tips is confused and a little irritated, but I apologize for the all caps.

                                                  In the end, it's a personal decision and I personally do not tip on takeout, and I am quite comfortable with that position. If you do, that's great.

                                                2. re: rockandroller1
                                                  BubblyOne RE: rockandroller1 Jan 31, 2013 08:08 AM

                                                  At the restaurant I go to once a week for takeout, one of the waitresses fills in and as it is an open kitchen I see her packaging up my food, putting in the condiments and asking me if there is anything else I need as she checks to make sure my order is correct.

                                                  I don't care whether she is making minimum wage or not- she is providing me a service that as I said, a couple bucks is worth to me. Especially if you've ever made it all the way home before you notice a missing item.

                                                  As far as "proof", all places are run differently.

                                                  1. re: BubblyOne
                                                    ChristinaMason RE: BubblyOne Jan 31, 2013 08:35 AM

                                                    Yes, and you'll often see tip jars at dedicated to-go counters/stations, too. Now, I wonder why that is?

                                              2. re: rockandroller1
                                                Hobbert RE: rockandroller1 Jan 31, 2013 05:56 PM

                                                I'll defer to your experience as a server, but I don't see the connection in your examples. I mean, the (extremely well paid) pharmacist can't exactly give me my pills on a paper plate. The packing up in your scenarios aren't really optional. I tend to tip a set $3 on take-out. But that's just me. Others can do as they wish.

                                                1. re: rockandroller1
                                                  westsidegal RE: rockandroller1 Feb 2, 2013 10:50 PM

                                                  when i worked in retail, although we didn't get tips, we did get

                                                  someone selling shoes could easily get a 6% commission on each sale IN ADDITION to making a salary WITH benefits.

                                                  comparing retail work to serving in a restaurant where it's practically impossible to get benefits is comparing apples with oranges.

                                                  1. re: westsidegal
                                                    rockandroller1 RE: westsidegal Feb 6, 2013 08:41 AM

                                                    Shoes and fine jewelry are the only retail positions I am aware of that regularly include commisions. Everybody else in the store starts off at (and sometimes never gets more than) minimum wage. Almost nobody is FT in retail anymore. The days of retail jobs including benefits are back in the 90s. There are no benefits, no paid time off, nothing. Just like serving. It's not apples and oranges at all IMO.

                                                    1. re: rockandroller1
                                                      westsidegal RE: rockandroller1 Feb 6, 2013 12:07 PM

                                                      you're reminding me of how old i am.
                                                      when i was in retail we had draw against commission.
                                                      we also had health insurance and vacation time.

                                                      i worked in the gift department and always made some commission over and above my draw. Christmas season was the best.

                                                      now that i think about it, when my daughter worked at abercrombie (sp?) kids, she was treated much like a server, with no chance of getting benefits or full time work. they had her on call too (much like some of the restaurants do with the servers) which made it practically impossible for her to fill in her hours by taking other jobs. also, to find out what hours they had scheduled her for, she had to physically go into the store.

                                                      all in all, after a short while, it became clear that she had been doing better financially by just being a babysitter for the local kids than by jumping through all the chain-store hoops.

                                                      i stand corrected.

                                                      1. re: westsidegal
                                                        rockandroller1 RE: westsidegal Feb 7, 2013 08:25 AM


                                                      2. re: rockandroller1
                                                        kurtt RE: rockandroller1 Feb 7, 2013 11:34 AM

                                                        I have a number of friends that work in retail and make huge commissions. They make a decent base salary but once the hit sales goals, $250k for example the commission percentage increases. They often clear over $100k a year.

                                            2. s
                                              sedimental RE: Meowzerz Jan 30, 2013 07:45 PM

                                              I don't.

                                              1. Meowzerz RE: Meowzerz Jan 30, 2013 07:46 PM

                                                Also my apologies for apparently re-hashing this topic. When I have a food or restaurant related thought I usually go straight to the boards without researching lol. Thanks for your input everybody.

