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Classic Rhu Discussion: Restaurant Tipping


This story was originally posted on April 30, 2010


Waitering hellFrom: Q

I've had a tipping question that's bothered me for a while and I'd hope that the RHU community would be able to help me somewhat reconcile it and decide what to do for the future.

Sometimes, late at night, my husband and I will get cravings, so we'll get some food from one of the sit down restaurants, like Waffle House.

However, we'd rather actually eat the food at home, so one of us goes to said restaurant and will get a to go order.

My dilemma is when I get the bill and there's a line for the tip (we always pay by card).

On the one hand, if we had actually gone there to sit down, we would certainly tip.

I'm also aware that it's hard work at a restaurant and that tips help supplement the "pay". On the other hand, I'm not actually sitting at a table, the waitress isn't having to do things like offer me drinks or clean up after me.. indeed, the only thing the waitress does is bag the order, and at that point it feels like it's no different than going to a fast food restaurant (well, except for the fact that their hash browns are awesome).

So would I still tip when I get a to-go order or not?

My husband would automatically say no, due to what I've already mentioned, but I'm a tad bit conflicted.





Colleen Marie

As long as they arent rude or something, I will tip on take out orders. Not as much as if I was actually sitting in the restaurant being waited on for an hour, but still something. They still had to bag it all up and bring it to me. And frankly, I worked in tipped jobs for many many years and that unexpected tip can turn a really REALLY crappy night into a good one. I figure its worth the $5 or $10 or whatever to possibly turn someones night completely around. I know there were several times when I was having a REALLY bad night (and I worked in strip clubs for awhile so bad nights could be REALLY bad) money (we worked ONLY on tips alone PLUS had to pay a house fee, dj fee, work every night so if we made nothing we could actually leave in the negative) rude customers trying to grab on us for free or telling us we werent worth spending money on because we were too fat or too thin or not blonde enough (whatever excuse they could think of to cover the fact that they just didnt HAVE any money)... And one really awesome customer would stop on his way out and say "looks like a really crappy night for you girls. Here..maybe this will help" and give each of us a $5 or something. Had a guy hand me $100 once because "you are too pretty to look sad, even on a night like this".

I believe in karma. I believe in passing it forward. I remember each and every customer that turned a horrible night around for me with their kindness. Therefore, I try to do the same whenever I can. Whether its technically "right" to tip for certain things...I know how much a cpl bucks and just the gesture itself can mean to someone.

Faith Luna Stencel

My sister is a former server, and she said that the people who gather things for the carryout orders still do a fair bit of running around, and tips are definitely appreciated. She told me I don't have to tip as much as I normally would when I'm eating though. Since then I usually tip 10-15% on a carryout order.


i usually do a round-up plus a buck or two for carry-out orders...unless they're really lagging behind (hadn't even put the order in when i show up) or are remarkably rude when i arrive.

also a bonus dollar if they had to do any extra silliness, like splitting an order, substituting sides, or allergy/diet-related restrictions.

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