We get take out for dinner at least once a week. Sushi, pizza, Thai... Some nights you just don't feel like cooking so you pay someone else to do it for you, right?

I always get a little anxious when I go to pick up the order and have to sign the credit card slip. The receipt is the same as if I was dining in the restaurant with an open line for a tip. What's the protocol here? Am I supposed to tip on take out orders?


Here's how it usually goes down: If the hostess or waitstaff who brought my take out order from the kitchen hangs around to watch me sign, I may tip a few dollars, but not the same 20% that I would leave if I was dining in. If I don't have an audience, I may not leave a tip for my take out. Is that wrong?

I've worked in restaurants before and I was never personally offended if a take out customer didn't leave a tip. As a waitress, I did not receive a portion of the take out tip anyway, so it didn't impact me. Any take out tips were usually divided among the kitchen staff.


So, what's the etiquette here? To tip or not to tip on take out orders?