                                                1. m
                                                  MonMauler RE: Meowzerz Jan 30, 2013 09:46 PM

                                                  I have more money than I could possibly spend, and I never tip on takeout.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: MonMauler
                                                    hyacinthgirl RE: MonMauler Jan 31, 2013 06:47 AM

                                                    That sounds dreadful, I'd be happy to help you if you'd like.

                                                    1. re: hyacinthgirl
                                                      Meowzerz RE: hyacinthgirl Jan 31, 2013 08:59 AM


                                                  2. g
                                                    gardencook RE: Meowzerz Jan 31, 2013 05:44 AM

                                                    I know these threads come around regularly and while some think it's a dead horse that is being beaten, it's always interesting to me to read these. Tipping, in my opinion, is about being fair and I try to be equitable to people in the food service industry.

                                                    But what about people in other service fields? How can we possibly tip every single person who is getting a sub-par wage for work rendered? I think about my friends at the library. They make barely above minimum wage... about $8/hr. Yet they are expected to fetch books, have knowledge of arcane and obscure facts, be a computer specialist and help you with Excel or setting up email, know the next book you ought to read because they are expected to know your personal preferences, work late and weekends on their feet for much longer than any server, carrying greater loads.. and yet we never tip the librarians.

                                                    Put it in perspective... someone getting together an order? They are not servers... they are getting a "fair" (by gov't standards) wage. If we tip them, shouldn't we tip anyone who is in a customer service position? Or only those that we estimate make less than us?

                                                    Disclaimer: We don't get takeout... ever. So...

                                                    8 Replies
                                                    1. re: gardencook
                                                      ChristinaMason RE: gardencook Jan 31, 2013 07:06 AM

                                                      <. someone getting together an order? They are not servers... they are getting a "fair" (by gov't standards) wage>

                                                      This is not a fair assumption. In many places, especially informal bars and restaurants or any place that doesn't have a host, it is usually a server or bartender taking the order and making sure it gets bagged up properly with all the condiments, cutlery, napkins, etc. a person needs. Don't assume that just because it comes out of a back area, a person working the line put it all together, not the server handing over your order. And the point remains that that person had to turn their back on other customers, perhaps more than momentarily, to take care of you.

                                                      1. re: ChristinaMason
                                                        gardencook RE: ChristinaMason Jan 31, 2013 07:45 AM

                                                        I was a server for a long time. There is still a minimal amount of work that is expected in spite of that measly wage. Back-of-house work and bagging take-out were part of those general duties. I was still making more per hour than I ever have as a professional. Take-out takes up just moments of a server's time if even the server is doing the work, which they usually aren't. Imagine tipping someone even $5 for the 3 minutes they take to deal with bagging that up and getting utensils. That's $100/hr. and most people don't make that much in any profession, so it's not like you are "stiffing" them. You have to be pragmatic about these things and I think tipping can get extreme in the food service industry... usually because there are people making others feel bad by accusing them of being "cheap". Nope. People need to be reasonable.

                                                        1. re: gardencook
                                                          ChristinaMason RE: gardencook Jan 31, 2013 08:01 AM

                                                          I don't think anyone here has called or implied that anyone else was "cheap". The OP asked for opinions, and we shared them. And if you're making less as a professional than you ever made serving, well, you might need to consider a new job. It's a decent living but very few are raking it in unless they are being paid under the table, and working massive overtime.

                                                          1. re: ChristinaMason
                                                            gardencook RE: ChristinaMason Jan 31, 2013 08:35 AM

                                                            < ChristinaMason
                                                            I don't think anyone here has called or implied that anyone else was "cheap". The OP asked for opinions, and we shared them. And if you're making less as a professional than you ever made serving, well, you might need to consider a new job. It's a decent living but very few are raking it in unless they are being paid under the table, and working massive overtime.

                                                            It *is* implied. Unfortunately. Play nice and dispense with the personal jabs.

                                                            1. re: gardencook
                                                              ChristinaMason RE: gardencook Jan 31, 2013 09:06 AM

                                                              Sorry, didn't mean to offend so much as point out this attitude I hear from people, most of whom have never worked in the service industry, that waiters and bartenders are rolling in money. There are a rare few who can manage to pull in $30-$40/hr., pre-tax, but they are really not the norm at all. It's not generally a viable living, although it is a source of quick cash, which I think explains why you often find people trying to get a start in their career in other industries moonlighting in the service industry. It's rare to find someone who has made a career out of it for the long-term because the hours, income, and physical strain are just not sustainable.

