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Aug 1, 2013 06:01 AM

Takeout tipping

Drew Brees, the excellent NO Saints QB and poster boy for Nice Guy/Good Guy just got ripped by some waitperson's posting of a photo of his $3 tip on a $77 order; he has replied via Twitter that the order was takeout. I am always made uncomfortable by that damned tip jar at the register, or the tip line on the bill when I am taking out. If I'm sitting there for an hour being "waited on", I cheerfully tip 20%. But what's a tip got to do with some gal handing me the sack of food? Is there a Hound Rule Of Thumb?

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  1. first bad form on the wait staff..this whole public tipshamming leaves abad taste in my mouth..sort of like a if shop keeper blabbed a stars size all over town... disrection and privacy and class people...

    Second a food truck owner just fired a worker for tipshaming a customer... I think more managers should do the same

    Third... No one is entitled to a "tip" it is something extra provided for excellent service... annnnnny tip should be apprciated and no tip should ever be expected.

    1 Reply
    1. re: girloftheworld

      Most waiters, waitresses, and bartenders make less than $3 an hour. Tips are how they make their money. You should tip a minimum of 15% for average service, and 20+% for good to great service. If you don't wanna tip eat fast food or cook for yourself. Most people who have the, I don't need to tip, attitude are the most needy pain in the asses! If you regularly go to a place and don't tip you will find out what bad service is like! Not to mention you don't wanna tick off the person that handles your food!

    2. I'm always conscious that tipping cultures differ between nationalities. It would never occur to me to tip on take-away - not even at Christmas which is about the only time I see a tip jar. Even then, I regard it as taking the piss.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Harters

        Tipping in the US is not a cultural thing, it's part of the economics of restaurant dining. Waitpersons do not have to be paid minimum wage. So if you use my state (Illinois) as an example then minimum wage is $7.25 but minimum wage for tip-eligible persons is $4.95.

        At this very moment there are protests in Downtown Chicago for the "Fight for $15" movement to set a $15 minimum for fast-food workers. While this is unrealistic and unlikely to cause any meaningful change in pay it does reflect how low the pay scale is for foodservice workers in the US. At $4.95 an hour, that works out to about $10,000 a year, so without tips it's barely enough to cover transportation costs and a little more.

        Contrast that to many European countries where restaurant staff are paid a living wage and you'll start to understand the role tips play in the equation here.

        1. re: ferret

          Nobody is only making $4.95/hr. If you don't receive enough tips to bring you up to $7.25, your employer is required to make up the difference. Obviously, you would rather receive the full $7.25/hr from your employer in the first place, and receive tips on top of that, but this doesn't change the fact that no one is only earning $4.95/hr in Illinois.

          Which is not to say that $7.25/hr is such a great living, so by all means, tip appropriately, or even excessively, if it makes you feel good.

          1. re: DeppityDawg

            I didn't mean to imply that they were only taking home $4.95, obviously the remainder (and excess) will eventually be earned. But if your boss said "I'm only paying 60% of what I think you should be earning, make up the rest yourself" I'm pretty sure you'd be doing your best to angle for tips any way you can. Again, contrast that to workers in countries like Sweden where you're paid enough not to need tips to make a living wage. As for the minimum wage, as Chris Rock said, "when your boss is paying you minimum wage he's saying 'I'd pay you less but the law won't let me.'"

          2. re: ferret

            I believe I understand American law that minimum wage is not minium wage when it is applied to staff who get tips. That is certainly a cultural matter, IMO. I may find it difficult to understand but, hey, folk in countries foreign to me have their own ways of doing things.

            I also understand, therefore, the related cultural matter that customers are generally obligated (or feel obligated) to tip serving staff.

            However, this thread is about tipping for take-away, not tipping for table service. There are, clearly, cultural matters relevent here - otherwise the OP would not be posing the question. Even with my accepted limited understanding of American culture, I fail to see why a customer would feel obligated to tip for take-away.

