Why and How to Consider Tipping for Takeout: A Comprehensive Guide

At a time when the pandemic has changed the restaurant industry, many eateries are transitioning to primarily take-out and delivery orders. This comes with unique challenges for restaurants – and for their customers. One of those challenges is how to tip on takeout orders. This guide addresses why and how customers should consider tipping for takeout, and the importance of supporting local restaurants.

Tipping for takeout orders is a matter of customer courtesy and gratitude. Thus, customers must take into account the quality of service received from a restaurant, including whether their order was accurate, how carefully it was packaged, and if it was ontime. Customers should also consider the added expenses restaurants incur when they offer takeout or delivery services, such as the cost of packaging. In addition, customers should take into account the current financial hardships restaurant workers are facing due to the pandemic and reduced business.

The Benefits of Tipping for Takeout

We’ve all been there; at the cash register at a restaurant and presented with the opportunity to tip our takeout order. While it can be difficult to make this decision on the spot, it’s important to recognize that an extra tip for takeout orders can provide many key benefits. This is especially true when the takeout order was a particularly big one or the customer service was particularly helpful.

Tipping for takeout orders is beneficial for both the customer and the server. It helps the customer feel more appreciated and the server feel more compensated for their labor. Plus, it can help employers create a better work atmosphere that encourages quality customer service.

How Much Should You Tip for Takeout?

The amount of the tip you give for takeout orders should vary depending on a few factors. One key factor is the size of the order – generally, the bigger the order, the bigger the tip should be. Additionally, you should consider the level of service you’ve received. If the server went out of their way to help make your takeout order a smooth and successful one, then you should consider throwing in an extra few dollars.

The typical minimum tip amount for takeout orders is 10 percent of the total cost. You should always be sure to include gratuity when you’re calculating the total cost of your order. If you want to exceed the minimum amount, you could consider tipping up to 15 or 18 percent if you’d like.

Do You Have to Tip for Takeout?

Whether or not to tip for takeout is ultimately up to individual preference. In some countries, tips are largely expected for takeout orders and, in other places, tips are reserved only for special occasions and fully catered events. That being said, most customers should consider tipping for takeout orders in order to show gratitude and appreciation for the person taking the time to prepare and serve your food.

However, there are some instances where it’s not necessary to tip for takeout orders. For example, if the takeout order was large, complex, and made with multiple ingredients. Additionally, you may consider foregoing the tip if you received particularly poor customer service.


Overall, deciding whether or not to tip for takeout orders is a personal choice that you should make based on your individual preference and the quality of the customer service. However, most customers should consider tipping according to the 10 to 15% standard. By following this simple rule, you can show that you value the efforts of the restaurant staff and appreciate the food they prepared for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is tipping for takeout?

Tipping for takeout is when customers leave a gratuity for a food delivery person, restaurant crew, or other food vendor for services rendered when they purchase their food.

Is it customary to tip for takeout?

It is becoming more common to tip for takeout, considering the work involved in preparing and delivering the food. Though it is not required, leaving a tip is a great way to show appreciation for the service.

How much should I tip for takeout?

When tipping for takeout, a general rule of thumb is to leave a 10-20% gratuity, depending on the quality of the service. However, if your order is more complicated or requires special instructions, you may want to leave a larger tip.

Should I tip the same amount I would in a restaurant?

No, you do not have to tip the same amount you would in a restaurant. However, it is appropriate to leave a 10-20% gratuity when tipping for takeout, unless your order is more complex.

Is it better to tip in cash or include the tip in the payment?

It is best to include the tip in the payment whenever possible to reduce contact. You can either add a gratuity when you pay online or include it when you drop off your payment. If you are paying with cash, you can leave the tip separately.

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