best burger in NYC2Every once in a while, you just get super hungry. But when you’re craving the best sushi in town, the best burger in NYC, or just some delicious curry from your local Thai eatery and you don’t want to go in to eat, you’ve got to take it to go.

Ordering food to go is pretty common, but what is the tipping policy when it comes to getting food in this manner? Is there an etiquette guide where you have to tip, or is it optional? What should you do? We’ve got you covered– read on to find out more.

When you order food to go, you place your order over the phone (or online using sites or apps these days). Then you show up to the physical location of the restaurant or food place you’re picking up from. You go to the desk and you pay using cash or credit. So while they are processing your payment, what should you do? Is this a good time to tip?

Generally, you’re going to get either cash change back from what you paid or be presented with a receipt that you must sign. Then you basically are sent into the Twilight Zone as you wonder whether you should tip and what to tip. It’s also made a bit harder if you want to physically tip with cash but there appears to be no place or jar to tip. Do you awkwardly hand the host processing your order some money?

We’re going to make it a whole lot easier– tipping on to go orders is pretty standard. It’s not required, but it’s nice to do. It’s part of thanking someone for their service. The restaurant and the people working there did go to some trouble to prepare and pack up your food and wait on you now, so it is appropriate to tip just as it would be to tip a waiter or waitress. If someone is benefiting from getting in-house tips and you want to add to their wages for good service, then tip! Whether you’re writing it on a card slip or using cash, even one or two dollars can help.

If you think about it, just as much effort is involved when it comes to getting a to-go order. Someone has to answer the phone or check the order online, make it, package it, give it to you, and ring you out. This is also putting extra energy away from in-house orders, so your tip is acknowledging that extra effort that the collective employees put forth to get you that order when you walk in. Plus, you’re adding to quality of life for employees that depend on tips to boost their income.

At the end of the day, tipping for a to-go order is a good idea. If you can afford to eat out, it’s likely that you can afford a tip as well. Tip a little more if you particularly get a lot of food, about three to five dollars. Unless you have had a bad experience, it’s considered polite to tip at least a little to the house for preparing your food and making it so convenient for you to stop in, get your food, and go enjoy it. So the next time you get takeout, tip! They will appreciate it and you will continue to get great service. What’s not to like?