Tipping on Takeout

I really didn’t believe it when I first heard about this but I stopped by today, and it’s true! They are a small takeout place, and on the menu, it states “15% gratuity is required”. For takeout? I pointed this out to the gentleman behind the counter and said This is not how it works. No reaction. I left.

1 Like

Here’s an argument for tip on takeout. Back of the house always seem to get shorted on tips, even when dining in. And, arguably, they are doing the lion’s share of the work.

For example, we always tip ~20% on takeout pizza (which amounts to 4-5 bucks). And that’s ok by us but everyone is different.

I hate our tipping culture - yes I tip well, doesn’t mean I like it.

But if you think tipping on take out means the back of house gets it … I bet you’ve never worked in a restaurant … just my experience.


I think this is the most depressing response I’ve ever gotten on this or any other food site.

I can’t imagine that at a joint like Commune Kitchen your model would hold true. Do I stop tipping when I get takeout at my local sushi joint? The nice kids at my local bagel shop who don’t bat an eye when I ask them to slice up my bakers dozen? Should one never tip for counter service? Please advise me here, people!

I can understand (and do) tipping (20%) at a regular restaurant but take out and similar type of food places (without full service) never get the same level of tipping from us (it is starting to get ridicioulos where people expect significant tips which in most of the cases don’t even end up at the people who do most of the work, e.g. line cooks etc)

1 Like

Like digga, I often tip for counter service. Yes, the tipping culture is insane but these folks are not being paid a living wage in most cases (tipped minimum wage is far less than actual minimum wage which itself is not a living wage) and a few bucks here and there mean a lot less to me than it does to these workers. Would I rather they all be paid properly, with that reflected in higher prices and no tipping? Sure, but that is not reality. A “required tip” at a takeout place which could instead simply add 15% to its prices perfectly reflects the insanity of it all.


+1 on what GretchenS says. Also I want to add that when I waitressed in my younger days, packaging up a takeout order would take me away from dine-in customers, who did tip, and it could sometimes involve more effort than if the customer had dined in. Packing up sides, condiments, utensils and the rest of the order neatly and presentably does take time.


You know I had totally forgotten that panicked feeling of packing up the takeout order while knowing that table 3 is waiting impatiently to order…


Since it was my comment that was “the most depressing response ever” . . . anyone else posting who has worked in the business ever tipped out the back of house (which was the main point of my post)?

My experience has been that only the front of house gets tips - that’s why we were paid $2 an hour (at the time - but I think in MA they are only paid $3/hr now) and the back of house had to make at least minimum wage ($11 in MA now I think).

Our tipping system is serious broken and wrong.


I shall look on waitstaff with greater interest now, knowing that a GretchenS or tomatotomato may be budding.

Shoot me, but I tip variably at takeout counters. If the staff actually do something for me – make coffee, make a sandwich, etc., I tip more (often 20%). If they simply put a muffin in a bag I tip less. The issue of what people get paid is, as everybody says, badly broken. My daughter worked as a hostess at the Kendall Za for a while. Unlike the waitstaff, she was paid minimum wage (a few cents over, even). Her duties included handing people takeout orders that they’d phoned in, but also carrying pizza to nearby offices (there were two hostesses, and they took turns). She reported that by and large people did not tip at all, or minimally, even when she carried them the pizza. (On one $98 order – two people had to carry it – they were given a hundred and told to keep the change.)

I myself have never done an honest hour of work in my life, so have no tales of mistreatment to report. As a post-doc, I used to tell people that I “worked all night at the Denny’s across from my apartment.” At the time, the only people I knew were academics and they understood immediately that “worked” meant “worked on research questions.” Then I met actual people and after a few confusing conversations it dawned on me that they thought I was talking about real work, not simply drinking endless cups of coffee with a table strewn with sheets of paper in front of me.

This is an interesting topic, separate from the specific instance that inspired it. Perhaps, GS, we need a “tipping” thread?

1 Like

That is just terrible. And the Denny’s story (“actual people”) is hilarious!

Your variable tipping at counters exactly parallels mine. And speaking of fathers with offspring in the restaurant business, listening to me gripe about bad tippers many years ago changed my father’s tipping approach for the rest of his life, as he acknowledged to me many times.

1 Like

Yes, my daughter’s experience did make me more sensitive to these issues too.

