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do you tip for take-out food?

Original post made by curious, Downtown North, on Sep 16, 2007

So there I am at California Pizza Kitchen take-out counter, looking at the credit card slip with its line for tip, and wondering. I always tip generously for table service. Do I tip for take-out as well? Does it depend on the restaurant? Hardly anyone tips at McDonalds, and presumably the personnel there are more in need of the money. And coffee places have tip jars, so you know it's expected. But what about sit-down restaurants that also have take-out? You don't have a waiter who needs to cater to you, but you do have someone packing up your food.

So, what do you all do? I'm curious!

Comments (61)

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Posted by qq
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 16, 2007 at 11:55 pm

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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 17, 2007 at 7:00 am

I'm not sure if this is the correct way to handle this situation or not, but what I've started doing is writing "Take Away" on the tip line rather than a dollar amount since I don't think a tip is required for a take away purchase. I'd love to hear other responses as well. Thanks for posting this question.


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Posted by Mary
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 17, 2007 at 8:03 am

These young people are working for minimum wages, usually, and tips are important to them. Tips are 'not required' techncially any place, but their wages are taxed on the amount of sales and presumed tips. The work is hard, really hard.


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Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Sep 17, 2007 at 8:16 am

If you are sitting down and eating, you have a waiter/waitress and therefore if the service is good, you should tip accordingly (although these days wait people expect a tip even for lousy service).
For take out service, there is no waiter, someone takes your order and you then pick it up and go--no tip is necessary for that.


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Posted by Gimmie a break!
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 17, 2007 at 8:35 am

Take out orders require bagging, and other additional add-ons, like making sure condiments are paced, and utensils. Is your bag nicely wrapped, and on time? Was your food delivered with a smile?

Restaurant help work for peanuts.

Gimme a break! Anyone living in Palo Alto who worries about tipping a few bucks for a $40 take out is just plain cheap, period.


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Posted by Residents
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 17, 2007 at 8:42 am

My thoughts on this matter are if you are buying food from a restaurant that also has table service, then a tip is a nice gesture, but it doesn't have to be the same as a tip if you were seated.

A tip jar at Starbucks or MacDonalds is really just a loose change jar and not the same thing at all.

True, the staff are on low incomes, but places like In N Out Burger and Starbucks do pay above minimum wage and are the popular places for our local teens to get jobs.


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Posted by Gimmie a break!
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 17, 2007 at 8:55 am

"Minimum wage" is an oxymoron. Who can llive on that? There are many people working in Starbucks here who are not just local teens looking for a place to make a few extra bucks. Many people in those establishments are college students, or young people with rent to pay - every dollar helps.


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Posted by Terry
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 17, 2007 at 9:01 am

I wonder if the mind-set that "they work for peanuts, you are just plain cheap if you don't tip" is the same that leads to over-staffed, over-paid, over-tenured, over-pensioned city workforces, with no will in city leadership to really do anything about it.

There's a special wage classification for wait staff - they get paid less and make up the difference (and hopefully more) in tips. Does that wage class apply to the counter staff handing over your take out? Generally not.

It's ok, you can call me "plan cheap." Better that then spendthrift.


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Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Sep 17, 2007 at 9:02 am

Then maybe something needs to be done about the fact that the customers are unfairly put in the middle of wage/tip issue. Owners pay their service staff below minimum wage and tell them that the customer will make it up in tips, the service staff then expects tips from customers, no matter what.
Very nice for the owners they can pass on the problem to the customer.
Maybe it is time for the owners to pay their staff a decent wage.
Sorry, i will never tip for take out---the "extra" work that is done for a take out order is not worth a tip and if it is it certainly should not be 15-20%, what you would give to a waiter who servces you for an entire sit down meal.
You know in Japan there is no expectation of tips, anywhere. The service people there approach their jobs with the right attitude--that it is a job and it is worth doing correctly--here many people look down on wait staff and many people feel that working as awaiter/waitress is beneath them.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 17, 2007 at 9:08 am

I do tend to agree with Marvin's comments.

America is the only country that I have been in where a tip is expected regardless of service. I have travelled extensively and find that when a tip is given abroad, it is appreciated as a sign of the generosity of Americans rather than as an expectation. Even good service abroad is not necessarily tipped by the locals and maybe the reason why the service is not so good or given without a smile.

I would like to bring back the idea that tipping is for good service and not a given right. If you get bad service, show it in your lack of tip (or at least the size of the tip).


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Posted by Tim
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 17, 2007 at 9:34 am

For a seat down meal, I will tip 20% for good service. Take out, about 10% tip.


