Do you tip at Sonic?

I usually leave Sonic confused over whether or not to tip. There are 3 scenarios that can play out when I go there: I give a small tip and leave there wondering if its standard or not OR the waitress/waiter gives us our change and promptly turns around and heads back [with no time to handoff a tip] OR they give me a ‘thanks for nothing’ look. I dont want to be a jerk and it’s not a significant amount to tip, but I’ve just really wondered about the expectations there.

10% is standard for CurbSide Takeaway at places like Outback and Carrabbas and the like. At McDonalds, Taco Bell, etc, they hand you your food out the window. No tipping – just a smile and a thanks and you’re on your way. I’ve noticed that some Sonics have drive throughs, but for those that don’t, your options are the walk up window or delivery to the car drive-in. So do you tip for the convenience of NOT getting out of your car?

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~ by hthr on April 27, 2007.

16 Responses to “Do you tip at Sonic?”

  1. i tip a little…sometimes. depends on what i’m ordering. if it’s just a drink, maybe some change.

  2. I don’t. I knew someone who had once worked there and they told me that the “servers” get paid regular wages, not the lower wages that normal restaurant servers get. So unless you are very pleased with their skating service, no need to leave a tip.

  3. Tip for what, you pay in advance and they just give you your food. It’s not customary to give a tip when you pay in advance. They also don’t do anything else that would be helpful like maybe come back to take your trash away.

  4. ohhh pleasee!! tip!

  5. we will apreciate it… sooo much!!

  6. […] searching “Let’s go Outback tonight”,  “Martha Stewart”, and “Do you tip at Sonic?”. The jury is still out on all […]

  7. Yes, you should tip for the convenience of not getting out of your car and for having someone roller skate it to you. After all, you’re not going there because they have extraordinary fast food. You’re going to Sonic for the experience of going to an old 1950’s drive-in with carhops!

    While, yes, carhops do get paid minimum wage, they do a lot more than a “normal restaurant server.” In addition to being the voice on the other end of the curbside speaker, ie. the one who places your order correctly (or incorrectly), they bring you the food. They also have fun tasks like taking out the trash, cleaning the restrooms, cleaning the food and drink machines, keeping the inside clean (sweeping, mopping, windexing), and keeping the outside clean (picking up trash, empty bags of food, empty drink cups, and my personal favorite CIGARETTE butts…gross.) All the while doing these tasks on skates. Ever tried mopping while wearing roller skates? How about taking out industrial size trash?

    As far as being helpful and taking your trash away, it is mandatory, every ten minutes, for a carhop to skate to every car and picnic table with the “smile tray.” The smile tray is chock-full of condiments and napkins, carried by a carhop who should also be asking if you need anything else, including, but not limited to “taking your trash.” Believe me, they would rather take it from your sticky ketchup-soaked hands than have to pick it up off the ground where the cigarette butts are!

    I hope this answer helps! I worked at Sonic briefly to help pay for a teaching internship I did in England. And let me tell you, I sure appreciate(d) all the tips I received. Customer service is not easy… Especially when a grape jelly packet gets stuck in your skate and enough food and drink to feed five people spills all over your clothes, or the time I spilled the LARGE VANILLA milkshake all over the front of the SQUEAKY CLEAN BLACK Escalade. True stories. Passing food over the counter or through a drive-thru window is far less dangerous and undeserving of a tip. Doing what carhops do- deserving of at least a 10% tip. Plus it’s not just good, it’s Sonic Good!

    • Yes, they do all that stuff you listed above… because IT IS THEIR JOB!! JOBS are work, work is not fun all the time. Who wouldn’t appreciate tips? even if you get paid $50 an hour?… yeah, most are students needing money, but the tipping thing is way overrated and nowaday, just a PC thing like ‘going green’.

  8. i am sorry about your misfortunes at Sonic…but it’s life…Most of us have jobs and there is plenty of bitch work we all get to do that was never in the job description….SOOOOO I feel no sympathy for you at all. ive been there. And of course anyone is going to appreciate anyone giving them a couple extra bucks…who wouldn’t? I throw my own sonic trash away and i don’t tip the employee, it is not necessary. They are not being paid a tipping wage!!!!!!!! do you tip when you go shopping for clothes because they were helpful finding your size or a fitting room? NO because they are already being paid to do their job…..do you tip when the mail deliverer kindly brings your mail to your mailbox? I mean he/she comes all the way to your house! NO someone else pays them for doing their job…I think its rude when people expect tips from customers when the job they work isn’t a tipping job. Save your extra change for someone who actually gets paid $2-$3 an hour…

  9. Actually lots of carhops make 2-3 dollars an hour. So don’t rant about something when you don’t know the facts.

  10. Very true..I work at sonic. I have actually worked at three Sonic’s over the years and have always made $2-$3 an hour. I live on tips and .50 – $1.00 per car is huge help beacuse a car hop working a regular shift can hop over 100 cars a day. I am a mother of two and love the atmosphere of the job and see it as a career as I find myself moving up the ladder. However, I have had many people who don’t tip. I never ask anyone if they want their change and I am always helpful as well as appriciative for what I get. I never expect a tip, but it is really nice. We do MUCH more than just bring out your food. We run the place. There is always something to do inside of Sonic and no one would ever know untill they came home worn out and smelling like a extra long cooney. Everyone has there opinion but when not tipped I do ponder if that person things I make regular minimum wahe. I would not be offended if someone asked me how much I make before deciding if they were going to tip or not. Perhaps that is to bold for some but its my opinion. Please tip your car hops, even if its the left over change—Brittany-CarHop

    • Brittany — You’re “worn out and smelling like a extra long cooney (sic)”? Did you mean “cooney”? Or “Clooney”, perhaps?

  11. Correction……Carhops do not get paid minimum wage. I have a friend that carhops, he makes 3$ plus tips a hour.

  12. Brittany — You’re “worn out and smelling like a extra long cooney(sic)”? Did you mean “cooney”? Or “Clooney”, perhaps?

  13. The person who said the servers at sonic do a lot more then servers at restaurants is ON CRACK . I work at Red Lobster and it’s exhausting ! I couldnt possible imagine them doing even half of what I do on a regular basis . You don’t need to tip servers at sonic , but a dollar or so would probably be appreciated .

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