When you said “speaking of fathers with offspring” you upended my world for a second. I thought you were going to go on to say you were one, which is not my mental picture of you at all.

(On a design site, where I was – you guessed it – designdabbler, the tone of my posts led people to believe that I was a woman, the highest compliment anybody has paid me. They persisted in this belief all the way to my banning.)

I added a question to you in my post above while you were responding, so you may not have seen it.

So I could edit the title of this thread to make it about tipping instead of about the named restaurant if @Ferrari328 doesn’t object. Or I can split off the responses into a tipping thread.

And no, @fooddabbler, I am not a father with offspring, but an offspring (female) with a father. :slight_smile:

And I am the opposite. Who knew the world was so diverse?

1 Like

@GretchenS Go ahead.

1 Like

Thanks. Also linking to another current thread about an upward trend in tips.

Sorry, jumping boards from the NJ one. Hope everybody doesn’t mind. I worked in restaurants for several years through high school, college and occasionally afterwards. I came across a variety of tipping policies (pooling, percentages paid to certain servers, etc), but only 1 place required us to tip out the back of the house. If your point was that the back of the house is often not going to see that money; I agree completely.


Thanks. Very interesting.

Please jump in here more often.

1 Like

Again - I’ll repeat since this always gets lost somehow - I do tip, I tip well, I just HATE our tipping culture. it is broken, unfair, and out of control.

Our insane tipping culture was originally driven by the fact that the food industry fought and won the right to pay serves significantly less than minimum wage - under the assumption that tips would make up the difference. So the original system was that we tip those who were getting screwed on their wages because of this new wage law. We have somehow morphed into a culture where we are supposed to tip everyone and anyone who “doesn’t make very much money”. That is insane to me.

Here is the problem with this story (not that your daughter didn’t deserve more money, etc) - But

  • your daughter was hired at slightly above minimum wage to do a job that included packing to-go orders and delivering pizza to nearby businesses. Why should a tip be expected in that situation? That’s her job, she is being paid to do it. Not a reduced wage, the actual minimum wage. No tip should be required (yes i would have tipped her probably 20% of the total but I wouldn’t be happy about it). If someone called and asked for delivery and that was a service that wasn’t typically provided but your daughter did it as a one-off customer service effort . . . then yes she should expect a tip for going above and beyond her job expectation.

Part of why I hate our tipping culture and how tips are expected as wages - I didn’t hire these people, I didn’t train them, I can’t fire them, I can’t promote them, I have no idea what they are making - as the customer I shouldn’t have anything to do with how much they make. If the boss/owner is happy with them and happy with their performance then he/she should pay them accordingly. If I’m not happy with my experience I just won’t go back. If I’m not happy with the service why should I now be required to either manage or train the staff either through complaining or totally stiffing them on a tip so that they notice I wasn’t happy.

I wish we would fight harder for a better minimum wage for everyone and get rid of tipping completely (except for when someone goes well above and beyond what you’d expect and you tip as a thank you).

To stay on topic for the post - If the employees in the takeout place are making minimum wage (not a reduced tipped minimum wage - e.g. $3/hr) then no tip should be expected (not that you can’t give one but it shouldn’t be expected). They are getting paid to do just that job. It becomes a grey area when you get into GretchenS’ example of when a reduced wage worker is the one fulfilling to-go orders.

In several of the restaurants I worked in, the hostess always fulfilled the to-go orders (we didn’t have tons of them, finer dining doesn’t get tons of take-out). She was paid well above minimum wage (not huge money but more), so should she expect a tip? She usually got some tip, typically not a 20% tip. But that was her job, she was tasked with it because she was getting full pay . . . .

How much does someone need to make before they don’t get tipped anymore?

Sorry this is just one of my “hot button” issues. It is such a broken system on so many levels that I can’t believe we all just keep going along with it . . . . .


Ferrari, I don’t see the name of the place you are referring to, or did I just miss it?

Count me among those who usually tip on takeout. I probably leave an average of 15%, 20% if a lot of work is involved and 10% if it’s a straightforward pizza. I also tip for counter service such as coffee and sandwich prep. I do regret, though, that the back of the house probably won’t receive any portion of the tip.

Thimes, I agree that our system is broken. I guess I feel that, until it is more equitable, I’d rather throw in a few dollars to try and balance things out. I, too, wish ferverently for a no-tipping culture, or just tipping for above and beyond service, and a living wage for all.

1 Like