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Posted by Anamika
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 17, 2007 at 10:11 am

I was at the Longs Drugs in midtown over the weekend. A shopper had tremendous amount of stuff in his cart - the checkout person asked another store employee to help push the cart outside.

I walked out at the time when the stuff was loaded into the trunk of the shopper's cart - the shopper took out his wallet and wanted to tip the Longs employee. The employee very firmly but politely told the shopper that he won't accept the tip. The shopper insisted - but the employee was firm on it, saying that he was doing his job and helping customers load stuff was a part of his job duty (well, it WAS tremendous amount of stuff)

Not too sure of employees of the store are not allowed to accept tips - or if this was an one-of-its-kind employee. I thought very high about the way this employee was firm and yet polite !


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Posted by natasha
a resident of Meadow Park
on Sep 17, 2007 at 10:25 am

Resident, I'm not sure if it is still this way in France, but it was the last time I was there (several years ago) -- the wait staff certainly *did* expect a tip, and in fact typically a 20% "sevice compris" charge was added onto the bill, leaving you no choice in the matter other than whether to pay an additional gratuity. And let me tell you, service was not always up to 20% tip range, but who cares? The servers were guaranteed the tip anyway.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 17, 2007 at 10:41 am

Natasha

You are correct that it is common in France and other countries to find a service copris charge on the bill, but this is usually stated on the menu and is not the same as a tip, in my opinion. Many employees will not actually benefit from this charge as it will go into the restaurant's takings. I was referring to the habit of tipping in general rather than just at restaurants. Americans do have the reputation for tipping where it is not normally done in their culture.


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Posted by Clue Train
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 17, 2007 at 10:43 am

Resident, if you travel as you claim, you would know that Natasha is correct; tips are *included* in European (and some other geographic food service bills).

What's revealingn about this is that some people (in the minority, in my experience) operate from a sense of guilt when it comes to giving tips. I'll bet $$$ that most of these people have never worked in a place where they were dependent on tips for a part of their wage - so, they're ignorant about the world of those service workers who get tipped. Put these people on a take out food counter for about a month, and watch them change their tune.

There's nothing like a little reality break to help someone get a clue.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 17, 2007 at 11:01 am

Natasha and Clue Train

I have travelled, and I should go further in my explanation.

In many countries in Europe, tax rules vary as they do here from State to State. A restaurant could fall into one of several categories when it comes to how it is taxed. Generally speaking, restaurants, even if tax is included in the price of the food, are separating the cost of the food and the cost of the service as these are taxed at different rates. The service charge is what the restaurant estimates are its charges for service e.g. wait staff, cleaning both the dining room and the table cloth, cutlery, etc. which will be different from the cost of the preparation of the food and the clean up etc. of the kitchen. These separate tax items are not seen in your bill, but will have to be done in their books in such a way as to obey local tax laws.

Therefore, the service charge is what it says, a written cost of the service you get, and not a tip to the wait staff. In many family owned restaurants, it is the family members, or children, who are contributing to the family business in between trying to do homework and may not even receive what we would consider a wage.


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Posted by curious
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 17, 2007 at 1:40 pm

Terry made a good comment - wait staff are on a special wage schedule that depends on tips, and asked whether counter people are on that same schedule. Now I'm curious about that. Does anyone know? Do the counter people get at least minimum wage. or are they dependent on tips like the wait staff?


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Posted by Terry
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 17, 2007 at 3:05 pm

I saw a good distinction on another thread. If you order takeout from a bar/restaurant, often (though not always) a wait-staff person handles your order, and will actually get taxed based on estimated tips from the order amount (if I am reading it right). So that person might deserve some (10%?) tip.

At a place set up for take-out (quick serve, pizza, etc.), they are getting paid a full-wage and not getting taxed for expected tips. There I would say no tipping required.

All second/third hand info, but sounds reasonable.


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Posted by Clue Train
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 17, 2007 at 3:39 pm

If you want to give a tip, give it. The gift moves.

If you're too cheap, don't.


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Posted by GMC
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 17, 2007 at 4:36 pm

This is a great debate. I've thought about this issue before. As someone pointed out, there is a level "service" present in providing the takeout food - bagging, sorting, etc. However, its not the level provided by table service. So, I say tip on the lower end - around 10% on the pre-tax amount.
I never feel compelled to tip out of sympathy especially if service is poor. Last time I checked, money doesn't grow on trees. All of us have a limited amount of it, and every dollar is precious. So, in my personal opinion, tipping is something you should do, as long as the service is performed adequately, but becomes a waste of your own money if you tip more than you are conventionally expected to. A lot of people have jobs that don't pay large amounts of money for a host of reasons, but I don't feel compelled to supplement their salary.
Next time you use a public bathroom, why not leave a dollar or 2 on the toilet seat? Golly. THOSE people probably deserve it more than someone just bagging up some take out food. I guess maybe a tip jar would be more practical, since the bills could fall in the bowl which really would be flushing your money down the toilet.
By the way, I'm not talking about restrooms in some bars and restaurants where there really is an attendant. I rarely give those people money since its not a service I really care for. I can dry my own hands.


