In the age of social distancing, more and more people are turning to takeout for their meals. Whether it’s delivery, curbside pickup or drive-through, there’s no shortage of options when it comes to enjoying restaurant food without dining in. But with all these choices come questions: How much should you tip for takeout? Is it different from dining in? Is it even necessary?

This article will explore the nuances of tipping for takeout. We’ll compare different types of takeout services, discuss guidelines for creating your own tipping policy, examine the social and cultural implications of leaving a gratuity and investigate why people choose to tip for takeout. By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of how much to tip for takeout and why it matters.

Comparing Tipping Etiquette for Different Types of Takeout Services

When it comes to takeout, there are several types of services available. Understanding the nuances of each one is key to making an informed decision about how much to tip.

Delivery Services

Delivery services are becoming increasingly popular as restaurants look for ways to keep their businesses afloat during the pandemic. Many restaurants partner with third-party delivery services such as DoorDash, UberEats and Grubhub, while others offer their own delivery service. Delivery drivers are typically paid a flat fee per order, plus any tips they receive.

The recommended amount to tip for delivery is 10–20% of the total bill (including taxes). If the delivery driver goes out of their way, such as bringing the food up to your door or delivering on a rainy day, you can opt to tip a little extra.

Curbside Pickup

Many restaurants now offer curbside pickup, which allows customers to call ahead and pick up their order at the curb. This saves time and eliminates the need to wait inside the restaurant. The recommended tip for curbside pickup is 10%. However, if you have a large order or require special assistance, you can opt to tip a little extra.


Drive-throughs have been around for decades, but they’ve become even more popular since the pandemic began. It’s generally not necessary to tip for a drive-through order, though you can choose to do so. If you do decide to leave a tip, the recommended amount is 5–10% of the total bill.

Creating a Guide to Tipping for Takeout

Once you understand the different types of takeout services available, it’s time to create your own tipping guide. To do this, consider the following factors:

Establishing Guidelines

Think about how much you usually tip for dine-in orders and use that as a starting point. If you typically tip 20%, you can use that as a guideline for takeout orders as well. However, you may want to adjust your tipping percentage depending on the type of service you’re using. For example, 10–15% is standard for delivery, while 5–10% is standard for drive-through orders.

Factors to Consider

When deciding how much to tip for takeout, consider the quality of service you received. Was the food delivered on time? Did the driver go out of their way to help you? Did the staff accommodate any special requests you made? All of these things can affect how much you choose to tip.

Exploring the Social and Cultural Implications of Tipping for Takeout
Exploring the Social and Cultural Implications of Tipping for Takeout

Exploring the Social and Cultural Implications of Tipping for Takeout

Tipping for takeout isn’t just about money; it’s also about expressing gratitude and appreciation. When you leave a gratuity, you’re showing your appreciation for the hard work of restaurant employees who are often underpaid and overworked.

Gratuity as a Sign of Appreciation

Leaving a tip for takeout is a way to show your appreciation for the people who prepared your food and delivered it to you. It’s a gesture of kindness and respect, and it can make a big difference in the lives of restaurant employees.

Impact on Restaurant Employees

Tipping can have a significant impact on restaurant employees, especially those who rely on tips as their primary source of income. During the pandemic, many restaurants have had to reduce their hours, resulting in fewer opportunities for employees to earn tips. By leaving a gratuity for takeout, you’re helping to offset some of the financial losses these employees have experienced.

Examining the Impact of Tipping on Restaurants’ Bottom Lines

Although tipping for takeout is a way to show appreciation for restaurant employees, it can also have an impact on the restaurant’s bottom line. Here’s a closer look at both the benefits and challenges of tipping for takeout.

Benefits of Tipping

Tipping for takeout can be beneficial for restaurants in several ways. First, it helps to offset the cost of labor, which can be especially important in times of reduced business. Additionally, tips can incentivize employees to provide superior service, which can lead to better customer experiences and higher customer satisfaction.

Challenges of Tipping

On the other hand, tipping can also present some challenges for restaurants. Since tips are not included in the price of the meal, customers may be reluctant to pay extra. Additionally, some customers may not be aware of the tipping etiquette, leading to confusion and frustration. Finally, there may be legal issues to consider, such as minimum wage laws and tip pooling.

Investigating Why People Tip for Takeout
Investigating Why People Tip for Takeout

Investigating Why People Tip for Takeout

Now that we’ve explored the impact of tipping on restaurants’ bottom lines, let’s take a closer look at why people choose to tip for takeout. Here are a few common reasons:

Reasons for Tipping

People tip for takeout for a variety of reasons. For some, it’s a way to show their appreciation for the hard work of restaurant employees. Others may tip to support local businesses or as a gesture of kindness. Additionally, some people may feel obligated to tip, either out of habit or because they feel guilty about not dining in.

Common Misconceptions

Despite the fact that tipping is becoming increasingly common for takeout, there are still some misconceptions about when and how much to tip. Some people mistakenly believe that tipping is only necessary for delivery orders, while others think that 10% is the standard tip for all types of takeout orders. It’s important to remember that tipping is a personal decision, and the amount you tip should be based on your own preferences and budget.

Analyzing the Differences in Tipping Across Cities and States

Tipping customs vary from city to city and state to state. To ensure that you’re adhering to the local customs, it’s important to do some research before tipping for takeout. Here are a few ways to get started:

Researching Local Customs

If you’re unsure of the tipping customs in your area, start by asking friends and family members. You can also search online for information about local tipping habits. Additionally, you can check with the restaurant to see if they have any recommendations.

Understanding Regional Variations

Tipping customs can also vary by region. For example, people in the Midwest tend to be more generous tippers than those in the Northeast. Additionally, cities with higher costs of living tend to have higher tipping expectations. It’s important to be aware of these regional variations when deciding how much to tip for takeout.

Examining How Much to Tip for Takeout for Different Types of Orders
Examining How Much to Tip for Takeout for Different Types of Orders

Examining How Much to Tip for Takeout for Different Types of Orders

Finally, let’s explore how much to tip for different types of takeout orders. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind:

Standard Orders

For a standard takeout order, 10–20% is the recommended amount to tip. If the order was particularly large or complicated, you may choose to tip a little extra.

Special Requests

If you requested something specific, such as adding extra toppings or substituting ingredients, you may want to tip a bit more. A good rule of thumb is to tip an extra 5–10% for special requests.


Tipping for takeout isn’t always straightforward. However, by understanding the different types of takeout services, creating your own tipping guidelines and researching local customs, you can make an informed decision about how much to tip. Ultimately, tipping for takeout is a way to show your appreciation for restaurant employees and support local businesses. As long as you’re mindful of your budget and respectful of local customs, you can’t go wrong.

By Happy Recommender

Hi, I'm Happy Recommender, and I have a passion for sharing intriguing and beneficial products with others. I am also an enthusiast of learning and take pleasure in simplifying complex ideas.

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