Article posted Thursday, October 6, 2011 10:08am

Dear Miss Manners,

I’m proud to announce that I’m a 20 percent tipper when it comes to eating meals out. Whether the server is good, bad or indifferent, it’s my belief that they’re providing a service and performing a job that most people wouldn’t want to. So, while I have no qualms about the few dollars I shell out when I dine in, I’m not so sure what’s proper when it comes to tipping on take-out food. Any guidance?

To Tip or Not to Tip

Sister Bay, WI

Dear To Tip or Not to Tip,

This question comes up again and again and each time I really have to think carefully about the answer. The truth is, opinions vary on this one. I think what it may come down to is the type of restaurant and the food being offered. If it is a restaurant geared for take-out such as a Chinese restaurant or a pizza place and they have an efficient system for processing your orders quickly, then I think you can leave an extra buck or two, particularly if it’s a waitress or waiter that brings your order to you. If it’s a more elaborate order, i.e., three chicken dinners with sides as well as two pot roast specials, a lot more time is involved in preparing your meals. I’ve been told that it’s much more difficult and time consuming to make an order look appetizing in a carry out box versus plating for in house diners. You also need to remember that servers are paid lower hourly wages based on the assumption that they will be making most of their money in tips. If they spend a lot of time on carryout orders, they may be losing money.

There are all kinds of tipping guides online and some say that you should tip as much as 20 percent for carryout. Personally, I feel this is excessive. I would think 10 to 15 percent would be more appropriate. However, while I work with the public, I am not a server. So, if any waiters or waitresses are out there reading this, I’d like to hear what your opinions are on this subject. Please drop me a line and let me know what you think.

Good luck,

Mary Pat