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Posted by hmmm
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 17, 2007 at 4:53 pm

Yes, a good debate.

GMC, I would actually tip at a restroom if an attendant was actually doing a useful service. I have seen attendants at large airport restrooms and the like who enter each stall after it has been used and just check and perhaps wipe the seat or some such before the next person using it. If someone checks that the washbasins are clean of soap, hair, makeup etc. I think it is worth it too. Many restrooms overseas actually have a charge and a jar for coins left beside the washbasins is very common.

Come to think of it, if you get good service anywhere by an employee, it is good to reward them even if they are doing their job. Even a nice thankyou can help. Too many people often stare at someone helping them as if they were the lowest of low doing a very mundane job, but even a pleasant thank you very much can make them feel what they are doing is worthwhile.


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Posted by Dont be selfish
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 17, 2007 at 4:57 pm

I hadn't thought about tipping for take out but will do so from now on.
If you are well off enough to take out food so you don't have to bother cooking it yourself, you are well off enough to leave a tip for low paid workers.
Do you haggle when you buy a DVD? or a $$coffee? or pay $$ for a crummy movie?


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Posted by Terry
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 17, 2007 at 5:12 pm

Last time I checked, non-wait-staff people are paid a wage by their employer to provide the service. We don't tip everybody who does everything for us (guy who does a good job helping you in a store; receptionist who gets you coffee when you visit somebody's office; the factory worker who builds your car) because they are already being paid.

A narrow class of people are different - primarily in the hospitality business. There, tipping is a major part of the income and built into the pay structure (even the minimum wage law). If all we stopped tipping, they would have to raise prices to cover it (and service might or might not deteriorate).

So people should tip where they want - but it isn't selfish to forgo the tip where it isn't customary. In fact, such tipping is a little arrogant - it implies that the person doing the job needs your charity to get by. A courteous thank-you might do the job.



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Posted by Joanna
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Sep 17, 2007 at 6:12 pm

Marvin:

Right on! I agree.

I've held the belief that owners should take on the burden instead of the customers.

It is just so hard to find people who agree AND want to do something about it. What can we do?

I hardly eat out but when I do, I tip for service. I don't give tip by default.

To make things worse, I think about who is actually doing the work! I order with the server and am attended to by the "helpers." They are the ones who fill the water, bring miscellaneous items that are needed and even deliver the hot food!

There are SOME servers who do the job the way they are supposed to. I imagine that those who "help" are working just as or harder.

What can I do?

Things are better elsewhere (Korea, Japan, etc...) because servers do their job well not because they want extra money, but because the JOB is to do it well.

If you or anyone you know didn't do their job well unless it is for a bonus (and you aren't connected with the powers that be), then you'd be out of there!


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Posted by Joanna
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Sep 17, 2007 at 6:19 pm

you said:

"If you are well off enough to take out food so you don't have to bother cooking it yourself, you are well off enough to leave a tip for low paid workers."

Hmmm... where does that line of thinking end? How's this?

If you are well off enough to take out food...
1) you can buy a round for whomever is at the bar
2) you can rent a limo to take you to and from the take out restaurant
3) you can...

Most of us aren't wanting for anything (financially anyway!) and tipping someone is not going to force them to open a home equity line of credit.

There has to be an intelligent way to handle the tip situation. I have to make sure that those who work hard (even if working hard is what they are SUPPOSED to do) should get what they expect. Those who do not will be disappointed at my table.

Oh, and to the original question. I don't tip for take out. I don't tip at starbucks. I do leave a cold water or a snack for my mailman though... because it is unexpected and a sign of appreciation that they are doing their job.


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Posted by Dont be selfish
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 17, 2007 at 7:21 pm

"If you are well off enough to take out food so you don't have to bother cooking it yourself, you are well off enough to leave a tip for low paid workers."
This isn't a line of thinking, it is a sentence that stands on its own. You can draw any sentence out to the point of ridiculousness, which is what you did. I could do it with your pride in giving the mail carrier a drink of water, but since you take pride in this trivial act, I'll resist. In any event, mail carriers earn a decent living.


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Posted by Fran
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Sep 17, 2007 at 7:24 pm

This is a great thread. Thanks to the OP for asking the question.

Terry wrote:

"A narrow class of people are different - primarily in the hospitality business. There, tipping is a major part of the income and built into the pay structure (even the minimum wage law). If all we stopped tipping, they would have to raise prices to cover it (and service might or might not deteriorate)."

This is very interesting, although I'm not quite sure I understand the origins of the pay structure. So the reason that hospitality workers are paid less is because they may not provide adequate service unless incentivized? Or is it because they handle food, which, if not handled well, could cause some serious problems for the public? I think I may need to Google this.

As for other points, I agree that, generally speaking, we do not tip simply on the principle that someone has provided a service. I don't tip the UPS guy, nor the grocery clerk, nor the dry cleaners staff.

My understanding has been that one tips the wait staff for service during a sit-down meal, not merely for taking your order or providing the food, but for attending to your needs throughout the meal and making the experience (hopefully) a good one. Thus, I've never thought to tip for take-out.




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Posted by Terry
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 17, 2007 at 7:34 pm

There are probably a million pages on this, but here is an Office of Personnel Management pages on the the "tip offset" for "tipped employees" (tipsy employees neet not apply!).

Web Link
SubChapter S11 - Special Wage Rate Schedules


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Posted by Student Worker
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 17, 2007 at 9:36 pm

Awesome comment earlier, Terry.


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Posted by Shannon
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 18, 2007 at 9:39 am

I have a friend who worked as a waiter, and asked him this same question because i had a huge problem paying a tip for someone who just brought me a bag of food from the kitchen. He said yeah, you are expected to tip ...maybe not as much as if you had sat down and been served all evening, but at least 10%.


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Posted by NoWhining
a resident of another community
on Sep 18, 2007 at 10:06 am

As Shannon says, I think 10% of the price of food is a good amount specially as in case of most ( not all) take-out is from inexpensive restaurants and it takes the employes the same extra effort to bag a very expensive meal as a cheap one. If you don't want to tip then don't but I do. Being nice costs only a few dollars why begrudge them ?(incidently, I tip one dollar any time someone pumps gas for me- those people have an awful low pay).
There should be no discussion about the fact that each of us should do as you think it's fair, but then don't say to me" oh,but they (the employees)have never done that for me" to which I answer "have you ever done anything special for them?".
As many people pointed out that in Europe ( I too lived in Europe for a few years) food service employees are salaried employees: the price of the meal has the cost of service included by law ( and generally specified apart from the cost of the food) so no gratuity is expected ( but it makes the employee's day when an "extra" is added) or necessary. The difference between the US and Europe exists because in Europe most waitstaff make a carrier out of it. They are not movie star wannabes, students making ends meet or poor immigrants on a famine income. In Europe (all europe) waitstaff are unionized and have benefits.


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Posted by Joanna
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Sep 18, 2007 at 10:10 am

Selfish:

You are wrong. It is a line of thinking. It is an outlook on how you live your own life and how you expect others to behave.

Strike one.

I tip the postman neither to impress anyone (only the postman and I know about it) nor to make myself feel better. I do it to show appreciation for a job well done. I never tip to make up for low wages.

If I line the pockets of owners who in turn underpay servers, then I have a big problem, don't I? I avoid the entire situation altogether.

Most waiters I know are doing quite well. I don't know about their "helpers" who make the food and carry heavy trays and do the "unimportant" work that is actually very important!

The only times I see a waiter is when they take the order and present the check.


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Posted by Joanna
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Sep 18, 2007 at 10:13 am

NoWhining:

You said.. " oh,but they (the employees)have never done that for me" to which I answer "have you ever done anything special for them?".
-----------

Interesting thought. I don't think it works that way though. In the service industry, it is the server's duty and job to "do something for me." That is the nature of the service industry. Maybe it doesn't sound nice or politically correct, but it is the truth when it comes down to it. The problem today is that good service is the exception, not the rule. I don't have to do anything to deserve good service. What I get, however, is a different story.


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Posted by NoWhining
a resident of another community
on Sep 18, 2007 at 10:21 am

You line of thinking is odd to me: the postman is performing his duties adequatly- he has a good job with excellent benefits and salary and you tip him to show your appreciation. The bagger at the take-out performs adequately-has neither good benefits , nor a good salary nor TENURE( as do postal service eemployees) but you show no appreciation? What does tipping have to do with "lining the pockets of owners who in turn underpay servers"? Would employers pay better if you don't tip? While we wait for that very distant day in the meanwhile people who serve you at take-outs get nothing from you... NIIIIIIICE!


