Do you tip at Sonic?

For those who are not familiar, Sonic is a drive-in fast food place where servers bring your food to your car. They serve excellent onion rings, tater tots, burgers and limeades among other items. MUCH better than Burger King or McDonald’s, by far.

When I stop by, I usually just get something small, like an order of tater tots or a limeade, usually not costing more than a dollar or two at the most. I feel silly giving the Sonic girl 10 or 20 cent tip, but I also feel bad NOT giving a tip. And, when the total is something like 1.94, I feel like it's an insult to tell them to keep the change, but I don't like the thought of adding another .25 or $.30 to my bill for fast food. So, when it comes down to it, sometimes I tip, and sometimes I don’t.

Just wondering what ya’ll do at these types of burger joints.

Always! those people work almost as hard as many other waitresses but they have to do it while dealing with the weather. I think they diserve to be tiped.

Yes, and they always seem suprised.

I’ll probably always tip at Sonic from now on. This year, my school orchestra has relied heavily on fundraising in order to go on a trip to South Padre Island and hold a spring banquet. Sonic provides groups with opportunities to have its members carhop on Saturdays, and the organization keeps all tips. Every small bit is appreciated.

Sonic is always getting my order wrong, so I stopped tipping!

My sister used to work at Sonic, and she thought you should tip there. Her reasoning: she was a waitress, carrying food out to the customer.

I’ve always disagreed with her. My reasoning: Most people don’t tip at McDonald’s, or other places where you order, get your food at the counter, and leave. Most people do at restaurants where you get service - the waiter will (should) check back on you, refill drinks, ask about dessert, see how your food was, and so forth. Sonic? They bring your food, they’re done with you. If they get the order wrong (and they frequently did at 2 of them I know of, like the vampire suggested), it’s like pulling teeth to get them back out there. More like McDonald’s than a restaurant; so no tips.

On the other hand, there was one Sonic (Hwy 6 near Beechnut in Houston) where they got the order right, corrected mistakes promptly, and even got used to seeing us and would bring out our standard soda order before we ordered. THEY got tips. Good service deserved it.

If I remember correctly (and it’s been many years), the pay was flat hourly, no tip deduction, which again, is more like fast food than restaurants, and seems to assume no tipping. (I could have that wrong, though, I’ll admit.)

I vote for tipping. Of course, I work in the tipping industry.
I figure if I have to walk over ten feet to bring you your order cause your’re too lazy assed to come and get it yourself I deserve to be compensated for my time.

Well, Krisfer, I’m pretty sure that if I got off my lazy ass to strut into a Sonic they would promtly ask me to leave since carhopping is one of the main things they are know for and customers are not supposed to go to the kitchen.
And you are being compensated for your time. It’s the paycheck you get at the end of the week.

So how much is a fair tip?? The standard 15% like other “restaurants”, or just a “keep the change” tip? Seems like 15% is a little steep for burgers and tater tots.

My cousin worked at Sonic for a while. She said that they didn’t really expect tips, as such, but that most people ended up leaving them the non-folding change. This adds up pretty fast on a busy night–say, 20 orders an hour and an average of a quarter from each one, and you have an extra $5/hr right there.

I avoid the issue altogether by going through the drive-thru. (Not that I eat at Sonic more than once or twice a year.)

Dr. J

Ah! A post that’s perfect for the man who can’t sleep. :smiley:

I think the real question here is: Do carhops make at least minimum wage? Waiters and waitresses only make something like $2.15/hour right? If sonic carhops are paid similarly then we definitely should be tipping them.

Did she flirt with me?
Actually right now I would pretty pay and price and bear any burden for a foot long coney dog and some tator tots (with cheese).

I always tip at Sonic.

Yes, Sonic curbs make minimum wage. I worked at a Sonic for about 10 months in college and started out as a curb. The town I lived in was not known for good tips at any place, so the tips I got were more in the $3-4 a night range. The tipping is nice, but not expected like waiting tables. Leaving a few cents, or even the $0.06 change from a $1.94 order was fine by all of us.

And those of you who don’t tip the curbs because your order is wrong: the person who brings you your order has absolutely nothing to do with whether it was made correctly. Unlike waiters who can type in an order wrong, the curbs only bring it out. The fountains actually take your order and bag up the burgers along with making the drinks and ice cream. Then they tell the curbs that the order is ready. By not tipping the curb, that is the only person you’re hurting.

After years of not tipping at Sonic, I now mostly-sorta tip:

Situation 1: Just getting a Route 44 vanilla diet coke? I don’t tip.

Situation 2: Getting a meal? I tip $1 + change. I tip the cute little pregnant girl more, though.

I tip usually $1 if I’m paying cash. Unfortunately for the carhops, I’m usually paying with my bank card and they don’t give you an option to write in a tip on it.

I always thought that since they didn’t though, that meant tipping was pretty much optional and that the carhops made regular wages.

Yes, I almost always tip at Sonic, especially since my son used to work there.

I know how hard those kids and not-so-much-kids work. I even tip the servers that come out to the drive-through line to give me my milkshake because the cars in front of me are ordering regular food.

I like to think I’m helping them just a little. I know when my son worked there, he was always grateful for what few tips came his way. And even though I’m pretty much known there, they always seem surprised and appreciative.

I ate there today for dinner, as a matter of fact. I gave her $15 for $12.80 bill and told her to keep it.

Then I discovered that someone had put KETCHUP on my chili-dog! :frowning: