Entertaining & Etiquette 29

Tipping at places with counter service

Garlic Guy | Mar 4, 201204:10 PM

I'm sure this question, or a variation of it, comes up a lot, but I've been on the Manhattan board for a while and haven't seen it, and I tried several different searches and couldn't find anything on point.

I know that there's some debate about whether it's necessary to tip on take-out, but believe that the general consensus is "no." If you accept that as a given, what about those places (like a number of hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurants with big photographs of the food on the walls with captions in cheesy yellow lettering) that are primarily take-out places but have some tables and chairs set up? If you go up to the counter, place your order, pay, wait, pick up your food at the counter, bring it to a table, sit down, and eat, do you need to tip?

What about places that seem to have a reasonable number of people eat in, but that give you your food at the counter, make you pay when you order, and don't actually wait on you? My theory has generally been that I don't need to tip even if I sit down and eat at such places, but I'm starting to go to a couple of them once every week or two and am starting to worry that I'm being cheap or a freeloader. On the other hand...if I don't tip at Chipotle, why would I have to tip at the Turkish place down the street that serves its food the same way?

And if you do tip at places like that, how much?


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