Ask Tom: How to Tip for Carryout

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

A follower of my online food chat wants to know how much of a thank-you he should leave when he orders carryout from a restaurant. "I find myself somewhat perplexed about whether I should include a tip when I pay for the meal(s). I realize that the usual 20 percent for table service is not necessary, but what is appropriate for this situation?"

I responded that I typically tip 10 percent of the bill for takeout, because even when you're not eating in, someone has to handle your request. After the live discussion, another reader pointed out that that "someone" is frequently the bartender, who has to "take your order, pack it up, ring you up, make change, get you extra bread or utensils" -- all tasks that take away from customers at the bar and in the dining room and that merit a monetary reward.

Got a dining question? Send your thoughts, wishes and, yes, even gripes to asktom@washpost.com or to Ask Tom, The Washington Post Magazine, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. Please include a daytime telephone number.


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