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Posted by NoWhining
a resident of another community
on Sep 18, 2007 at 10:33 am

Joana,
It has been MY experience that I get a lot more good will out of service employees by being good to them.

You say:

" I don't think it works that way though. In the service industry, it is the server's duty and job to "do something for me."
The server doesn't have to go above and beyond duty.

you say:
"The problem today is that good service is the exception, not the rule"

Why are you surprised?
Again you
" I don't have to do anything to deserve good service"

You do. You have to appreciate it and pay for it. If you want
unconditional love check your parents, unbounded admiration and service check your subjects ( oh, too bad you don't reign sovereign?) Otherwise (all others , waitstaff included) the only people who would do anything for you are the ones you do something for. That is the nature of human interactions. Good luck with yours...


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Posted by joe
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 18, 2007 at 1:21 pm

Having read most of this I wonder where the idea of tipping orginated? It seems to add complication and potential unfairness to what should be a simple procedure.

I tip in a restaurant and cab drivers, but not for takeout and not the letter carrier. I would a lot rather just pay a flat fee anywhere. If service is bad (or exceptionally good), write a letter to management.


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Posted by Joanna
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Sep 18, 2007 at 1:57 pm

Whining:

Wrong... again.

A paying customer is the reason the restaurant exists in the first place. We are paying the restaurant for a service. A paying customer deserves the best possible service. A restaurant owner should ensure that the service is at the very least, up to par.

Again, I say that I don't have to do ANYTHING (besides for paying for my food) to deserve good service. It is expected. Of course, only a few establishments understand this.

Why so few?
1) people don't care (you)
2) people don't organize (me)

You are taking this topic out of orbit.

Tip the takeout person? I say no, but I can see how some people would. Some might say that while sitting down, you are served water, your plates are removed so you tip. 95% of the time (in my scientific research... hahaha) the server won't be doing those things. The ones who do, get a very small cut of the tips if at all.

By not tipping the takeout, I am essentially doing the same thing.

I think you are talking about different things. You are talking about tipping because the restaurant owner underpays while I am talking about tipping for a job well done.

I am not in the business of seeing who is underpaid or not. It is all about service. As Joe asked, it would be interesting to see how this idea came about in this country.


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Posted by noWhining
a resident of another community
on Sep 18, 2007 at 2:40 pm

Joana,

A restaurant exists because it's a way to make a living. I haven't seen any restaurants where you pay only for the food. You paying for the food, the decor, the rent, to name a few and in the US certainly not for a portion of the service: you pay that by tipping the server ( certain restaurants include the tip under certain circunstancies ).

If as you claim "Again, I say that I don't have to do ANYTHING (besides for paying for my food) to deserve good service. It is expected. Of course, only a few establishments understand this"

then it would follow (by your own reasoning) that only a few establishments would be in business. But we know that's not true, so there is small problem with the reasoning.

You say that you only tip for a job well done, why not tip the food baggers when they do a good job? and why tip the postal carrier (he must be exceedingly grateful for the water) when all he does is what he should do-deliver and collect mail? Does he do extra services for you and that's why you tip him/her? Or does he deliver mail right to your mail tray?
Indeed, it's all about service. You should recognize this and tip the baggers.

as I am leaving this forum I can understand why you feel that service is lacking:
again you :
"Again, I say that I don't have to do ANYTHING (besides for paying for my food) to deserve good service. It is expected. Of course, only a few establishments understand this."

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online stafff.]

There is nothing better to make those who serve us in any capacity believe that we have their good service in high estime and add that a token of our good will. You should try it sometime.

You could ask (that would be a more adventurous question) why in Europe is not like that, but unhappily I have not time for the lengthy expalnation it would entail.

This is all very silly but not for the baggers. I think I'll increase my tip. I love it when they recognize me on the phone...


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Posted by Joanna
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Sep 18, 2007 at 4:32 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 18, 2007 at 4:35 pm

So I ask the question? Is a tip a reward for good service or is it an unwritten service charge?

If the wait people in the restaurant are not paid enough from their wage, why should it be that the customers should supplement that income voluntarily? Would it not make sense to make a service charge an add on at the end of the bill just like tax?

If a large family from say Europe arrived in a restaurant and caused a lot of extra work say because children made a mess which needed to be cleaned up and there were many changes or ununusual requests made to the menu order and then the family didn't leave a tip because it hadn't been included in the bill, would this be cause for concern whereby a simple inclusing of service charge at the bottom of the bill would have simplified the matter, wouldn't it be easier for all concerned?

I think this "custom" should change. If we need to pay extra for service then it should be charged. If we need to show our gratitude, then "thank you" should suffice.


