What Are The Rules For Tipping When You Order Take Out?

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  1. Late to this thread, but had to comment nonetheless.  Obviously those who have commented and our thoughtful Host, TheJackB, have not worked in food service.  I have.  Handling a “to go” order when you are a server on the floor with your own tables is a huge pain in the pa-toot.  It requires far more work than table service as we have to usually pack up your order, ensure all side dishes the cooks will not pack up, are included and pack those too.  We then have to put together all side items like salad dressings (which are not generally pre-packaged in a decent restaurant), condiments, napkins, tableware, etc., and get the drinks packaged up, if any.  Then we have to box it all up to ensure it travels well and does not turn into sludge on the floor or your car.  Usually, we are also waiting on tables while we are putting this all together.  Getting a “to go” order ready takes up a lot of time for which the server is NOT paid (in many states they are not paid minimum wage by their employer because it is calculated that their tips will allow them to meet or exceed this threshold).  Further, it causes you to provide less attentive service to the people who are leaving you tips and can even result in you giving up a table if the “to go” order is large.
    If the order is put together by the hostess, then no tipping is expected (but it certainly won’t be refused).  If, however, you notice a waitress or waiter has been “tapped” to put your order together then that server is also providing YOU a service, although not as personal as if you choose to sit your butt down.  So if you truly care about being fair, a 5% to 10% tip, depending upon the extensiveness of the order, is generally the unspoken rule and would be greatly appreciated by someone who did just wait on you without you even knowing it.  
    That’s probably why when you’ve picked up your “to go” orders, Jack, you’ve felt the pregnant pause of tip anticipation from the person handing you your order.  Frankly, unless your going through the drive-through lane of a fast food place, tip according to the service received.  lallaw

  2. ohjustjake I hadn’t thought about the chefs.

  3. thefishofgold Delivery or sit down service make sense to me. It is the walk up to take something out that I was wondering about. I always feel like they are waiting/hoping for me to add something to it.

  4. ohjustjake says

    Don’t feel guilty! Chefs get paid hourly, compared to servers getting half of that and then rely on tips. I never tip if I’m picking up food – if it’s delivered I tip, but otherwise, nope.

  5. thefishofgold says

    I tip for sit down service or delivery always. But I don’t tip when I walk up, order, pay and get my food at the counter. I never really thought about it before.

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