Should Guests Tip for To-Go Orders?

Categories: Bites & Dishes

Welcome to Chow Bella's Bites & Dishes, where Valley chefs and restaurateurs respond to a question New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld has on her mind. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail laura.hahnefeld@newtimes.com. Miss a question? Go here.

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Eric Fortman
​In his book, Keep the Change: A Clueless Tipper's Quest to Become the Guru of the Gratuity, author and former server Steve Dublanica says that when he worked in an upscale restaurant, 80 percent of the time people did not tip on takeout orders.

But given the fact that filling a to-go request takes work -- from helping a guest on the phone, to acknowledging special requests, to packaging the order up properly -- is the dining majority correct in its thinking? I asked Valley chefs and restaurateurs if they thought guests should tip when it comes to takeout.

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Charles Wiley
Chef and food and beverage director, ZuZu

YES, but certainly not 20 percent. Restaurant staff puts orders together, double-checks them to make sure everything is correct, and delivers orders with a smile -- and that deserves a little recognition.



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Silvana Salcido Esparza
Chef and owner, Barrio Cafe and Barrio Queen

YES: To-go orders have always been a place where I leave $1 to $5 depending on the service. It's still a restaurant, and the pay for them still sucks!





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Chef Kevin Binkley
Binkley's and Café Bink

NO: There is virtually no service required for a to-go order, therefore not requiring a tip. Although, if you feel that someone has gone the extra mile, or that you received above and beyond service, a tip would be appropriate.



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Christopher Gross
Chef and owner, Christophers & Crush Lounge

NO: I do most of the time, but I don't think you need to unless you have someone take it to your car or you see them boxing it up and preparing it for you. Most of the time, it's done by the kitchen and then someone just hands it to you.



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Eric Flatt
Owner, Tonto Bar & Grill/Cartwright's Sonoran Ranch House

YES: A small tip is always nice. To-go orders don't usually involve waitstaff or a tipped employee. Generally, it's the hostess who handles the order. It's a chance for a non-tipped employee to get a little something extra.


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34 comments
contact184
contact184

Nope. Thats why you got it to go in the first place, avoid the tip!

 

chuckking
chuckking

I've tipped before and then end of regretting it when I get home and find out the order was sloppily packaged or just wrong (many times this has happened), and of course too late to bring it back. Since then, NO tips for you!!!!

Makeminetogo
Makeminetogo

I've been presented a check with a line for a tip amount in the drive-thru. This to me is offensive and strikes me as pan-handling. Happy to tip for good food and good service but some places are seeking to work this as something that is expected for anything they do. Yeah, haven't gone back to most of these places. Yokohama Rice Bowl in Tucson was one of these.

Anon
Anon

Let me get this straight, I'm supposed to tip them for getting the order right according to some of the chefs. That is pathetic.  In my line of work if you don't do the job correctly you get sued for malpractice.  Perhaps I should put a tip jar out for when I do it correctly.

teknik1200
teknik1200

it depends on the place.  if the bar tender is handling your order, I'll treat him as I would any other bar tender who helps me 20% or more.  if it's a nice place and there's a dedicated take out person who's putting everything together for me I'll go 10%.

if it's something like a pizza place or subway, I don't tip.

But I was a tipped employee in the bar industry for 15 years.

charlie_oscar
charlie_oscar

Do you tip at
the Mac Donald’s drive through?

Case
closed...entitlement society!

thebarbecuemast
thebarbecuemast

im sure the restaurant makes some money on the finished product. I think tipping is overrated. 

Where does it end?
Where does it end?

What's the thing with tips anyway?  Is bringing a $50 plate of lobster any more work than a $10 plate of spaghetti?  20% is bullshit.  And carryout is even stupider -- going to the restaurant and picking it up yourself requires you to pay the people to box it up?  Does the cashier at the auto parts store feel they've done you a tippable service by going to the back to get you the part you need?  How about the grocery store sacker -- finding fennel in the back is hard work!  Do you tip them?  I'm more inclined to patronize the restaurants on here that say it's ok to not tip their carryout person who hands you the food than the rest..

me
me

What percent does a food server have to claim in Arizona? that is the answer......... I am guessing 16% of the take out sale because that is what I had to claim in the state I was from.

vicelord
vicelord

I do not tip on to-go orders unless someone really wows me. The hostess is 9 times out of 10 the person who is getting the order ready. This is not a tipped position and only if she does something really unexpected will I give her a tip. If it happens to be a bartender doing the order, or it's one of the curbside girls at LGO, of course a tip is appropriate. I have worked in many tipped positions in my life and consider myself to be an extremely good tipper. NEVER do I order a drink and not tip at least a buck, never do I leave less than 20% on a dinner unless someone was flat out rude, comp stuff always = 50% tip on the value of the item comped. To-go orders, hell no though.

