Should You Leave a Tip When Grabbing Your Take Away Dinner?

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It’s a question for the ages – at least in places like the United States, where tipping in exchange for customer service is the norm.

Sure, when someone waits on you over the period of an hour or so or brings food to your door, it’s simple enough to see that a tip is in order.

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But what if the person bringing you your food only made a trip into the kitchen and back with your bags? What if they just made your burrito or your cup of coffee?

If you don’t tip, are they going to spit in your food next time or purposely forget that extra side of honey mustard and so ruin your french fry experience?

According to the etiquette experts at the Emily Post Institute, tipping for a takeout order is filed under “no obligation,” with the understanding that 10% is expected if you’ve got a large order or the restaurant offers curbside service (meaning someone packed your order up, ran it to your car, then took your payment).

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That said, your bartender and/or waiter likely feels differently, says former waiter and author of Keep the Change, Steve Dublanica.

“To get $100 worth of food, it takes more time to pack up an order like that than it does to plate and serve it. You need to put sauces in separate containers, arrange it so things stay warm. There’s labor involved.”

And even if your order isn’t big, he argues that it will probably work in your favor to fork over 10-15%.

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“Tipping is about relationships. If you get takeout in the same place all the time, isn’t it in your best interest to foster a relationship there, to make sure your food is hot and the way you want it?”

Obviously, yes. So, take my money, to-go food preppers.

And thank you.