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When to Tip?

Earlier tonight I was confronted with a rather unusual situation at a restaurant.

I was given the mission of picking up a carry out order for dinner, and also be a tour guide on the way to the restaurant for one of my sister’s friends who is in town for the week.

The restaurant that was chosen was Olympia’s Kebab House, as my sister has a penchant for Greek cuisine and I was happy to be able to try a new type of food, as I’ve never eaten authentic Greek food before.

Since I had never been to that restaurant, and the visiting friend hadn’t either, we decided to order an appetizer while we waited for the rest of our order.

Knowing that we had other people waiting back at the house for us to return with their dinners, we kept it pretty simple and only ordered one thing, which happened to be the flaming cheese. It was an interesting food, but in a good way- because when is cheese ever really a bad thing?

When the check came, I was presented with the dilemma of how to appropriately tip.

Usually it’s a fairly simple formula, where you tip according to what you had served to you. Since we only ordered an appetizer to eat at the restaurant and our entrees were carry-out, I had no idea what a reasonable tip would be.

I ended up sending a quick text to my sister because I assumed she would be much wiser than me on this, but she was a little unsure of the proper way to tip in this situation, too.

We decided that the correct way would be tipping just for the appetizer, since that was the only real thing that had been served. I ended up tipping for just the appetizer, and added a few bucks for the trouble of him getting our other part of the order, but still don’t know if that was right.

With the exception of one summer in high school, I’ve never worked in a restaurant, and have never been a server, so I still feel like I should have tipped more, and have considered driving back to leave a better tip.

Should I have tipped more, or was the way I handled the situation correct?

One Response

  1. Katy–I think you did exactly the right thing. I waited tables for two summers in college, and serving a single appetizer is really, really easy. It’s a lot different than serving an entire meal, engaging the guests, keeping their drinks full, making sure they have the food at the right times, etc. A single appetizer is quite easy, and it was a nice bonus that you threw in a few extra bucks too.

    I am curious, though, what standard tipping procedure is for carryout. Again, it’s a lot less work than taking care of someone for an entire meal, but packing up the food takes some extra time too for one person. Does the tip end up in that person’s hands?

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