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I just saw the "Tipping for takeout food in the USA" question. Curbside takeout was not addressed in any of the answers to that question, so that is why I am asking this question.

Many American restaurants now offer "curbside takeout". That is where you call the restaurant to place your takeout order. Then when you arrive at the restaurant, you are supposed to park in one of the designated "curbside takeout" parking spots. You do not get out of your car - instead an employee will come out and ask for your name and then go back into the restaurant to get your order. Then they'll come back out with your food and take your payment. If you pay with a credit card, they have to come out a third time to get your signature. That's a lot of trips in and out of the restaurant.

The answers to the other question say that you're not supposed to tip for takeout, but that you are supposed to tip for delivery/service. One could argue that with curbside takeout, they are providing a service by delivering the food to your car.

So are you supposed to tip for curbside takeout?

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In the US, it is generally advised you do not tip for takeout; however, this does not prohibit you from tipping the cashier anyways (which I do).

There's no concrete answer for this. Remember, tipping is a way to show that you appreciate the service wrought upon you; people don't tip if the service is bad or horrible, or tip less.

For myself, if I have to pick up food from the curbside takeout like you mentioned, I always tip 15%, because I consider it a service (I sit in my car and relax, and the staff needs to get the meals to my car and the payment processed). Of course, this can change if the experience is worse or better.

If you search online there's plenty of debate as to whether or not curbside takeout warrants a tip. I'd say at the end of the day, it's really up to you. Do you feel the service done for you is enough to warrant a tip?

Also note, some restaurants have employees only getting paid federal wage ($2.13 an hour) as a server, so getting a tip can be crucial in keeping their minimal wage up. As far as I know, there are only 7 states in the US that have a mandatory minimum wage for servers (~$7.25 USD).

Some additional debates:

  • I thought your answer to the other question was very clear: "No. You don't tip unless it's a delivery charge." Also, it doesn't matter that curbside takeout is unique to the US, since I asked specifically about the US. – pacoverflow May 19 '15 at 14:33
  • @pacoverflow Good point, I'll revise it. – yuritsuki May 19 '15 at 15:54
  • Love the wording "wrought upon you" :) – Berwyn Jun 16 '16 at 17:09

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