Fast Food- Eat In & Take Out Buttons On the Cash Register

I ordered dinner from Quizno’s last night and as the clerk was tapping my order into his computer, I suddenly wondered: why are there buttons on his cash register for “eat in” and “take out”? The verbal question makes sense: the clerks need to know whether to bag my meal or put it on a tray. But why do they need to punch this info into the cash register?


For tax - at least in Ohio. ‘Eat in’ will be taxed at a certain rate that will be programmed into the register.
‘Take out’ would not include any tax (except for soft drinks).

I agree that the sales tax often differs, but it may also be so that the info displays on the slip that prints for the person who assembles the order (so they know whether to bag the order or put it on a tray).

It also keep statistical information (and to a lesser extent inventory) up to date to let the owners (or corporate headquarters) know how many people are utilizing the dining room and helps in the decisions to lengthen or shorten hours etc.

Agreed with the two reasons given.

Also, specifical to Quizno’s, since it takes them approximately 6.2 hours to produce a sandwich once ordered it would be unreasonable to expect the counter person to remember.

You must go to one of those new-fangled express Quiznos. They are pretty speedy compared to the one near me. :wink:

They don’t. :slight_smile:

Not specifical just to Quizno’s, though I do remember it happening there: They ask me at the beginning whether it’s for here or to go, then when I finally get my order, half the time they either ask again or do it the wrong way.

Why? It’s obvious-- so they can have yet another thing to screw up.

I like to order it as take out and then eat it in. Then it messes them up :smiley:

Not to derail the Quizno’s is slow thing, cause they are, but at every Quizno’s I have seen the register is at the end of the process. The customer is asked the to-go/eat-in question at the begining of the process, and a special shaped grid thingy for holding the sandwich is used to code the answer. This is supposed to tell the person at the other end of the oven how to bag the sandwich.

None of which has anything to do with why the button is on the reigster, as that person has nothing to do with the making of the food. Thus, the button on the Quizno’s register is for sales tax purposes and to a lesser degree inventory control.

At this point this answer is takes almost the amount of time it takes for them to get a sandwich ready to go into the oven.

Interestingly in the UK and in places in Europe, take-away will be more expensive than dine-in, because of the surcharge for the sack. :dubious:

Or at least that’s how it was explained to me.

I can understand your dubiosity; that sack costs the restaurant about 10 cents or so, maybe less. Most likely they are charging more for takeout because they can.

I have been all over the UK and Europe and have never seen any place charge more for take-out. It’s always either cheaper or the same. I suppose some places may now be charging a few cents for plastic bags, but that practice is not unique to shops in Europe (and at any rate is completely optional; no one is forcing you to buy a bag).

That’s why the better cash registers have pictures on them instead of complicated things like letters and numbers. :slight_smile:

“spacifical”? What a doofus.

I’m afraid you have been woefully misinformed. In the UK, food eaten in is subject to VAT - some establishments will absorb the cost and some will charge less for take out. In other countries, such as Italy, it will cost you more to sit down than take out or stand at the counter (because it requires waiter service). The only time you get charged extra for a bag is in certain stores such as Marks & Spencers where they’ve started charging pennies for bags to encourage you to bring your own, purely for environmental reasons.

As noted, there are lots of reasons to track this information. So the person assembling the order, who isn’t always the cashier, knows what to do. To charge different tax rates. To charge for bags (D.C. law requires this now). To track bag inventory. To understand customer behavior, or how customers might change in reaction to a promotion or other factors. Or you might want to track this when you’re planning to remodel, or build a new outlet in a demographically similar neighborhood so you know how much space you need.

Businesses love data, because data tells you about customer preference. And understanding customer preference can increase profitability.


I would nitpick this to say that data tells you about customer behavior.

My preference would be for Wendy’s, for instance, to deliver. There’s no data Wendy’s can get from my behavior that will tell them that because they’ve never asked.

Yes, in the UK the eat-in option is VAT extra (currently 17.5%), this is more or less universal.
When I was in New York I ordered some food at the counter of a diner, then innocently carried it to a table to eat. I got (very embarrassingly) bawled out by the waitress who thought I was trying to dodge some kind of extra charge. I just couldn’t explain that I hadn’t really considered that prices/tips were different in different areas of the cafe, as we don’t have that system in Britain (although I have experienced that sort of thing in France).

In Italy there might be three different prices for a cup of coffee. It will depend if you stand at the counter, sit down inside, or sit down outside.