Tipping on a carry out?

Is one expected to leave a tip when picking up a carry out at a restaurant? I usually don’t. After all, the only person I’m dealing with when I show up to pick up the grub is the cashier, and you don’t usually tip a cashier.

But if it’s a waitress, should you tip her? And how much? I’m usually a good tipper but I’m not giving 15% just to ring up food I’m picking up.

Your tip should be directly proportional to how badly you want her and inversely proportional to how attractive you are, I guess. (YMMV.)

I personally don’t tip on carry out from a restaurant or at fast food. Tips are compensation for substantial service beyond the preparation of the food, for example if someone waits on you and serves you, or if someone delivers it to your home. Ringing up the charge isn’t even a service to you; it’s just how the act of payment is conducted.

Funny, just 10 minutes ago my roommate came home bitching about how people rarely tip on a carry-out order. He works at Macaroni Grill.

I don’t do it myself, it never occured to me that I should. Are you really being served in this situation?

I admit to being clueless regarding tipping. Maybe I should ask him more about it.

you are supposed to tip… my girlfriend worked at bennigans and i would always eat with her and we’d sit with the other employees… one guy had to be the take out guy for like a month… they get paid as much as normal servers (which isnt much), and you ARE supposed to tip them…

now that I think about it another friend of mine who moved away told me he was doing carry out too, and he mentioned he hated it cause he never gets tips.

i do understand though… they dont do much. i think really the employers should just pay them more and tell them to refuse tips…
but really if you think about it… most everyone tips more than 15%…

if you spent $30 on takeout for the whole family, 15% is just $4.50

one person’s meal usually $15 or less, tip is a little over 2 bucks…

i usually leave 1 or 2 bucks no matter what, and i never have meals that cost over $12 so tipping somoene a few bucks isnt gonna break me…

I feel bad for the server when I pick up a takeout, if they in fact are expected to make tips, but I will NOT tip a person if they don’t actually bring the food either to my table or my door. In those situations, I’m quite generous, moreso in a restaurant than in a delivery context.

I say raise prices and pay people a humane wage, but maybe I’m nuts.


As a former waitress, you do quite a bit to get that take out together. You have to take the order, retrieve the order from the cooks, make sure it is right, put condiments napkins whatever in a bag, all while waiting and serving your other tables, and depending on the restaurant, deliver it to the bar (who you give a percentage of your tips) or ring it up yourself. I don’t think you need to tip the standard 20% but you should give a dollar or two depending on the size of the order, just as you would delivery!

I don’t get why people tip the pizza delivery driver.

I’m a driver on the weekends and I don’t even know why I get tips. Probably one of those “just because” things.

I’m with bobrien I worked room service at a resort for six years and one of my jobs was to get to go orders ready. I had to put the order in, get condiments and utensils, make sure everything was ready and correct. It was a pain in the butt to do all that and get no tip for it when I had to put off room service orders that had guaranteed tips.

Leave a couple of bucks (depending on the size of the order). Just because you don’t see someone doing the work doesn’t mean it’s not being done.

This is more a matter of opinion than fact, so I’ll move this thread to IMHO.

moderator GQ

WOW, this is the 1st time I’ve heard 20% as standard. Ive heard 15% standard and 15% to 20% as standard, but never 20% standing by itself as standard.

I tip on take out - especially if the people at the restaurant “know” me. I figure I get better service that way.

I don’t tip on takeout, mostly because I’m either getting fast-food (which no one tips on anyway), or because my order is so small that a tip would be insulting. (20% on 2.65? I don’t think so.) In the second instance, the restaurant where I usually get my coffee-and-muffin knows me, and I usually tip pretty well (at least two dollars on a 5-8 dollar order, sometimes as much as three bucks, depending on what I order.)


The drive-thru workers at McDonalds do all of this but no one tips them.

Just another step in the total movement of restaurantuers to move their payroll issues to the customers on the backs of their staff.

Hell, I’d up prices and kill tipping completely if I could. Make everyone own up to it.

At the restaurant where I work, the person working carry-out makes $8 to $9/hr. That person doesn’t expect a tip, they consider it a bonus.

At 9 p.m., the carry-out person goes home, and the servers are expected to take and fill carry-out orders - for $2.13/hr. We always appreciate tips we get from carry-out orders, but don’t ever expect a tip. Most people don’t tip carry-out people.

I tend to start at 20% only because a few glasses of wine or beer have less impact on my ability to divide by five than they do on my ability to divide by 20 and multiply by 3.

Drive-thru workers are not doing all that and waiting on tables. Moreover, they’re being paid minimum wage to do it, whereas servers are typically paid MUCH less than minimum wage, with the expectation that they will make up for it in tips. I think there’s a big difference, there.

I always do tip on carry-out, but less than I would for full service. A few bucks isn’t going to break me.

Y’know, Hooters has a carry-out counter…who in the hell is that for???

Anyway, it occurs to me that I’ve never done carry out. I’ve always felt that carry-out food would be the stuff that fell on the floor, or had been sitting around for days, and nobody “in-store” would accept it. Like Joe Pesci sez, “they f*ck you at the drive thru”…same thing, in my mind…but I guess if I ever did carry-out, I’d give them something extra.

Some additional information here that will help you make this decision:
[li]Many, many restaurants have a practice of “tipping” out cooks, dishwashers, hosts and bartenders.[/li][li]This is almost always a percentage of the bill (not a percentage of tips).[/li][li]This means that on a ticket where there is no tip, given the fact that waitresses are paid appallingly and count on tips to make a decent wage, the effect can be that the waitress that took the order basically paid for the privilege of serving you a to go meal.[/li][/ul]
Bear in mind that a to go order is only slightly less of a labor impact than folks that eat there, and in some ways is more of a pain in the ass (for instance, timing it just so, so that the customer is not waiting too long or the food is not cold by the time the customer arrives).

Just some food for thought (pun intended, and not apologized for).

I always tip for carry-out (except fast food, of course) for the reasons mentioned above. I usually frequent certain places in my neighborhood for take-out and I do find that I get better service (“could you double the dipping sauce in that for me, please?” Sure! [no charge!]). And no, I don’t tip 15-20% as I would if they were serving me at a table and coming back periodically to fill drinks and remove my plate. But $1 or $2 always seems appreciated (without being insulting) and doesn’t break my bank to give.