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Do You Need To Tip When Getting Take Out?

How common is it to tip when getting take out food? We usually get take out because we cannot afford the cost of tipping the server. I was disappointed when a friend that works as a hostess told me that I should be tipping her when I get take out because she is the one who is getting the order together and bagged.


I have never tipped for take out before and I'm wondering if I'm out of the loop or if she's out of line. I have been avoiding the restaurant where she works as a result and I'm sure the establishment would not want that. I don't want to appear cheap but I've never heard this before.

Karen from Easthampton, MA

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By Thrifty1 (Guest Post)
July 2, 20080 found this helpful

When picking up food, I generally do not tip. While they may get the order together, they do a lot less then if they were waiting on me in the restaurant.

I guess a middle ground would be a dollar or two tip, which is similar to what I leave when eating at a buffett. The waiter/waitress isn't bringing food, but does check on drinks.

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By Shellee (Guest Post)
July 2, 20080 found this helpful

As someone who relied on tips when I did to-go orders for a restaurant, it is customary and courteous to leave a bit of a tip for the person who put your order together, but not 15-20% of the bill - a dollar or two is sufficient, unless the order is huge, then a fiver would be nice!

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By Diane (Guest Post)
July 2, 20080 found this helpful

Well she is doing her job and will get a pay check for it. If you are going to go through the trouble of using your gas and time to pick it up then why would you have to tip? Do we tip at fast food drive thrus or even inside? They take our order bag our food and take our money and will get a pay check for doing so.


I say if your picking it up don't tip, if you are sitting down at the resturant and someone is taking care of you properly or have it delivered then you should tip. Everyone wants more for doing less these days.

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July 2, 20080 found this helpful

You do not need to leave a tip,
Its an option to you only if you feel you was served exceptionally well, This tipping business has been blown way out of proportioned. The waitress's are paid all ready by the establishment they work at, More and more Restaurants are not giving the tips to the waitress's anyways, Most all take at least half before the waitress's even get to see any. Some take it all, Very few, and I do mean very few give all to the waitress's, and then also, the waitress you give it too, does not mean she gets it, It goes to a jar and is split up between all the waitress's, This is one reason I refuse to leave any tips to any waitress anymore, no matter how good of service they may give me, If I give a tip to a waitrress that served me, then Its hers!


No one elses! I DID not give it to the other waitress's or the establishment! But greed sticks its ugly head in the mix,,,... I worked at a restaurant for yrs. and I DON"T agree with the way tipping is set up!
I have seen waitress work above and beyond her duty as a waitress to her customers, and others that well lets just say "don't deserve any tips, It's the pleasant waitress that goes beyond her call that pulls in the big tips, Others get no tips period, (I seen this many times" But instead of being more curtious and attentive to your customer, they bitch about the nice waitress's hugh tips, so the establishment created the weekly bottle routine, Its just not right, but thats what you get in this day and age, were ruled by the greed of money

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July 2, 20080 found this helpful

I do agree with a dollar or two when you pick it up, however the first posting needs to re-think her position. My cousin worked as a server and told me she just received a wage increase from $3.14 an hour to $3.16 an hour. She obviously has to rely on tips to make a living.

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By Kathryn Hamilton (Guest Post)
July 4, 20080 found this helpful

I am not wealthy, but I tip about 10% for takeout, the wait person has to pack this food up, gather condiments, etc., take care of you. Not full service, but they don't get paid typically minimum wages. They are also expected to "prep" restaurant areas for no money, no money added to their salaries or tips for that either, so 10% is reasonable for takeout from say Applebees, etc. I always tip 18-20% at any sit down place just feel that instead of giving to tons of charities, (I have my few that I do this to on a budgeted quarterly basis) why not give generously when service is good at a restaurant or where you are receiving services for hair care, etc., give to working people who are "working hard for the money"


Yes, tip also, if you stay in a hotel it is appropriate to tip (depending on swankiness size of room), Hampton Inn type, 3.00 per day for housekeeper who is the maid who cleans your room. Leave her a note to let her know the tip is hers and say thanks. Often I have received "extras " hair bath goodies, etc but that is not why I do this. It is to thank the person (who again is making a slave wage) for taking good care of me. If the hotel is more of a Marriott or Hyatt etc I leave $5 per day for my room housekeeper. If that means I have to cut back a little somewhere.

I also tip 1.00 per bag and 1.00 for me at the shuttle from the airport parking lot "way back there" to the terminal and on shuttles to hotels I tip $3.00-$5 if I have not had to take a cab. 15% -20% for cabs.

My cat sitter gets an extra days wage at Christmas in addition to a small gift and same with hairdresser,etc.

My family dr who takes good care of me (and their staff) are remembered on DRs day March 30 (my female neuro gets flowers and my male Fam dr gets a something like Barnes and Nobels $25 gift certificate). The and nurses and admin prof during their weeks (I typically give the ladies a small 7-11 card, nothing like a few gallons of gasoline and they can use the card for coffee and fuel, etc., practical gifts).