Jackiecruz83
Jackiecruz83

Where is the sandwich at the top of the page from?

vicelord
vicelord

Would be too easy for Chow Bella writers to include information like that wouldn't it?

DJ Roomba
DJ Roomba

A question like this doesn't even deserve to be dignified by a blog post. What's coming next, "Dining in- should you tip 25% or 30%!" ?

Chefjillian
Chefjillian

I have never paid my "hostess/host" waitstaff pay, so they never had to depend on tips. If they were tipped for a "to go" order it was just a bonus on their hourly wage. Plus, I had rules set that tipping was never to be discussed during business hours. If they had an issue with tips they could talk to me privately. That was automatic termination if discussed in front of guests. I don't feel restaurant owners should consider the general public as bad tippers but look at the percentages as a tool if their waitstaff is trained properly.

Anon
Anon

Think of this:
Usually, bartenders are the ones who handle take-out orders.  Bartenders often have to tip out bussers, bar backs, etc a percentage of their sales so on take-out orders in which they receive no tip on, they are losing money on take-out orders, aka paying for you to get take-out.

Concerned Food Fan
Concerned Food Fan

I don't tip at Taco Bell, and they're doing the same thing..

Anon
Anon

They get paid minimum wage at Taco Bell.  Waitstaff does not.

teknik1200
teknik1200

the to go person will typically get minimum wage, just like a food runner or expediter.  these rolls actually tend to be filled by the same people.

that said I still tip, minimum wage blows. tip=to insure promptness.

the places I regular treat me better because I'm a tipper.

John
John

Wow, Mary. What a dumb comment. That attitude is a sure way for a business to fail.

wang
wang

Tipping is another word for panhandling. Pay your employees a decent wage and include the cost in the menu.

teknik1200
teknik1200

to insure promptness

me thinks you get crappy service everywhere you go. i'd make you wait.

Geri Koeppel
Geri Koeppel

I don't think it's panhandling, but I do think you have a point. The European system of paying a living wage and not forcing servers to rely on tips has its merits. Our system of tipping is more motivational in a way, but I can count many, many times I gave excellent service and got stiffed or next to nothing, and other times when I was slammed and could not give great service, but guests rewarded me for trying. Still, I think it would be rather difficult to change the system as we have it.

Anonymous Server
Anonymous Server

Panhandling? There's an often spoken feeling among servers in restaurants - "customers should, at some point in their lives, spend even a little time as a food server" to understand the reality of it. They are paid lower than minimum wage and are depending on gratuities to make up their wage. Yes, they are taxed on gratuities, by the way. I'm thinking that you are very misinformed (and probably a non-tipper). Oh, well. 

joe.distort
joe.distort

that why i always try to tip cash even when paying for the meal w a card...

Bill
Bill

Why's that, joe?

Mary Rubino Wilyat
Mary Rubino Wilyat

yeah then shut down.

been there done that
been there done that

They do it in Europe. It's part of the dining experience. You know the cost of the evening up front. I know I would appreciate knowing your staff was paid a living wage and not DEPENDENT upon ME for a salary. We all know the customer pays for it one way or another. 

Anonymous Server
Anonymous Server

I think it would be a nice gesture to tip a few bucks (not 20%, but a little something) on a to-go order. The kitchen is, as Charles Wiley and Chef Brian Feirstein mention - preparing and boxing the order, and the wait staff who took the order is assembling the rest of the package with the condiments, utensils, drinks, etc. It is not necessarily the host who is taking and assembling that order (in fact, the host makes more per hour for their job - the server is making about $4.65 per hour and relies on gratuities to make their rent). It is often a server, who is also paying attention to their other tables as well as making sure your to-go order is as great as it would be if you sat down for service.

Anon
Anon

The kitchen isn't tipped on regular orders if you dine in so why are they being tipped on to go orders.  And most times the hostess, not a server checks the order and she is paid quite a bit more than a server because she isn't supposed to get tips.

Newwest
Newwest

Silvana Salcido Esparza
Chef and owner, Barrio Cafe and Barrio Queen
Silvana Salcido Esparza
Chef and owner, Barrio Cafe and Barrio Queen YES: To-go orders have always been a place where I leave $1 to $5 depending on the service. It's still a restaurant and the pay for them still sucks!   If it "sucks" so much, why don't you pay your help more Sylvia?

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