            1. re: Harters

              There's take-away and then there's take-away and differentiating between the two certainly requires the exercise of a little common sense. If I walk into a shop that's essentially a take-away business then tipping is certainly not an obligation and I don't tip counter staff. On the other hand, I occasionally place a to-go order at my local sushi restaurant. It's a sit-down place that does not offer delivery. When I get my to-go order it's generally prepared for transport by one of the waitstaff who then transfers it into to-go containers, makes sure the box is packed well and properly balanced (the order easily tops $100 on the average) and also makes sure that the necessary add-ons are in the box. I never have a problem giving them a $10 for the courtesy.

              1. re: ferret

                I bristle at tipping 20% for takeaway at a dine-in restaurant, but have thought that 10% was fair. Is that your assessment as well ?

        2. "Some gal" made sure the order was right, put in the appropriate condiments, possibly packaged the food up...

          I would have tipped $10 on an order that size.

          5 Replies
          1. re: LeoLioness

            So far, you'all have made my point: three replies, three completely unlike approaches to Takeout Tipping: 1) Nahh, phooey; 2) a tip is for "excellent service" and is entirely voluntary and should be gratefully, not resentfully, accepted; 3) I would have tipped Ten Bucks (15%!) I wonder what LL would tip if that $77 bill had been dine-in, representing about ten trips to her table! As vs a glance into the bag to see if the croissants were included and hand it to me. PS: We don't want no hurt feelings here at the Hound Compound, so if the quotes around "some gal" is an expression of feminist grievance, pls know that I intended no disparagement of the counter-person, but only signaled that this was not a person, male or female, whom I knew personally and who regularly took good care of me, admonishing the chef to replace those dried-out looking ribs with some coming off the broiler just now....

            1. re: dickgrub

              Dickgrub - I'd just like to point out that the poster who answered "Nahh, phooey" does not live in the USA, and thus has a very different cultural and practical view of tipping.

            2. re: LeoLioness

              $10 for 2 minutes of work? Maybe 5 minutes?

              1. re: DeppityDawg

                Yes. And I tip a dollar for the bartender who takes the cap off my beer. I'm mad, I tell you, mad!

                1. re: LeoLioness

                  I'd be mad, too. ;) Seriously, bar tips are another matter entirely, and I often find myself cheerfully tipping my barman, who has a day job that pays more than my job, for pouring me a shot with an 800% markup. Madness, indeed…

            3. I've got to say I'm probably closer to Drew Brees, both in my athletic ability, good looks and charm as well my tipping habits. In a scenario like this I probably would have paid with 4 $20's and said "Keep the change". If I paid by debit/credit I would have probably just made it an even $5.

              I can't see tipping 15% for the level of service being provided.

              2 Replies
              1. re: jrvedivici

                "both in my athletic ability, good looks and charm."

                <snort laugh>

                Will you marry me, then?

                1. re: KrumTx

                  Krum, I'm so sorry to have taken so long to respond, I just noticed this now. Sadly I'm already taken! ;-)

              2. I tip about 10% on a carry out order at a sit down place. Somewhere where carry out is the only offering? Nope.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Hobbert

                  Same here. Around 10% tip on take-out at sit down place where the waitstaff are organizing the order. Fully take-out place or takeout counter with dedicated staff, no tip.

                  1. re: Hobbert

                    It occurred to me that I pretty much only get takeout from "real" sit-down restaurants, not strictly takeout places (I have that delivered). So maybe that colors my practice on tipping, the fact that I know it's a regular server who is packaging up my food, along with performing his/her regular serving duties.

                    1. re: LeoLioness

                      Yep, that's my outlook. It's not their main business and, as far as I can tell, a server is handling the carry out. So, yeah, I'm going to tip someone who made sure my order was correct, gave me the right utensils, packed it up so that it was secure, and, sometimes, even delivered it to my car. That takes time and while I don't think it deserves a 20% tip, I wouldn't skate off without tipping anything.