                                                              I think my other comments in this thread have been pretty careful not to pass value judgment on people who choose not to tip on takeout. I've explained what may be the server's perspective, and my opinion as someone who tries to be mindful of those who take care of me in small ways. If you or anyone feels guilty or judged, that's a product of your own conscience or a self-induced defensive response maybe coming from behaving outside the norm.

                                                              As far as I'm concerned, it's OK that we don't all do the same thing and don't agree. The OP wanted opinions, after all. The problem I have is when people dig in their heels so hard in this discussion that it becomes a shouting match.

                                                              1. re: ChristinaMason
                                                                pollymerase RE: ChristinaMason Feb 6, 2013 02:09 PM

                                                                You don't seem to mean it offensively, but many people certainly state their opinions in a means to inflict implication and shame. In fact, just a few responses below someone says that 'they can't stand cheapskatedness' and another person sarcastically refers to someone who doesn't tip as a 'highroller'. I'm not trying to 'call you out' or make you feel bad, I'm just trying to explain that people often imply things here.

                                                                That aside, I'm curious what your opinion is on a place that strictly does counter service (like what is described in the OP). In this case there are likely only a few people working and the cook may be taking orders/ringing up food. There are no servers because there are no tables to serve. Having known people who work in this type of position, they receive minimum wage (although, I'm sure there are exceptions), so the logic that the server is going to be taxed on sales where they receive no tip does not seem to be valid.

                                                                I agree with you that if it is a nicer restaurant where a server or bartender is neglecting their customers and/or their sales may be adversely affected that a some sort of tip is warranted, but I have honestly never encountered a restaurant like that. I typically only get take out from a place where you approach the counter (sandwiches, Chinese) and either place your order and leave or pick up an order you called in ahead of time (pizza). In those situations, I often see the cook prepare the food and then the counter person pick up the bag, turn, and hand it to me. While I am not saying that a tip isn't warranted, I'm also saying that I completely understand how this is no different than going to Five Guys, Chipotle, McDonalds, etc.

                                                                1. re: pollymerase
                                                                  ChristinaMason RE: pollymerase Feb 6, 2013 04:36 PM

                                                                  My personal feeling is that when it's a regular server earning a tipped-employee minimum wage and not a regular minimum wage, they definitely get a tip. If the service is coming from someone such as a Starbucks barista or a Chinese carryout-only cashier, the tip is less necessary, but I'm likely to toss a buck or some spare change their way. It's not always so easy to tell--there are gray areas, as this discussion illustrates, and I figure, when I can tip, I do. Karma and all.

                                                          2. re: gardencook
                                                            rockandroller1 RE: gardencook Jan 31, 2013 10:19 AM

                                                            Agree about the myriad "other" duties for which you make the lowered hourly wage and aren't receiving tips. I think it makes sense to roll putting a styrofoam container into a bag in that category.

                                                            I actually can't recall a place I've gotten takeout where a server with tables actually gets your order and rings it up and you pay them. But I live in a barely mid-sized city, so YMMV. Only hosts/hostesses or bartenders, or a dedicated "to go" person who does not have tables.

                                                      2. Kat RE: Meowzerz Jan 31, 2013 07:13 AM

                                                        I usually don't. What's more, I now draw an X through the space for a gratuity on the slip if I use a credit or debit card. I never did that before, but a few years ago someone at the pizza place we used to visit wrote a nice tip in for him/herself and altered the total. Sometimes, however, if they have a tip cup out, I put in the change from my order.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Kat
                                                          westsidegal RE: Kat Feb 2, 2013 10:51 PM

                                                          really high roller there.

                                                        2. fldhkybnva RE: Meowzerz Jan 31, 2013 10:35 AM

                                                          Not me. If I paid with cash I might have left something in a jar sometime in the past but can't remember any particular instance and usually use a card and leave the tip line blank.

