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How much should I tip at curbside pickup?

How much should I tip at curbside pickup?

The social distancing initiative seen during the 2020 worldwide pandemic (COVID-19) forced the food and beverage industry to quickly adapt or risk closing.

One of the innovations presented by restaurants was the solution of “curbside pickup”. This new toggle allowed consumers to order online and simply drive their car near the entrance of the restaurant while a representative hand delivered their prepared meal to the trunk/hatch. With a wave of the hand, the consumer drove away feeling like a king being brought the gifts of his people.

I continue to be amazed by the efficiency created by countless restaurants preparing a large, catered meal to-go for curbside pickup. One of our favorite catering providers has created signage and an elaborate cone lined maze through the parking that seamlessly segments the vehicles entering from the vehicles exiting. It is a masterpiece.

But this disconnect in traditional commerce created yet another variable in the tip valuation. After all, if they restaurant hands you the bag at the cary out counter or at the car – aren’t they providing the same service of hospitality?

The latest Average Tip surveys are showing 5% for curbside pickup.

But as with any act of gratitude – when the to go bag includes silverware, napkins and in some cases “bread and butter” – a small increase in the % of tip is probably warranted.

How much to tip editor

Matthew McCoy

Editor and Writer

Matthew McCoy is a author, blog contributor, and editor for

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