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Posted by Mikki
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Sep 18, 2007 at 4:37 pm

Joanna,

Do you tip takeout help? If not, that's sad.

Anyone who can afford to live in a place like Palo Alto, and can't give up a few bucks to helpful personnel, or ANYONE who is working and does a good job, needs to rethink their priorities.


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Posted by waiting for you
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 18, 2007 at 5:07 pm

As a waiter in a small, yet busy upscale bistro I feel a close connection to this debate. The waiters in the restaurant are the same people that are taking phone orders and dealing with to-go pick-ups.

If you order $10 worth of food and don't slip me a couple of bucks, no hard feelings, I wouldn't either; but if you have ordered over $30 of food or have made any special requests that require me to triple check your orders to ensure that it's right, a small tip is appreciated. After all, I am taking time away from making sure that my tables are happy to ensure that your food was perpared properly. Now, I'm not talking about a full 18% gratuity, but a few dollars for my time and attention seems reasonable.

As a waiter, I understand that most waiters tend to be scraping by, whether it be for rent money or beer money, and I always try to be generous when I am eating out. At the same time, I understand that waiting tables is not rocket science, and if a waiter does not meet my basic expectations for service, my tip will reflect their shortcomings. After all, the money you leave behind is a reflection of your gratuity and those waiters that belive that they are owed that money just for showing up with your food are mistaken.


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Posted by noWhining
a resident of another community
on Sep 18, 2007 at 5:43 pm

Not tipping for take-out is sad.

I wonder if for you a "thank you"is sufficient pay or you still expect to be paid in cash? What about bonus? Does a thank you do it for you? What about a smile ?is that enough?


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 18, 2007 at 5:55 pm

NW

If a service fee is charged, then a thank you should suffice. If there is no charge and a tip is expected, then how do we know?

Saying thank you, is good manners, whether a tip is left or not.

I hate doing anything for anyone and not being thanked, whether it is part of my job or not. Sometimes, giving a tip is just an excuse not to say thank you. Good manners shows respect, giving a tip shows duty unless it is correlated with a thank you.


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Posted by noWhining
a resident of another community
on Sep 18, 2007 at 6:49 pm

resident,
sure, I agree. but one thing (tipping) is independent from the other (thank you). Thank you is an expression of acknowlegment of others' good deeds, tipping is a payment for a service.
If one doesn't say thank you is bad manners. If one doesn't (and can) tip is avarice and shortchanging the take out person (we are talking about take-out). If a service charge is included, of course, no tip is necessary .

I bet however, that most service people if given the choice between a tip and a thank you would opt for the tip. It does pay rent....


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Posted by curious
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 18, 2007 at 7:40 pm

Wow. I'm amazed at the animosity this thread has generated.

One poster wrote the following: Anyone who can afford to live in a place like Palo Alto, and can't give up a few bucks to helpful personnel, or ANYONE who is working and does a good job, needs to rethink their priorities.

Well, I don't tip the check-out person at Safeway, even if they have to go do a price-check for me. And I don't tip my PASCO garbageperson, even though they do an excellent job (as discussed in another thread.) I don't tip the train conductor who punches my ticket. I always tip the person who washes my car at Lozano. And of course I always tip at a sit-down restaurant. So maybe the previous poster the one who says I should tip "ANYONE who is working and does a good job," thinks I have my priorities wrong. I'm curious if they actually tip all the service personnel I've just mentioned.

Int he meantime, I was very glad to hear from the waiter, and I will take my direction from him. Very small and simple take-out order = no tip necessary. Normal size dinner for my family at CPK = a few bucks, maybe 10% or so. Sounds like a plan to me.


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Posted by Ex-waitress.
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 19, 2007 at 7:51 am

Safeway, Long's etc has Union rules by which their employees live. Piazza's doesn't. Where rules prevail that no tipping is allowed, then the employees don't take tips. Where there aren't, when I get extra help, I tip.

I was a waitress through college. (Many years ago). I worked with others as waitresses. Those who served promptly with a smile and were attentive and didn't screw up the order..got good tips, trust me. Those that didn't, didn't. Called incentive.

I tip for take-out if it is a sit-down restaurant take-out, but not based on price of order. A couple bucks for up to $20-30, a few for more. I never do take out for more than that, so can't comment.




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Posted by jane
a resident of Meadow Park
on Sep 19, 2007 at 8:51 am

This is making my head hurt, all these rules guarantee that some people who depend on tips are not getting them, I had no idea postal delivery people were tipped until a neighbor mentioned it to me when I was about 50. How much simpler to just pay people wages.


