What Is The Correct Tipping Etiquette For Take Out?
I pulled into the parking spot and jogged to the front door of my favorite chicken wing restaurant to pick up a to go order. The cashier smiled, made friendly small talk and took my order from the window. She then swiped my debit card and laid the signature form on the counter along with a pen. I did the same thing I’ve done countless times, I put a line through the â€œtipâ€ section, rewrote the total and signed my name. As soon as I handed the slip of paper to the cashier her demeanor changed. Her smile disappeared, her friendliness dissolved, and she barely managed to grunt out a, â€œHave a nice day,â€ as I picked up the bag holding my order. Confused, I headed towards my van, when it finally hit me.
Was she expecting me to give her a tip?
I thought I had finally resolved the tipping thing within myself. While I personally think a tip should be 100% optional as an over and above payment for a job well done, I have come to terms with the fact that businesses in the US pay servers next to nothing, expecting them to earn the vast majority of their income through tips. I consciously increased my tipping methodology based on this, and was at peace with myself until I picked up my chicken wing order that day.
To my knowledge, the person who took my payment was not a server. She certainly didn’t provide me a dining experience like one would traditionally think a server would. She simply turned around, picked up my bag of food, and then took my payment. The whole interaction took a little more than a minute.
Does processing my payment deserve a tip over and above the cashier’s hourly wage?
I decided to pull up the all knowing Google and do some research. Because after all, if it’s on the internet, it must be true. Based on almost 6 whole minutes of research, here’s what I found:
- The restaurant industry would have us believe tipping for in store take out orders is expected/required, but the fact is, it is not commonplace.
- For in store pickup, 80% of people do not tip for take out
- Those that do, the tip is a couple of dollars, or about 10% of the bill.
I’m not sure if I misinterpreted the cashier’s change in mood, or if she really was expecting a tip she shouldn’t have been, or if the rules have simply changed (again) and I was a cheapskate.
What do you think, Clever Friends? Do you tip for take out orders?
Brought to you courtesy of Brock
Brock is a software engineer by day and personal finance blogger at night. He is a fitness junkie and enjoys grilling and smoking meat. Married with two children, Brock strives to improve his skills as a husband and father, and is always on the lookout to stretch his family’s budget as far as he can.