Pack your leftovers yourself, please...

I have experienced this more and more at a number of mid-range and low end restaurants lately. If you have leftovers for take-home the server will bring you the doggie bag materials for self packing. Is this the new normal? Just one less task for the wait staff. Should it affect the tip?

I get the impression that they are doing you a favor actually. You can pick out what you want to take home, with no mix ups or worse in the back. The places that choose do it that way have their reasons and they are good reasons…nothing to do with saving two seconds of the server’s time. I think it’s also the law in some areas, not that I remember exactly where offhand.

1 Like

For me, most of the time they want to pack my leftovers. However, I always ask for the containers myself. I have opened some leftovers and been horrified by how haphazrdly they were placed into the container. So I ask to do it myself. I’m just particular about it.

If staff is just bringing over containers, it’s probably their policy, and they don’t can’t do anything about it. I wouldn’t ding their tip for something they can’t control.


It has been becoming the new normal for a while now. No it should not affect the tip, if anything I think this has been done more by customer request than restaurant policy. People complaining, I didn’t want the rice, you didn’t give me the sour cream for the potato did you use your hands…etc. etc. People can be incredibly annoying when it comes to packing their left overs, and I’ve even seen them want the meal comped because something was left out of their doggie bag they wanted.


I prefer it when they do it for me, but I understand why many places will have the customer do it, and no it should not affect the tip amount.

My biggest problem is remembering to take the container with me when I leave the table!


I prefer to do it myself. I’m particular. I’ll place certain items to separate others such as putting a green bean barrier between the saucy main and the side dish of rice so that not everything gets soaked into one homogenous mess.


/\ /\ /\ /\ (this is exactly what I was talking about) ////\

1 Like

I prefer to do it myself. I don’t want them to just use the fork to scoop everything off the plate into the container into one mixed up pile. I “organize” my container, so the veggies are on one side, pasta/potatoes are on the bottom topped with the protein and I try and get all the sauce too, if any. I pick out the things I don’t like too, like tomato chunks.

At mid to low-end restaurants, like you specified, you’re not going to get that mid to high-end type of service.

I have a mild neurological tremor, and lifting a plate with one hand while scooping/scraping with the other usually results in a lot of spilling. So, I generally ask the server to do it for soups, stews, Chinese dishes with sauce, etc. For solid dishes, like half a sandwich or burrito, it doesn’t matter.

Does any place wrap up leftovers like this anymore? :grin:


Yes, actually. There are a few who do this in my area of Westchester County, N.Y…cute!

Some places do. Some don’t. I expect well packed leftovers to be part of good service so DIY does affect the tip.

Wow!! People take left over soup home?

1 Like

Why, yes, we do.


We do. I usually have it for lunch at work the next day. Why wouldn’t you if you liked it and didn’t eat it all?

1 Like

Interesting, I’ve not only never taken a soup home, I don’t recall ever not finishing one. (Unless I just didn’t like it) If anything it would be having a soup and salad that would lead me not to finish a main entree that I would then take home.


Agreed but with one exception
If an app was ordered and soup
and salad were included I might bring
one or both home… if very good

Ok if soup and salad are included then it’s a basic “house salad”. 1/2 cup wilted iceberg, 2 cherry tomatoes, 2 rings of red onion and 4 store bought croutons. (Pretty much every included house salad I’ve ever had) In this case the salad is completely expendable and I eat the app, soup, entree and leave the salad untouched!! Lol

If I order a cup of soup as an appetizer, then I finish that. I’m thinking more along the lines of going to a Chinese restaurant and ordering a large hot and sour soup to be shared, and there’s a good amount leftover.

Well, not left over per se. But there’s a local Mediterranean restaurant that makes a fabulous gazpacho in the summer. Eat a cup, take a quart or pint home. It’s apparently done enough that the soup and accompanying bread are packaged and ready to go.

We recently discovered a local Italian with really good minestrone. Again, eat a cup, take a container to go.

1 Like