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Posted by lolreece
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 19, 2007 at 9:37 am

tipping generally coincides with a service rendered. whether its at a carwash, valet parking or dining.

when you tip, you're saying "thank you for performing this task". that task is generally a little more involved than handing your food to you over the counter and ringing you up.

tipping on a pick up order is pretty much the stupidest thing i've ever heard. maybe it would make more sense to give the money to the person that cooked it since hes the only one who has really done any work in this scenario.

you tip wait staff for WAITING ON YOU.

oh and whoever tips their postman, youre out of your mind. that person is 1. salary and 2. gov. then again, when he goes postal and starts shooting people maybe he'll stop at your door and say "hey, thx for the 5 spot" and keep walking.

its not a matter of being "cheap". if anything its a matter of being able to look at someone and say "you did nothing, you get no $, sorry k?"


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Posted by noWhining
a resident of another community
on Sep 19, 2007 at 12:51 pm

How a simple question about a social habit was so transformed that now if you tip the take-out person it's " is pretty much the stupidest thing i've ever heard" is perhaps a result of little thought on social interactions and their history.
Many centuries ago (indeed even milenia) those subjects who were entirely dependent on the good will and protection of a "lord" of some sort were compensated only by what such "lord" decided their services were worth, without any possibility of a pre- agreement on what its value was. Come the Renaissance (and even a little before ) with the establishment of Guilds the relationship between services providers and rulers was more liberal (but the apprentices of tradesman were still subject to what gift the "master" decided on) and so tradespeople of some note or fame were regularly compensated. The generalization of work for a salary didn't come much later and so the social habit of "tipping" persisted. Not everything in our social interactions in the realm of service providers (very little indeed) is the result of a well thought of policy but its rationale is well rooted in tradition and necessity.
We tip waitstaff at restaurants but not the garbage people though both do a good job. We offer end-of-the-year gifts to grade school teachers but send no such to university professors even if they do an awsome job.

This is because we do what is costumarily established as a social norm. 20 years ago when there were fewer take-out restaurant there was no question about what the norm would be, but now that such establisments are many we wonder what would be the correct thing to do.

I associate them to food establishments- for me a gratuity is in order. Others will rationalize this as they see fit. There is no problem, I think, with this scenario ( that is until my order trumps yours and you start complaing to no avail) except that your "reasons" not to tip do not stand up to scrutiny when evaluated for impact on they take-out people or the centuries old tradional reasons.

I would love it if tips weren't expected for services. But Americas' service economy and financial system is based on them . And so I tip. You don't. Fine for me.
It is not a misdemeanor if you tip or if you don't, even if it is "stupid" according to our correspondent lolreece.
I will keep "waiting for you" excellent comments in mind.

btw, IT IS AGAINST FEDERAL LAW TO TIP THE POSTAL CARRIER MORE THAN $20.00 (it is akin of a bribe legally) but I should think water is fine. So please do not forget to water your postal carrier....


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Posted by noWhining
a resident of another community
on Sep 19, 2007 at 12:55 pm

Yes, I am aware of the origins of the word "salary" -salario, coming from word "sal" meaning salt, the regular pay of roman soldiers. But this regular pay was an exception-only for mercenarys.


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Posted by Remodler
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 19, 2007 at 1:16 pm

My mail carrier uses my portapotty and I think he would say it is more useful than a tip. Maybe its because he gets so much free water!!

All postal workers, Fed Ex drivers, etc. are welcome to use it. I think it will be going soon though so hope you can find another friendly home owner. Sorry.


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Posted by Joanna
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Sep 19, 2007 at 2:47 pm

Hi everyone. To clarify:

1) The tips I leave are for good service.
2) I don't tip to supplement unfair wages by cheap restaurant owners.
3) My mailman smiles and waves. To me, that's good service. No bribes. No wanting special treatment. It is a gesture of kindness that I want to share. Yes, mailmen are paid well and have great benefits. That is irrelevant to my gesture of cold water.

I am curious to hear the opinions of other wait staff on this topic. Obviously no one is going to say, "don't tip me, please." What about completely pooled tips including the staff that do the hard work? That way, the takeout issue is addressed because they are covered.

What if one waiter is not working as hard and therefore taking his cut unfairly? Turn in your apron and id card please.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 19, 2007 at 3:51 pm

Tipping for take out service is ridiculous. I order the food, someone prepares it and I leave. There is no service required.

Should I also tip the retail business clerk who rings up my purchase when I buy something at a store or should I tip the sales person who "sells" me the merchandise because they give me good service?


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Posted by ThanksBob
a resident of another community
on Sep 19, 2007 at 11:25 pm

Bob:
"Tipping for take out service is ridiculous. I order the food, someone prepares it and I leave. There is no service required.