                                                          1. olyolyy RE: Meowzerz Jan 31, 2013 12:55 PM

                                                            I refuse to give someone money for simply supplying me with an item I purchased such as food or a beverage. There are rare exceptions such as if they engage my baby and give a treat, toy, sticker, etc which goes above and beyond the usual transaction.

                                                            1. Jay F RE: Meowzerz Jan 31, 2013 04:05 PM

                                                              If I actually ate takeout, I would tip on it. It takes the waiter right out of other things he has to do, so it calls for a tip.

                                                              6 Replies
                                                              1. re: Jay F
                                                                fldhkybnva RE: Jay F Jan 31, 2013 04:13 PM

                                                                Does it matter if it's a place that just does takeout?

                                                                1. re: fldhkybnva
                                                                  Jay F RE: fldhkybnva Jan 31, 2013 04:16 PM

                                                                  I would still tip, yes. I can't stand cheapskateism.

                                                                  1. re: Jay F
                                                                    fldhkybnva RE: Jay F Jan 31, 2013 04:27 PM

                                                                    Not sure I'd label it that but we are all entitled to our opinions. I also don't do much take out but we do some delivery and always tip which I think is pretty standard.

                                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva
                                                                      Jay F RE: fldhkybnva Jan 31, 2013 04:58 PM

                                                                      Oh, for delivery you have to tip. You think the restaurant's paying for their gas, car maintenance, etc.?

                                                                      I've had friends who've delivered pizza, and they've told me they do pretty well, that it's probably better than waiting tables.

                                                                      1. re: Jay F
                                                                        fldhkybnva RE: Jay F Jan 31, 2013 05:23 PM

                                                                        Well, yea I was just mentioning it in contrast as I feel like that's much less debated. I am the most notorious delivery over-tipper but then I get to know the delivery guy pretty well :)

                                                                        1. re: Jay F
                                                                          westsidegal RE: Jay F Feb 2, 2013 10:29 PM

                                                                          you can only do well in delivery if your car is economical and doesn't break down.
                                                                          a few repairs involving a transmission or the engine would wipe you out.

                                                                          many of the servers i know don't make enough money to support a car at all, so delivery is out of the question.

                                                                          the car hurdle is made all that more difficult because in my state you are REQUIRED to show that you have auto insurance too, so it's not just the expense of running the car. some insurance companies charge more if you use your car for work. if you lie to the insurance company and you get in an accident, you will not be covered and the company will claim that you obtained your coverage fraudulently.

                                                                2. p
                                                                  Pwmfan RE: Meowzerz Feb 1, 2013 08:10 AM

                                                                  After years of struggling with this I've come up with my own formula:

                                                                  Mom and pop places/independents - always.
                                                                  Chains - usually not.

                                                                  I'm sure there are arguments to be made for and against my solution but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.........

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Pwmfan
                                                                    fldhkybnva RE: Pwmfan Feb 1, 2013 09:51 AM

                                                                    It's interesting you mention your formula. I am similar with delivery tipping. The local Chinese food place which I know is owned by a small family with the cutest 13 year old girl who often answers the phone and lives upstairs of the restaurant with 1 delivery guy usually get a bigger tip than the Domino's pizza delivery guy. Perhaps I should stop doing that...

                                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva
                                                                      Pwmfan RE: fldhkybnva Feb 1, 2013 10:29 AM

                                                                      I haven't had much delivery experience; although I live in a first ring suburb there is vitually no delivery service offered (outside of afew pizza chains and they have problems finding my house (???). I will tip generously for delivery if and when I have the opportunity but in the meantime it's get my butt up off the couch and drive.

                                                                  2. h
                                                                    Harters RE: Meowzerz Feb 2, 2013 10:49 AM

                                                                    I suppose it all depends on whatever is the cultural norm where you are in the world. Where I am, it wouldn't cross anyone's mind to even consider tipping for takeout.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Harters
                                                                      Karl S RE: Harters Feb 2, 2013 10:55 AM

                                                                      I would say here that it might happen for full-service restaurants that have servers handling take-out orders. But not for pizzerias, sub-shops, and other more take-out oriented places (East Asian, Southeast Asian, South Asian, kebab shops, Mexican/Central American, et cet.) that don't have full table service with waitstaff making below minimum wage, but are treated for that purpose like any fast-food joint. It's a commonsense approach, as tips are really designed to address the structure of sub-minimum wage employment of waitstaff.

