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June 23, 2014


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The last carhop we used was over 50 years ago, it was at an A&W root beer in what is now Silicon Valley, and "NO!" we didn't give a tip.

I tend to tip servers who actually physically bring me the food--e.g., restaurants where you place an order at the counter and then go sit at a table, where the food is later brought. Just a buck or two, but something. I think the principle is the same with a carhop (maybe even more so, since they have to come outside to you, regardless [?] of weather). But they should definitely put the option on the credit card reader, especially these days when people are carrying less cash generally.

I suspect that Sonic has already considered this and the omission of a tip line on the credit card is intentional.

I usually tip a buck or 2 (and try to remember to have actual cash on me when we go to Sonic). I would say that if you don't want to tip them, most Sonics have drive-thrus.

Now, I didn't tip last night as the minor league baseball game, even though they have a ridiculous tip line for credit cards at the freaking concession stand!!

We don't tip carhops. Normally the service isn't great at restaurants like this, and we rarely have cash.

Since we follow the Dave Ramsey method of using envelopes we always carry cash. In Florida we have Sonic's as well. Most of the people working at Sonic are local high school kids, so yes I always give them a tip of about a dollar or two. If I were visiting a restaurant I would give the server a tip, and I think this is no different. We are paying for the service. I even tip at buffet style restaurants even though they don't bring food to us, they keep the drinks following and the tables clean.

yes, but minimal, a "buck and change" rounding the bill "up" is my norm for a place like Sonic..here in WA the min wage is the highest state in the nation and servers are NOT exempt, my tip usually is $2-3 on a $20~ or so bill (includes the 8.8% sales tax too btw). At a buffet the same buck and change rounding the bill up applies. We in WA pay slightly higher menu prices for a bit slower service (less scheduled hours) since the min wage is so high (%9.32) so it all works out. I never tip 20% unless something magic or exceptional happened. Years ago 10% was norm, then 15%, now 18-20% and tip jars are everywhere, I pay everything by credit card and rarely carry change unless it is found along the way so sometimes it's bothersome. Sonic needs to put a tip line on the credit card receipt. Still I always tip everywhere but, it's minimal to modest. Like buck a day for a motel maid, $2 for a skycap, maybe 10% ish for a cab, etc.,..typically it's a few $$ and the change to round off the credit card bill.

Oh. My. Gosh. Yes, you tip a carhop! Not a buck or two unless you've ordered more than a few drinks or food, but if you are just going there to get yourself a drink, tip 40 or 50 cents or whatever. Every day, Sonic has happy hour from 2-4 and you can get a giant drink of almost any flavor combination for 1/2 price, so you are getting a much cheaper drink, plus someone is bringing it to you, plus you get a much better product. Keep some quarters or other loose change in your car, for crying out loud.

Only if they bring your food on roller skates... just kidding. If they bring you things, yes you should give a nominal tip. If it's a nominal service (buffet, Sonic), tip less, as opposed to full-service at a restaurant, where they take your order and do more.

I would say that you only tip them if they are doing there job well. I would think that a car hop is being paid at least minimum wage and is not a server in the same sense as someone at a sitdown restaurant is, and a tip is not expected, but if you have the money, and they are doing a good job, tip them! And when in doubt, be generous!

My very first job was as a carhop at a Stewart's root beer stand (similar to an A&W stand I think). It was 1986 and I was 16. No, I did not wear roller skates, but I did go out to the car, take the order, bring the food to the car, check on them occasionally to see if they needed anything, and take the tray and garbage back inside when the patrons were done. I was also paid the lower server's minimum wage, not the regular minimum wage. It was no different from a sit down restaurant except you are sitting in your car instead of a table. So yes, in this case, you should definitely tip the usual 15 or 20%.

I've never been to Sonic, so maybe the servers don't do all of that, but if they do, why wouldn't you tip?

My son carhops at a Sonic in Arizona. He makes $4.90 per hour, so tips are a large portion of his wages.

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