Should I also tip the retail business clerk who rings up my purchase when I buy something at a store or should I tip the sales person who "sells" me the merchandise because they give me good service?"

YOU WIN THE GRAND PRIZE FOR BEST POST (I.E., USING COMMON SENSE).






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Posted by NotQuiteBob
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Sep 20, 2007 at 10:36 am

Well, Bob (and ThanksBob), if the retail clerk runs around the store to get everything you pre-ordered so you can stroll into the store and pick it up at your convenience, then YES, you should tip them, IMO.

What is "Common Sense?"


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Posted by Foodie
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 20, 2007 at 10:44 am

I don't tip for takeout either, with a few exceptions. When I have a long-standing relationship with the vendor, know the employees, and have as a result benefitted from special attention or extra care when I get take out, a feel a tip is in order. I still only tip a few dollars, but I think it's appreciated.

For everything else, I think it's better to err on the side of not tipping. If you tip in a situation where it's not generally expected in the society, you are creating an expectation that will be at best fulfilled in an unreliable way, which I think could have a negative effect on the employee customer relationship overall.

Also, I think in situations where the tip is not generally expected in the society, it could be insulting to employees as well. Businesses often want to offer special service to customers - like taking out packages to cars - as a way of standing out and enticing repeat business. Hence the no tip policies, which make things easier for everyone. It feels good to know that even budget-rate Costco will help me unload my huge packages if I have kids with me or can't otherwise do it myself. When the employees say helpfully, "Oh, don't worry, we'll take those out for you," just because that's what they do, that makes me want to come back (and not hold back on purchasing what I need just because I'm trying to figure out how I can carry it all). I think trying to tip in those situations makes it awkward and diminishes what the business and the employees are offering.


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Posted by Been there
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 20, 2007 at 10:22 pm

Wow, long thread. I confess I haven't read it all, but I have two cents to toss into the pot.

I worked in a restaurant in the kitchen, because I wasn't old enough to wait tables. Let me tell you, working in a restaurant is gruelling work. The waiters made out well if they were good, because their tips made up for the below min. wage pay. A lot of the waiters were working their way through community college.

The kitchen staff were paid min. wage and it was gruelling work. If waiters screwed up orders and the kitchen bailed them out by rushing orders, there was no tip sharing. There were no breaks unless business was slow (which was bad news because you'd be sent home and not paid at all). Imagine this, I was thrilled to leave before the end of summer because I had to have my wisdom teeth taken out!

Tip the working stiffs something. They need someone to brighten their day.


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Posted by Restaurant Manager
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 21, 2007 at 8:30 pm

You are all asking why you don't tip the mailman, the Fedex guy, the Safeway baggers?

Here's why: mail carriers have health insurance, benefits and 401ks and make at least twice the minumum wage, get paid for holidays and sick days and have paid vacation. Same for UPS (though not Fedex, because I believe their drivers 'rent' the trucks) and Safeway checkers/baggers are generally unionized in California.

Servers, on the other hand, make minimum wage (which in California is great for them, but in most states the min wage for servers is 2.38/ph) and contrary to what you all think, those 'helpers' do make a decent amount of money from your tips as well. The server is generally required to 'tip out' up to 40% of their tips to other employees in the restaurant: the bartender, the host/ess, the bussers and the food runners.

Owners cannot raise wages or they will find themselves raising YOUR prices and you will go somewhere cheaper. Overhead costs a lot more than you think it does, and as such, the restaurant industry is an extremely difficult business to get into in the first place. Once you start raising because ppl will no longer tip, you collapse the system. It's really simple.

As to original poster's question, tipping for to go orders is not expected. But it is greatly appreciated and you will be remembered and given excellent service from that point on because it is actually quite rare that people do tip for this. If you want to speed up your to go orders and make a service person's day (because Palo Altans are not the nicest people to serve, let me tell you), tip. If not, no big deal, the next person just might and we'll continue serving you in an orderly and kind fashion.


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Posted by How about wine?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 21, 2007 at 9:15 pm

Thanks, Restaurant Manager. Great post. Could you please address wine and beverage tipping?


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Posted by Keith
a resident of another community
on Oct 12, 2007 at 7:25 pm

I consider tip jars at take out places a place to put change that added up will be appreciated by the staff. It makes their pay a little bit higher, and who wants to carry around all that loose change anyway? The problem as I see it is that it is becoming expected. Where does it end? will I be tipping the cashier at a grocery or convenience store for packing my bags so well? I don't think it is far off from tips in a bathroom. Either provide the service and pay your staff for it or don't (and lose the business).


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