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If I go to a restaurant to carry out dinners, and drink two beers at the bar while I’m waiting, do I tip on the dinner order? Or the bar tab? I sit at the bar, order the two dinners and while I’m waiting I have two beers. The bartender who took the dinner order delivers that order to me, while still at the bar. The two beers total $7.00. The two dinners total $30.00. It’s a $37.00 tab. What is a proper tip in that situation? 

While I am sure I will get emails from readers who disagree with me here, I believe you should tip 15 to 20 percent on the entire bill, including the food you are taking to go. If it were me, I’d tip 20 percent.

While you only occupied a seat to consume your two beers, someone had to make and pack that food and, unfortunately, we don’t live in a country where restaurant owners must pay their staffs a living wage. Hourly wage requirements for restaurant workers are extremely low, and tips are how the staff makes their living. You should compensate the entire staff for their time and effort, not just for the two beers you consumed while waiting on the food. You should have tipped 20 percent even if you hadn’t consumed two beers while waiting. If you don’t like tipping on takeout from a restaurant, then order your takeout from a fast food or fast casual restaurant like Chipotle where the staff is at least paid a mandatory minimum wage.