Dine-In Versus Take-Out: Five Things to Consider

| September 5, 2012

take-out Chinese foodWhen the cupboards are bare, someone else cooking dinner is the easiest option. Use DexKnows to find the right restaurant, then keep the following five things in mind when deciding between dine-in and take-out:

1. Cuisine type

Certain foods simply don’t travel well. If you crave sushi, enjoy it at the restaurant for best results. The more time passes after the chef slices and rolls your order, the warmer the fish will be and the less fresh it will taste. Pizza, on the other hand, travels well and won’t suffer from a quick warm-up in the oven if traffic or an errand delays your arrival home.

2. Cost of order

Restaurants typically don’t charge more for one or the other, but not all take-out orders include everything, dine-in ones do. An Indian restaurant may serve complimentary naan at the table but will not tuck it into your take-out bag. Bottomless bowls of chips and salsa are only an option when dining in at a Mexican restaurant. So, while the bill may be the same, the value may vary between dine-in and take-out.

3. Tipping percentage

Most people don’t tip on take-out from restaurants, and Chow website’s Table Manners columnist wags her finger at them. Taking your order and getting it ready to go takes work, Helena Echlin says, though not as much as serving you at a table, she admits. She suggests a lesser percentage on take-out, between a couple of bucks and 10 percent, as opposed to the standard 20 percent for dine-in orders at a restaurant.

4. Additional costs

Keep other costs in mind when deciding between dining in at a restaurant and getting your food to go. Will you be paying for parking or valet at the restaurant? Is it kid-friendly, or do you plan to leave the little ones at home with a paid babysitter? Will you be drinking alcohol, which comes with a significant markup when compared to the bottle already in your fridge? Factor all of these costs into your decision.

5. Sanity

Will leaving the previously mentioned kids at home give you a much-needed night out with your significant other or group of friends? If so, then opt for dine-in and enjoy your evening. In addition to allowing you to search by cuisine and neighborhood, Dex Knows restaurant listings offer information about everything from atmosphere to specialty dishes. Reviews by diners also help you choose a place to eat and what to order.

Bon appétit!

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Category: Food & Dining

About the Author ()

Pamela Mitchell spent more than 15 years at daily newspapers such as the Hartford Courant and Houston Chronicle before becoming a full-time freelancer. She now writes about a variety of topics, from dining and entertainment to pets and travel.