Duck Sesame Pancake from C & C Prosperity Dumplings (69 Clinton Street, 212-228-0988)
Before we get to the big issue here — do you tip for takeout Chinese food (or anything like it) — let’s talk about this modern mouth marvel.
For a mere $2, Prosperity serves up a sesame snack that is one of the best in this quick bread subgenre.
Although the pancake has a greasy, salty, garlicky air — and plentiful scallion — the soft, moist meat, vinegary carrots, and crisp cilantro almost give this sandwich a banh mi vibe.
But yes, getting back to our question . . .
So what is the answer?
Well, without getting into what is “expected,” tipping-wise, in America, we will say that it’s always correct to tip for a food service — especially when it’s delivered to you.
(Tangent: if you ever find yourself at a conventional restaurant and feel the service is so terrible that it doesn’t merit a tip, you should talk to the manager rather than just not tip, and then decide upon a gratuity-oriented plan of action. But that’s another discussion entirely.)
Anyway, how much you should tip for takeout is not as clear cut.
If you buy something that’s five bucks, a dollar in the in-restaurant tip jar is a good starting point.
Similarly, if something winds up being $8, we’ll typically pay with a $10 bill and leave the change.
Obviously, the tip should increase if someone is bringing you the food — we would argue that such is similar to table service.
Sometimes, that can’t happen — say, if you realize last-minute that the place is cash only, or if the eatery took your credit card info via phone but can’t accept credit tips.
However — and this is coming from someone who is totally biased from working in the service industry — it’s way worse to under-tip than over-tip.
So yeah, use your gut, but don’t be stingy. Food service is fucking hard, so be nice to the people feeding you.
That make sense?