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10/13/2004  

Aunt Beep Says: How Much Do I Tip?

If you've worked in the service industry even for one day, you know all too well the importance of tips. Did you know that TIP is actually an anagram which stands for To Insure Proper Service; and that when tips started they were offered at the beginning of a meal...to insure that the party was served in the best manner possible.
The Beep Fam is a strong believer in 20% at a proper sit-down meal...unless things are really terrible. Even then, take a moment to consider the circumstances. Lots of factors play into why you may have a less than satisfactory experience at a restaurant, and it's not always just the server.
Like it or not, tipping is a standard and necessary social practice here in the US. Yes, there seems to be a growing amount of businesses who exploit tips, and force you to pay unnecessary extra cash (can we say "delivery fees added, plus 25% gratuity" in hotels?). However if you're going to sit down to a meal it is fair and expected that you tip the proper amount: 18-20% of the total before tax. If you get your bill and you just don't like adding that extra 20% or if it pushes you beyond your budget, then sadly, you probably shouldn't have gone out to eat.
A nagging question for me, however is "How much do you tip for food delivery?" 20%? 10%? A few bucks? I want to compensate, but how much is too much? What are the factors?
I did a little research, and here is what I found:

www.howstuffworks.com is a nifty site, and has a thoughtful page on how to tip your local pizza delivery guy:
Pizza/Chinese: (click the link for more detail)
$1-$2 if short distance
$2-$3 for longer distances
$5 or more for large deliveries

http://www.tipping.org/ suggests the following for restaurant delivery tips:

Restaurant Driver / Delivery Person
Not to be confused with a regular delivery person such as for Pizza or Chinese food. This is for people who deliver food for a restaurant and usually deliver large orders such as entire meals. Sometimes this might involve a number of different restaurants. A tip of 15% to 20% is suggested depending on the size of the order and the distance traveled.

Carryout:
Orders of $30 or less: No tip necessary, but a small tip (50 cents - $2) is appreciated, especially if the carry-out counter is busy, especially if the customer needs silverware or requests seasonings.
Orders from $30-$60: No tip necessary, but appreciated if packaging the order is a huge pain, 5-10 percent is expected if I help the customer take it to their cars.
Orders of $60 and up: These are often from offices, who always ask for plates, plastic silverware, condiments, and lots of rolls (complimentary from my store). 8%-10% expected, especially if I help the customer take it out.
Carryout: 5-10% if they show you the food and offer complimentary items (plates, napkins, silverware) and help you carry large orders.

www.tip20.com has a comprehensive sections for all aspects into the who and why of tipping. For food services check out this page: http://www.tip20.com/div/con/standards.html

Here are some local LA restaurants that deserve every bit of their tip. Food delivery can be tricky. Knowledgeable drivers, proper packing and getting your order right WITH all the accompaniments is key. For fabulous service give these guys a try:

Anarakli Indian: 323-934-6488 7013 Melrose Avenue
Notorious for throwing in freebies, fast, affordable and couldn't be nicer.

Natalee Thai: 310-855-9380 998 So. Robertson Blvd
Keeps all your information in their computer so you don't have to start from scratch explaining where you live. They even store your credit card. Love it! Food is always beautifully packaged and super yummy.

Jerry's Deli: various locations - see website
A Los Angeles tradition with consistent reliable service. Best corned beef in town.

Why Cook?:
A service allowing you to order from just about anywhere. If you're in your PJ's but are dying for gourmet they'll get it to you. A little bit extra in fees, but worth it if you want the best of LA dining.

Hi Pizza: 323-465-4646 119 So. Western Ave
Pretty darn solid no-frills spaghetti and meatballs; the pizza is good too. Big portions, great prices, VERY fast. They serve steaks too!

happy dining!!!