Do You Tip For Take Out Meals?

I happened upon a YouTube video the other day where Joe Somebody asked if you tip for takeout.

I thought it’d be a great question to pose to you as well.

Joe mentions that he’s seen the little tip line show up on his credit card receipts.

He wondered if it was just because the card was run on the same machine as the servers’ checks or if it was because the cashier was really trying to get a tip for takeout.

My Experience with Tips for Take Out – Pizza Restaurant

As I’ve mentioned before, I had a very crazy first job at a pizza restaurant back in high school. I performed pretty much every job but cooking and delivering pizzas so I often dealt with credit card receipts.

At our store, the credit card receipts always printed with a tip line on them, mostly so that drivers and servers could have tips added to credit card bills. I wasn’t aware of any setting to turn it off on take out orders, so all of our take out receipts had the tip line, too.

Personally, I never expected to get a tip for takeout because I didn’t feel it was required. I wasn’t paid a server or driver wage, but I wasn’t making much more than minimum wage either. I don’t think any of my coworkers that worked carry out expected tips either.

Did I Ever Get Tipped for Carry Out Orders?

Surprisingly, yes, I did get tipped very occasionally for carry out orders! I’d say it was a very small percentage of carry out orders that would tip but it didn’t exceed 10% of all customers.

Of the people that did end up tipping me, I’d normally get a dollar or two. There was a rare occasion where I’d get 20% or more, but it was a once a month or less type of occasion.

We did learn who tipped when they came to pick up their pizzas, so we’d always try to be the cashier to ring them up. We didn’t split tips with anyone, so whoever served the customer got the tip.

Do I Personally Tip When I Carry Out?

Nope. Not gonna happen. The person who hands you your meal and rings you up has almost no involvement in the process other than handing you your meal. Why should they be tipped?

In some restaurants there may be a tip pool, but I still don’t see any reason to tip. They cooked your food and put it in a box and handed it to you. That is what you pay for when  you order carry out!

What About Fancy Restaurants Like Outback?

Joe mentions that he heard that servers have to man the take out station at some of the fancier restaurants with take out. I don’t know if it is true or not, but I still don’t feel obligated to tip.

I feel if a server is manning the take out table they should be paid at least minimum wage.

If the take out person isn’t paid minimum page, that sucks, but I’m sure they’re making plenty from their tables if they’re a good server. I’d only take maybe 30 seconds to a minute of their time anyway.

So what are your thoughts? Do you tip for take out meals? I don’t!

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About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.


  1. I don’t tip for takeout either. I don’t see anything in the process that warrants a tip.

  2. I do the more “European” style and just round up to the next whole dollar amount and give them that. If nothing else the person may have had to walk to the kitchen to get my meal.

    The only exception I make for this, is at my local Chinese place. Since I have started tipping them (like 10%) they have been giving me tons of extras with my meals and skipping me to the front of the line when there is a wait.

  3. We tend to round up at places like that. And if we’re regulars, every once in a while we’ll add a couple of bucks to the tip line. The servers take their time away from their tables to check us out, so it feels like the right thing to do.

  4. Tipping has become the norm! I see it everywhere from Starbucks to other fast food places. What actual service am I receiving? No, I do not tip for takeout. As a former owner of a restaurant, it bothers me. We turned tipping into the norm or expected! In the rest of the world, the waitstaff are paid reasonably and tipping is much lower. It changes the whole idea of tipping.

  5. I will usually tip 10% on takeout orders instead of 20% when I sit down.

  6. The only time I’ve tipped for carryout has been when I received some kind of service like a glass of water while I wait.

  7. Usually the only takeout we do is for pizza or chinese, and we never tip then. I have heard some people say that tip for takeout is the norm where they live, which I think is weird!

  8. Never have tipped for carryout and don’t plan on doing so. I don’t see the purpose next you be tipping with the hostess opens the door.

  9. I don’t think you should tip if you receive no service other than getting your credit card swiped. The only time I’ve ever tipped anyone in this type situation was a girl working at Subway who gave me a taste of the new BBQ chicken before I ordered a sandwich. For just ringing me up, nope.

  10. I’m also one that doesn’t tip often for carry out. Sometimes, I will round up to the next dollar amount on the ticket but if the person ringing me up acts like they have better things to do than be at work, I don’t bother.

  11. For me, it depends on the restaurant. If it’s a sit-down restaurant, I’ll always tip at least 10% because they are usually serving tables as well and if they’re serving, my carry-out total will be part of their total sales that they MAY have to tip out (to bar/hosts/bussers) on after their shift. Not to mention that (depending on state tax laws) they may be taxed on their overall sales as well. I feel like $1.50-$2.00 is minimum enough to cover that potential requirement.

    If it’s a counter place, like pizza or chinese around here, most likely I won’t tip.

    • Interesting take. I don’t know about state laws, but if servers would actually declare their real tips, they wouldn’t have to tax based on sales but instead actual income. Unfortunately, too many servers lie about how much they get in cash tips.

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