                                                                      One problem on threads like this is that "take out" is equivocal: some Hounds live in areas (classically, Manhattan) where people do frequently order take-out from full-service restaurants, whereas I suspect the bulk of Hounds do not live in areas where that is as common. The first group will tend to treat failure to tip as a problem, while the second group will tend to scratch its collective head.

                                                                    2. PotatoHouse RE: Meowzerz Feb 2, 2013 12:38 PM

                                                                      I tip 10-15% on takeout.

                                                                      1. westsidegal RE: Meowzerz Feb 2, 2013 10:15 PM

                                                                        i always leave a tip, but generally only a few dollars instead of 20% on the total bill.

                                                                        because i have had roommates who were servers, i don't assume that the counter people are paid enough to compensate for the fact that people, for the most part, do not tip them.
                                                                        also, i know for sure, that the servers in some restaurants are forced to do some counter duty--there is not a separate, higher, pay grade for counter people.

                                                                        when i worked in a law office and would pick up take out lunch for everyone in the office, a few of the rich, cheap attorneys wouldn't necessarily throw in money for a tip. i just took it out of my own pocket.

                                                                        i refused to be an accessory to their bad behavior

                                                                        1. m
                                                                          MysticYoYo RE: Meowzerz Feb 2, 2013 10:25 PM

                                                                          Take out at McDonald's? No. Take out at Carrabbas? Usually a couple of bucks.

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: MysticYoYo
                                                                            JerkPork RE: MysticYoYo Feb 6, 2013 08:38 AM

                                                                            GH1618 got it right. It depends. I'm not going to tip the owner or the manager on take out, maybe a couple of dollars if it's a waiter taking the order. I worked in the industry 20 years ago and occasionally would have take out orders, guess what? I didn't expect to be tipped and probably wasn't, for the most part.

                                                                            The industry was great to me, and going off topic we didn't expect 20-25% for sit down service like the industry expects today. 12-15% was more than enough for us and if you received 10%, well you were grateful even for that. IMO it is getting a tad ridiculous with the expected 20%.

                                                                            1. re: JerkPork
                                                                              latindancer RE: JerkPork Feb 6, 2013 05:39 PM

                                                                              I'd tip you big just for your attitude & humility alone :).

                                                                          2. s
                                                                            Sal Vanilla RE: Meowzerz Feb 7, 2013 01:21 PM

                                                                            I tip on takeout. Especially if there is work involved like salads, condiments, dressing the food, special wrapping to keep things from oozing out or going from crunchy to goo or if the order is large.

                                                                            If I pick up a pizza, I generally don't tip. The kitchen boxes it. I don't pay for a bill tally.

                                                                            1. Midlife RE: Meowzerz Aug 1, 2013 05:32 PM

                                                                              Hard to believe it's been 6 months since the last post on this topic. Actually GREAT, since this gets beaten to death every 6 months or so.

                                                                              I just saw this today and, thought it can't be verified as being THE Drew Brees (NO Saints QB)............. it does suggest that hounds have lots of company in this debate:


                                                                              1. Atomic76 RE: Meowzerz Aug 4, 2013 07:38 PM

                                                                                I don't tip on takeout, and I think the tip jars on the counter at takeout places is kind of obnoxious. I'm the one that got in my car and drove over to pick up the food, what would I be tipping for?

                                                                                The tip line on the receipt is probably just a standard thing in their register, it doesn't necessarily mean that you have to fill in a tip.

