to tip or not to tip?

I grab take-out a few times a week, sometimes during a busy day at work, sometimes when manfriend and I are too busy to cook.   Yesterday I picked up a salad for lunch; as I was signing the bill I honestly didn’t know what to do for the tip.   I hadn’t tried my food yet so I didn’t know what it was going to be like.  The order had been completed in the specified amount of time.   I didn’t end up tipping.   Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.  What’s the take-out tipping protocol?

If tipping is to supplement and thank the waitstaff for service, who gets a tip I might drop for take-out?   The chef?   The hostess?   The bartender?  The waiter who brought it the the front counter?  Does that mean that the waitstaff at a restaurant might share a tip with the kitchen for normal service?

I posed this question on twitter yesterday and here were a few responses:

“i have never in my life tipped when picking up takeout. um, have I been dicking over restaurants my entire life??”

“…always tip a couple of bucks. I figure if I’m too lazy to pick it up then I should say thank you & tip.”

Is there a tipping rulebook somewhere I can refer to?


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