I think it is important to really take care of the folks who make your life more livable and enjoyable. I do not "throw money around" but also I am aware that good service begats more good service and business friendships are important (you meet people coming up and down the ladder).

My husband stays at same hotel in Wash on business every other week. They know him, give him an upgrade, etc. at Xmas, I make sure the desk manager, the bar tender (they know us by name) gets a $50 tip for the year.

Just some of the important people in our lives that help me and my family, yes, give your child's day care worker a little gift (people over give to their kids but give little often to the people who take care of them all day long) a small gift card (when a worker least expects it). It will buy you more than you know in friendship and so forth. It is one thing to remember friends at holidays, but the folks that are really helpful to you in daily life are those who care of you, your family, your grandmother at the nursing home, etc day in and day out. Thanks. Kathryn in VA

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July 5, 20080 found this helpful

I do not feel you should even have nerve to ask for a tip for take out. Yes, they are servicing you by putting together your order but you have to do the driving to pick it up. They are not cleaning up after you, etc. What on earth are they being paid for on the job? They do make a wage. I work at a job and have to clean up after clients and do not get a tip nor expect one. I have to serve coffee, bring them a magazine to read and clean up the ones they leave laying around, etc. That is part of the minimum wage job I have.


I think people expect too many tips. I even feel in a restaurant that no tip should be given if you just get what your ordered - no repeat coffee or drink refill, no extra kindness, etc. However, we are made to believe we have to tip so I do. I just think it is overboard. I feel the prices at the restaurants are so high that the employers need to be the ones hounded to give the workers a better wage and require them to give excellent service and not expect a tip. If you keep adding up all the tips, you will have to get yourself another job to use any service.

Do you tip the car mechanic? Do you tip the pharmacist? All these people are servicing you. They took the job to do this. Their employer should be the one giving them a good wage to encourage good service to attract customers.

Even at a hair salon these days it gets crazy. The stylists EXPECT a big tip for 1/2 hour to 1 1/2 hour of service where you pay $$$ and often do not get what you pay for to begin with. If you don't tip them what they feel is good, they can refuse servicing you. They make at least 1/2 of what the charge is so I do not feel you need to give a big tip for that service either. Yet, if you do not, you may be talked about in that place of business after you leave.

Think about it - we don't tip the nurse who helped get us prepared for the doctor. She actually does all the preliminary tests, etc. and he/she comes in to see you for 5 minutes or less. We don't tip the florist who puts together the floral arrangement you order -- all these people get a wage -- often minimum and you do not tip them. So why would we even think to tip a carry out order person? Crazy world.

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By Kelly (Guest Post)
July 6, 20080 found this helpful

Okay I have been on both side so I can speak from experience. You absolutely should tip and here is why.
The only difference is she isn't serving you for an hour, instead she is serving you, for your convenience, as a to go order. Her service to you is just for YOU!

Also, many waitresses are stiffed regularly and it is good to help make up for that. Waitress are not paid minimum wage, not a true waitress, anyway. NEVER SEEN IT! Period. I made 2.16 and hour while showing up 2 hours early to prep your condiments for the meals. To go orders as well. Whether you sit and eat or choose to do take out, YOU ARE DRIVING! I find it ridiculous to use that as an excuse. It's your choice to get take out so suck it up.

Most restaurants do split tips, but not in half or anything. I've only seen the Japanese steak houses do this. It is common to tip out other parts of the staff. Such as the bus boy who buses my table, or bartender who makes your drink or hostess who seats you. They normally get 1% of your tips..tiny amount, but its a way of saying thank you. Maybe we should try this too.

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July 8, 20080 found this helpful

Don't get me started on tipping. I'm sure I am in the minority here when I say, I tip but many times I do it reluctantly and it's because I feel I am being nickled and dimed to death. You pay a pretty penny for a meal out and then what, you are expected to pay extra because the restaurant pays such chinzy wages. Hey, I've done plenty of jobs and no one ever tipped me for the good job I did. I got educated and experience to do jobs that paid me enough. If someone is just doing their job and doing what their employer is paying them for, I do not see the need for them to make something extra. Everyone has their hand out these days tho!

Tipping seems to be something done in this country. I don't know how it is around the world but we've been to Russia twice when adopting our children and tipping is just not done there. Russians do not tip each other. We did some tipping for special people because we know how hard they work and they are so poor, you'd have thought we'd given them a million bucks. They were so appreciative/grateful but never ever had hands out expecting to be tipped.

I wonder who ever thought of tipping in the first place?

Oh and I have never tipped for a take out meal. Although most take out meals we've gotten at places that are strictly take out such as our local Chinese restaurant. I've watched others picking up their bags and never saw a one give something extra over what the bill comes to.

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July 8, 20080 found this helpful

I work at a locally owned Pizza Shop. I never really thought about tipping the inside staff before working there. Our drivers get good tips. We are lucky to split a couple of dollars. You wouldn't have the food without us and we do work very hard to give you the very best food and service. We may not be waiting tables but we are still giving everything you ask for. If you would just throw in a buck or your loose change it is very much appreciated because we live off of our pay. The tips are just our little extra.
Karen Port Clinton OH

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July 8, 20080 found this helpful

No one should expect a tip! I have worked as a hostess and waitress when I was very young and a hairstylist for thirty years thereafter and never expected a tip! A tip is for a job well done to show appreciation!

