Should Food Truck Workers Get Tips?

Photo: New York Street Food

Photo: New York Street Food

Yesterday’s blogsophere controversy of the day concerned one Brendan O’Connor, a summer intern who worked for the Milk Truck, called out a bunch of finance types for not tipping on Twitter, got fired…and wrote about it for The Awl. Most of the responses to the piece have been ad hominem attacks on O’Connor, his former employers, or his non-tippers, but The Awl’s sibling site, The Billfold, has by far the most logical follow-up: a roundup of various opinions on whether food truck staff should be tipped in the first place.

Editor Mike Dang thinks yes: Food truck workers may make minimum wage, but that’s not nearly enough to live on and 10% of eight bucks isn’t gonna break the bank. Fellow editor Logan Sachon says no: It’s a nice thing to do, but since workers aren’t providing nearly the level of service of restaurant waitstaff it’s not necessary. There’s also input from the Food Network and something called Mobile Cuisine, but as always, Emily Post has the most sensible take:

The Emily Post Institute says those jars at the coffeeshop or take-out counter don’t require tipping because it’s not a high level of service, although you can tip a little bit if you’re a regular customer or the server does something extra for you. Tipping.org recommends a small tip of 50 cents to $2 for orders under $30; 5-10% for $30 to $60 orders (especially if packaging the order is difficult) and/or if the person helps take your order to your car. For large orders, which require more condiments, plates, etc., 8-10% is recommended.

You can read the full post here, but the general consensus is pretty clear—tipping at food trucks isn’t do-it-or-you’re-a-bad-person mandatory, but it’s the nice thing to do.

RELATED: The Complete Guide to Tipping in 2013

[via The Billfold]

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