Mar 18, 2022 - Business

Tipping confusion for carryout

Illustration of a payment tablet with a tip button showing numbers changing from zero to 20 percent.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

We just marked the two-year anniversary of bars and restaurants being shut down as part of the city and state's COVID-19 restrictions. Many places were able to survive through federal relief funds, but also by offering curbside and carryout options.

The big question: As the pandemic winds down and with curbside and carryout here to stay, what are the new rules on tipping?

Why it matters: Food prices and restaurant costs have increased, and many of us were tipping on regular carryout services to help restaurant's front-line essential workers.

Context: Restaurants are still pressing Congress to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund and are also having trouble with staffing, which leads to fewer tables available.

The big picture: Cashless technology makes it easier to tip with the touch of a finger. But when you're spending $40-$50 on a carryout meal and the options on the screen are 15%, 20%, and 25%, you could be tipping up to $10 dollars on a meal that didn't include any wait service.

💭 Justin's thought bubble: I have always been a carryout tipper. I think it comes from my days as a barista in college. But I have noticed that a couple of bucks has turned into an expected percentage. I'm all for it, but it seems to fly in the face of why we tip in the first place.

📫 Take our carryout tipping survey and email [email protected] with your thoughts. We'll include both in a story next week.


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