When I have 'sit down' restaurant service I do tip based on the quality of service because generally, in most states, wait persons are paid a lower than minimum wage because it is assumed the wage difference will be made up for from the tips. However, I do not feel a bit guilty to leave a dime if I received rude or sub-standard service because that makes a point that the person needs to give decent service and not just be taking the order and flopping the plates on the table!

Your friend is way out of line for chiding you about tipping a hostess! A hostess' job is to greet, hand out a to-go order and say thank you and is paid accordingly! If a hostess goes above and beyond for you as a customer then maybe a tip from the heart would be in order but should never be expected!

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July 8, 20080 found this helpful

I'm a fairly generous tipper when dining in, usually 20% of the total after tax is added. I simply won't tip for carry-out, though. It usually looks to me like the order is packaged up in the kitchen, and often run to the register by someone who's not a server. I presume those people are either getting paid more than server wage, or perhaps are getting a split portion of the server's tips, like some bussers do.

In a restaurant where I eat in, order at the counter and fix my own drink, I'll leave a couple dollars. Same for the Chinese buffets where the server brings drinks and clears used dishes.

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July 8, 20080 found this helpful

I go to Drive-Thru's on a regular basis. I never used to tip there until noticing someone ahead of me do it. Considering that people in McJobs tend to be struggling to get by and maybe get ahead I realized I was amiss. Women and men my own age, still working to survive and always smiling. Now I always tip at the window and enjoy some reactions of astonishment when they realize it's a tip. It isn't hard to pick out their first time and the pleasure is mine for two quarters.
(I would not tip at 'grabby' set-ups.)

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July 8, 20080 found this helpful

The only time we tip (other than when we dine inside the restaurant) is when we use the "curbside service" for take-out, which is when they bring your order out to your car.

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July 8, 20080 found this helpful

Here in MS, the person who puts the order together is charged with that sale which means they have the sales tax (8%) stuck in the allocated tips section of their W-2 . This 8% is supposed to bring their wages up to the minimum wage. Who can live on that? Notice in the places you go if there is a lot of turnover in that position.

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July 9, 20080 found this helpful

I am trying to remember when tipping for fast food and/or take out became the norm and/or even expected. Fast food/take out is very different from dining in as it requires a lot more work, skill and knowledge!

I have worked my way up the ranks of the restaurant biz the past 40+ years and I do not believe in tipping for fast food/takeout! I find it an indignity to professional food service, expecting to be tipped for doing one's job in "fast food" or putting a take out order in a bag with a couple of condiments. And the final indignity is placing a jar on the counter and...asking for a tip! Something that is just not done by professionals! A tip is a "gratuity"...a gift! Never to be expected and never asked for! Fast food is not full service dining, employees go to work there knowing it is not a tipped position from the beginning. It is a starting point for people who may want to move up in the wonderful world of hospitality! I wouldn't tip my grocery store clerk for checking or bagging my food/takeout, no different.

That goes for tipping hostesses is just not done. Professional servers, work very, very, hard for the money they make. If a server gets "stiffed", I suggest taking a refresher course on food /customer service...I cannot remember the last time I was "stiffed"...I believe my guest always comes is my job to make their experience most enjoyable and to tend to their every need during the meal. As a result, I find the reward always acceptable.

Just a note: The acronym "TIPS" means "To Insure Proper Service". In some places in Europe it is even done before the meal..."To Insure Proper Service" throughout the course of the meal. Not for picking up a bag of hamburgers.

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By Andy (Guest Post)
July 15, 20080 found this helpful

I never tip for take out. The tipping at McDonald's surprised me, as I worked there years ago and were told that we were not allowed to accept tips from customers of any kind. Hmmm. I wonder if things have changed.

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By Parker (Guest Post)
July 17, 20080 found this helpful

Seriously. If you don't have enough money to give at least a 15% tip to your waiter, don't go out to eat. They make $2.30 an hour base and have to give 3-5% of sales to the host/bartender/bus. That means if you spend $30 on your food and only leave $2, he only gets $1.40 so even with 4 tables an hour, he is only making $8 an hour, before taxes!

Two dollars is not that much to add to a take-out order (which is not fast food) and if you have enough money to spend eating out you should EXPECT to give 15-25% depending on the service.

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January 12, 20120 found this helpful

People have mentioned the word customary which is only someone else's opinion. I usually tip in a sit down restaurant 15% but only when I get good service. Bad service, no tip. I've found as a single lady eating alone in a sit down restaurant more often than not the service is bad.

One time while eating breakfast in a restaurant people in tables around me were being served refills of coffee while I sit there being ignored until I spoke up. It's as if some think single women are lousy tippers. The more people sitting at a table the better service they get as if a single deserves less.

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