All you did was order a cup of coffee at the counter, but now you’ve got an iPad screen prompting you to leave an optional gratuity. But what’s the etiquette here? We were confused, too, so we asked the queen of modern manners—and founder of Beaumont Etiquette—Myka Meier to weigh in.
What is the proper protocol for tipping at the takeout counter? “Generally speaking, it is not customary to tip at the takeout counter. If you think the service was great or the person helping you out was exceptional, then it’s absolutely a nice thing to tip if you wish. But it’s not expected. And if you barely speak to the person taking your order, I would not leave a tip.”
How much should you tip in a takeout situation? “If you’re at a casual bar that you walked up to and were just buying one or two inexpensive drinks, it’s usually $1 to $2 per drink. (If service is amazing, you are welcome to tip more.) That being said, if you put your credit card down for a tab and come back at the end of the night, it is customary to tip 15 to 20 percent of the bill before tax.”
I don’t want to leave a tip. How do I feel less awkward? “If you choose not to tip at a takeout counter, there is no reason to acknowledge it. Likely, the interaction with the person ringing up your order was so fast, they didn’t expect a tip anyway.”