Do You Tip for Takeout?


My parents came over on Saturday to hang out with us for a bit. When dinner time approached we decided to order from a chain restaurant that is just a few minutes away from my home.

I logged onto the restaurant’s website and placed my order, which included a meal for each of us, four in total. The meals were relatively straight forward, no ridiculous instructions or special details.

When I arrived at the restaurant the spaces for carry out were all occupied so I parked a few spaces away and walked inside. My order wasn’t ready yet, so I waited in a cramped little space until it was complete.

While I was waiting the cashier offered to let me pay in advance. I handed over a $5 coupon and two gift cards, which my parents generally used to pay for our meal.

As the cashier handed me the receipt she said, “make sure you fill out all three lines.” The three lines included tip, total and signature. I crossed out the line for tip, wrote in the total and signed it. When I handed it back the cashier was visibly disgruntled.

Had I called in my order or waited in my car for someone to bring it out to me I would have tipped, but given the fact that I ordered online and went inside to pick up my food I didn’t think a tip was necessary. The cashier clearly thought otherwise.

I know someone had to cook my order and bag it, but is that really worthy of requiring a tip? As I stood there waiting for my food I wondered if most people would tip in this circumstance.

Do you tip when ordering carry out? If you placed your order online and went inside to pick it up do you think you should be expected to tip?

11 thoughts on “Do You Tip for Takeout?”

  1. I checked with my husband (he’s a waiter). He said most people who order take-out don’t tip — anytime they do, he’s quite surprised. The way it works at his restaurant is that the servers have to take the take-out orders (keyed into the register like any other order) and carry them back to the kitchen and if the customer tips, it’s theirs. I guess it’s not that different from regular table service — the servers have no control over whose station the customer is seated in, and whether the customer tips or not is more or less “luck of the draw.” As his spouse, I will naturally favor anything that results in a tip … but as a customer I see your POV as well. Maybe adding a buck or two, or rounding out the total to the nearest $5 wouldn’t hurt … ?

  2. My daughter works at a rest with call ahead curbside service which also has sit down dinner service. She said she has never had anyone picking up food tip. It would be like tipping at the drive through of fast food according to her.

    I guess it depends on the place. But she said she would be totally shocked if she received a tip for carrying a bag of food to the customer who drove there.

  3. Every time I’m faced with this situation, I always wonder to tip or not to tip. I usually tip $1 when I go in for take out. Most of the time it’s because I feel obligated to, not because I actually want to.

    But, from the points above, I think I will stop that practice! Ha. Especially since there isn’t as much work involved in the take out process.

  4. I feel like this is a case of people expecting tips just for doing their basic job. Bagging the food is not going above and beyond–it’s called doing the job you’re paid to do. No, I don’t tip in this situation.

  5. I only tip for take out if it is a place I go to often – I get tacos to go at the same place every few weeks and it is always the same server, so I tip $2 on my $10 trio of tacos – sometimes I feel it’s overkill, but at the same time I’d feel like a jerk not tipping. I do the same at the pizza place on the corner, mainly because I know the guys really well (and they love me as once while dining it, I was paying while I had too much to drink, and accidentally tipped twice what we had paid – oops). But if it were a place I was just running into and went to rarely, like how it sounds your order was, I definitely wouldn’t have tipped, and the statement to fill out all three lines would have annoyed me to the point of not tipping even if I did normally tip for take out.

    PS – I was not driving the night I tipped $40 on a $20 pizza order. And now my husband will not let me pay if I’ve been drinking! šŸ™‚

  6. I wouldn’t have tipped. I tip if someone does something extra, like a waiter/waitress. I see so many places with counter service trying to get a tip through use of a tip jar or a line on the bill. Tipping seems to be overrated and over used these days.

  7. This is one of those cases where it’s important that you know your own state laws regarding minimum wage for wait staff. In Idaho it’s around $3.00 an HOUR. That’s right. The wait staff that is preparing your order is making $3.00 an HOUR. If you do not tip, you are effectively stealing from them, because the business and the federal and state government are all assuming you are GOING to tip them. They work there based on the idea that they will get tipped for providing a service.

    Some states do not have a lower minimum wage for wait staff. (Lower than the federal minimum wage). If you state does not have a lower minimum wage for wait staff than you probably don’t “need” to tip. But if you are using up 10 minutes of that persons time bagging up and preparing your order, then you should think about tipping if you are in one of those states that have a lower than minimum wage.


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