Wait a Minute…Would You Like to Leave a Tip BEFORE Service Even Begins?

To say that times are bad for many businesses due to the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic is an understatement — and waiters, waitresses, and other service people at dining establishments are having a more difficult time than usual earning a living and making ends meet…

Wait a Minute…Would You Like to Leave a Tip BEFORE Service Even Begins?

…but does that mean that they deserve to be given a gratuity prior to the start of offering service?

A friend of mine recently went to order a pizza — but although the business still has not opened its doors to the public nor offers delivery service, customers can place orders to pick up their favorite pizzas and other foods.

He wanted to pay for his order when he picked up his pizza, as he has had issues with paying via telephone when ordering pizza in recent months — but the employee insisted that he pay for his order by giving his credit card information while they were still talking on the telephone, which he did.

He was then astounded by one of the questions which was asked of him during the telephone call: “Would you like to leave a tip?”


Sure, the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic has had service people reeling financially — especially in the restaurant and dining industries — to the point at which customers have been leaving more money for gratuities than they would have prior to the pandemic. My friend is one of those customers who believes in supporting people who are less fortunate and can be rather generous when tipping workers in return for service — but he seriously balked at the idea of being asked for a tip while still placing an order: “What business has their employees asking for a tip while still taking an order? Isn’t that somewhat like begging?”


Both the friend and the dining establishment to which this article alludes are indeed the same as those who were mentioned in this article pertaining to one example of why a pandemic is not the time to lose customers.

Some people believe that the word tips is derived from the acronym to insure proper service — and that would especially apply towards giving a gratuity prior to the beginning of service to ensure from the start that the service will be better than usual. That probably does work some of the time — but I cannot imagine it works all of the time. My friend claims that he has paid a gratuity in the past before the telephone call had even concluded — and yet, issues still arose: the pizza was not ready for approximately an hour was one of several examples…

…but he still orders from this business because — well — their food is simply that good.

Would you give a gratuity prior to service even beginning? If you have done so in the past, did you indeed get better service than if you had waited until the end of the customer experience?

Gratuities and tips have long been controversial with regards to travel and dining — to the point of contentiousness from all sides of the issue, as evidenced by the following articles which I wrote for The Gate over the years…

Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

7 thoughts on “Wait a Minute…Would You Like to Leave a Tip BEFORE Service Even Begins?”

  1. Eddy Vue says:

    Why is this even an article???? When I order a pizza (or any food for delivery) *online* (both pre COVID and currently), Dominos (or any other restaurant) asks if I want to add a tip. This is nothing new. Has your friend been living under a rock all this while? Or his first time ordering pizza or food?

    If they are taking orders over the phone I assume they follow the same workflow/script. This isn’t really about COVID changing habits. This has been a thing for eons.

    We can discuss the issue (tips before service) separately but don’t blame it on COVID.

  2. NB_ga says:

    I have tried that with food delivery places (DoorDash/ GrubHub) and pre-tipping does not seem to help or hurt the service. It is completely hit or miss either way.

    I have ordered from a different location of the same restaurant referenced in this article. And I did tip ahead of time – forced by the fact that my location will not even allow customers in the door but rather meet you at the door and slide your pizza through a crack – yet my order is almost always at least slightly wrong. Not a lot of choice for pizza around here!

  3. Mike says:

    I never tip for carry out. By not tipping, I vote with my money and send a message to the restaurant owner that they need to pay their employees a fair wage. They are more than welcome to raise prices to pay their employees more.
    I especially don’t tip for delivery drivers. This forces the delivery companies to pay them fairly..That’s my intention at least.

    1. Carl WV says:

      It may be you intention, but you certainly cant really believe it.

  4. Carl WV says:

    Nothing new. When they swipe your card when ordering and paying for take-out on-site it usually asks about tip. And do you have any idea how much places lost when they let people order without prepayment?

  5. Lisa Rasmussen says:

    People still tip? What kind of 3rd world country are you guys in?

  6. Billy Bob says:

    Was pretty surprised to see tip lines even on fast food receipts.
    All this BS about tipping everyone has actually motivated me to stay away from places that try to coerce tips out of their customers. That’s my policy going forward.

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