Tipping For Takeout vs. Delivery During Covid: Mister Manners' Guide For The Pandemic

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It's no secret that many of us have ordered a lot more takeout during the pandemic, which has been a great way to support the restaurant industry during Covid. While some of us are having everything delivered right to our door, others are doing curbside pickup — so should you tip more for one or the other, especially because we're in the midst of a pandemic? Mister Manners Thomas P. Farley answers.

Question: "I've been getting a lot more takeout than ever before. How much should I be tipping if I'm picking up my meal vs. having it delivered?"
- Jessica, viewer, via Facebook

"[It's] somewhat guided by what your own financial circumstances are," Mister Manners says. "However, this one's got the added layer that we know that the whole hospitality industry has been so hard-hit by this pandemic. It may be that you've got friends and family members that work in restaurants that have been just completely shuttered for the past 6, 7, 8 months — and maybe never to reopen. So the fact that we're doing that much more takeout than we normally would, I want everything to be mindful that — providing your own circumstances allow — that you are generous, even when you're doing a pickup order for takeout as opposed to simply delivery. And the reason for that — apart from wanting to help these people who have been through a very difficult 2020 — we also want to remember the fact that there are people who are packing your bag, making sure you have the utensils you need, the napkins you need. This may be a server who is taking time away from a table that he or she is waiting on to ring you up. That's a lost income opportunity. So when you get home with that delivery bag, and nothing spilled, you've got containers, you've got utensils, you've got your napkins, the food's hot, it's delicious — you want to reward."

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Mister Manners' Takeout/Delivery Tipping Guide:

TAKEOUT TIP: 10% (pandemic or not)


"During times of pandemic," Mister Manners adds, "or if there's ever an increased lockdown in your community where you're just not leaving your home at all — or there's a huge snowstorm — they're saving you the trouble of going outside. They're the frontline responders in the world of food. Remember them accordingly, and if you can, [give] even more than 20%."

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