                                                                                1. l
                                                                                  lovelornacid RE: Meowzerz Mar 4, 2014 09:50 PM

                                                                                  I work as a to-go specialist at Olive Garden and here is a crazy reality check.....we do way more than just put your food in a bag. We are making salads, prepping desserts, running food for servers, stocking the restaurant, doing end of day cash reports, checking servers out of the system, charging employee meals, answering all phones, being the managers secretary, setting up the salad bar, helping out the host team with seating, assigning servers sidework, sometimes having to pick up tables if it is too busy and helping out the kitchen with other duties. My job is no joke the hardest job there besides managing. The servers have it made. They come in and work a shift half as long as mine and leave with double the money I make and on top of that I'm actually doing more work then they are. I used to never tip on take out orders but now that I am working as a to-go specialist I always leave something...should it be 15-20 percent? No, but a couple extra bucks is nice, catering orders though should be 15 to 20 percent cause we are the ones baking and collecting your 14 dozen breadsticks and making the giant salads all the while still doing everything else that I listed above. A couple bucks or even a buck on a small order helps a lot. I'm not sure how other restaurants run their to-go's or even if they do or don't have to do all the things we have to do at our restaurant chain but I tip anyway because if they even deal with half the stuff I have to deal with I feel for them.Oh and as far as sandwich places go, I think tipping is definitely necessary. I mean they are making your sandwich while you bitch at them and are only getting minimum wage for it

                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: lovelornacid
                                                                                    rockandroller1 RE: lovelornacid Mar 5, 2014 06:50 AM

                                                                                    What you didn't say, and I assume it's the same at OG as other places that have a "to-go" specialist, is whether or not you are making minimum wage while you are working as the to-go person. PLENTY of people work "very hard" at their job who make minimum wage. I've worked at least a dozen different types of jobs, from retail to security to customer service, that were very, very hard jobs and involved a ton of running around, but they paid at minimum wage and nobody would think of tipping the sales clerk at Dillard's for searching in the back for 100 different types of bridal shower gifts or whatever. You don't tip someone because they work hard. Chefs work very hard, nobody tips them. So do prep cooks and the dish dog. The tip is to make up income for someone who is being paid less than minimum wage, as it's expected the public will make up the rest of that wage. If you are getting at least minimum as the to-go specialist (and I know they get at least that at most chain places, though I can't speak to OG in particular as I didn't work there in my restaurant days), then no tip should be expected.

                                                                                    1. re: rockandroller1
                                                                                      Midlife RE: rockandroller1 Mar 5, 2014 07:52 AM

                                                                                      I agree with your thoughts on this except that, in California (where I live) restaurant employees earn minimum wage. I tip for takeout anyway, partly because I know what the cost of living is around here.

                                                                                      1. re: Midlife
                                                                                        rockandroller1 RE: Midlife Mar 5, 2014 10:36 AM

                                                                                        Sure, I think there are a couple of states that are the exception. I just think there's a difference between "expected to tip to make up their lowered wages" and "oh, I felt like throwing them some extra money because I feel like it and can afford to," and I think that should be clear. Rewards for "working hard" is not the reason tips are expected as part of someone's income, or you would be tipping a whole lot of people all day long.

                                                                                        1. re: rockandroller1
                                                                                          Midlife RE: rockandroller1 Mar 5, 2014 11:21 AM

                                                                                          "oh, I felt like throwing them some extra money because I feel like it and can afford to,"

                                                                                          Yes, but In fairness, that's not the reason I tip or that I feel most 'tipping' posters here do. It's because we feel we've received a service worthy of a some compensation.

                                                                                          1. re: Midlife
                                                                                            grampart RE: Midlife Mar 5, 2014 11:35 AM

                                                                                            We've been conditioned so that when a tip jar is stuck in our face we feel compelled to put something in it. Take away the jar and see how many tip because they think they received "worthy" service.

                                                                                            1. re: grampart
                                                                                              Midlife RE: grampart Mar 5, 2014 11:46 AM

                                                                                              I wouldn't disagree with that, but that doesn't (IMHO) make it right to not tip when you feel it's appropriate. I work in a small wine bar and we feel that a tip jar is not the image to project. Some cash customers don't tip at all there. Some leave cash on the bar or table. Credit card users vary too. It's all part if the biz.

                                                                                            2. re: Midlife
                                                                                              rockandroller1 RE: Midlife Mar 5, 2014 12:40 PM

                                                                                              "We feel we've received a service worthy of a some compensation." = "I feel like it," at least, that's how I intended it to read.

                                                                                    Show Hidden Posts