Thursday, February 07, 2008

To tip, or not to tip? Let's discuss

A series of recent events yesterday, two events actually, prompted me to ponder the following question: when picking up food for takeout from a full-service restaurant, do you leave a tip?

The two events that led me to ponder this question are Frank Bruni's Diner's Journal post on Tipping on Wine and my pickup of dinner last night at a local Italian restaurant. Since the credit card processing is the same for dining in and taking out, the slip has a line for a tip.

When you pickup food at a restaurant for takeout, do you leave a tip? I don't, and here's why. The staff at the restaurant that are responsible for taking the order, preparing the order, and cashing you out when you pick up the order are all making an hourly wage or salary. They are not working for tips like the wait staff are, so therefore I don't leave a tip. I'll add that I am a very generous tipper when dining in, usually leaving 20% unless the service is really awful.

What do you think? Do you tip on takeout orders? Leave a comment and let's discuss.


  1. It depends for me but usually I will leave a nominal tip. I assume they still have to deal with normal customer bullshit and get my order right so I'll leave a couple bucks.

  2. I don't tip on takeout, nor do I expect a lower price on the food because I'm doing the work of picking it up. I am also a generous tipper when I eat in the restaurant.

  3. Im with you, food guy. I have never, nor do I currently tip for take out. The waitstaff is paid with the consideration that they will be tipped, I dont think its the same deal for the guy behind the counter.
    I also feel like if I was to leave a tip, it would be no where near my standard starting point of 20%, and I would feel almost guilty being so cheap!

  4. I have left a tip for take out (pizza) for asking them to help me bring it out to my car since I am carrying my son and cant manage to carry both. However, under other circumstances (w/o baby), I don't tip for take out like Chinese.

  5. You tip. Not 20%, but throw them a couple of bucks. I wouldn't assume that all of the people helping with your order are paid a normal hourly wage - when I was a server, we definitely helped with take out orders.

  6. Whoah! I worked at Outback Steakhouse for 2 years. For a time, I worked in take-out. We take the orders, send them to the kitchen, package them along with any special requests, etc.... and we made the same as servers. $2.50 an hour, I think? It doesn't make sense that a customer would have to tip by not really being "served", but we have to make a living too!

  7. Hi Jay, they do have to get your order right, but I guarantee the kitchen staff and/or servers that may be involved in the transaction will never see the tip.

    Hi Lydia, I would never expect a lower price for picking it up.

    Hi Kristen, you're right. The person answering the phone, usually the manager or someone else who works in the front of the house not working for tips, is just that, not working for tips.

    Hi Anon, for something extra like help out to the car, sure, that's worthy of a tip, definitely.

    Hi arimcg, I too worked in restaurants as a server, for 5 years, and I too helped with take out orders frequently. But you know what, I never saw a dime of any tip that may have been left, and I bet you didn't either.

    Hi Ashley, I find it very hard to believe that the restaurant took you off the service floor and still only paid you $2.50 an hour. If they did, you were robbed. There is NO way you would be able to make a fraction of the tips that the dining room servers make if you were only handling take out orders.

    All - please follow up, I like the discussion here.

  8. That's why I recently quit!

    It is true, though. I've heard it's recommended that you tip 10%. Totally unfair, but... ;)