October 10, 2019 12:00 PM PT

How Much to Tip

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Most people tip between 18% and 20% when eating in a restaurant. But what if you have food delivered? Should you tip the same amount? Read on to find out.

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What's the Standard Tip for Delivery?

Unlike tipping a waiter, there isn't a "standard" tip for delivery. Matt Maloney, co-founder of Grubhub, suggests a minimum tip amount of $5 or 20%, as long as the service was good.

But William Michael Lynn, Professor of Food and Beverage Management at Cornell University and self-proclaimed tipping expert, suggests a 15% tip for decent service. If you feel the driver went above and beyond or had to go through major obstacles to get to you, consider a 20% tip.

Generally, a tip in the 15%—20% range for good service is reasonable.

Do You Have to Tip?
You aren't under any obligation to tip delivery drivers. If you are happy with your service, though, meaning you received your food hot and just as you ordered it, it's proper etiquette to tip.

How Much Should You Tip for Pizza Delivery?

Pizza delivery falls under the same standards as any other food delivery. In general, consider $3 the minimum tip for pizza delivery. If you order a lot or the service was exceptional, go with the 15% standard.

If you happen to order a large number of pizzas or there are obstacles to getting the pizzas to you, it's not a bad idea to ramp up the pizza delivery tip to 20% of the total order.

Remember, the pizza delivery person is saving you the hassle of picking up the large order and lugging it into your home or office. And they don't get money from the fee the restaurant charges to deliver your food (more on this below).

Why You Should Tip More Than the Minimum

If you think your delivery driver did a great job, feel free to tip more than the suggested 15%. But good service isn't the only reason to increase your tip. Consider tipping more for any of the following:

  • Bad weather
  • Major obstructions or construction work on the roads
  • Long distance deliveries
  • Obscure locations, such as a high-rise office building
  • Delivery during peak times
  • Large orders that require multiple trips

Should You Include the Delivery Fee When Calculating the Tip?
This is completely up to you. If you think of the fee like tax, you can tip on the actual food total, rather than the total bill.

Do Delivery Drivers Get the Delivery Fee?

When you place an order through Grubhub, DoorDash, Uber Eats, or other apps (or even restaurants), you may notice a delivery fee tacked onto your bill. Many people assume that fee goes to the delivery driver. But that's not the case.

The fee usually goes to either the delivery service, the restaurant, or both. Restaurants and delivery services will use this fee to offset a number of costs, including liability insurance for delivery drivers, rising cost of food ingredients, and more.

This means that drivers and other delivery people won't get that delivery fee. Instead, they rely on your tips.

Do Dashers See Your Tip?
Dashers (DoorDash delivery drivers) get a guaranteed minimum for each order, which they see before deciding to accept the order. They won't know how much you tipped until after the delivery.

With Grubhub, however, drivers will see how much you tip and then decide if they want to accept the order. If you want to wait until receiving your food to determine the quality of service, you can use the notes section on the app to say that you will tip in cash.

Delivery apps typically guarantee their drivers a minimum wage. However, these companies will factor in tips to reach that minimum. If drivers don't receive enough tips to equal minimum wage for the hours they worked, the delivery service must make up the difference.

While this would make drivers' pay somewhat consistent, some drivers have also seen their minimum fluctuate based on the tips they receive. All things considered, wages for delivery app drivers can be highly variable.

Restaurant delivery drivers have a slightly different situation. Depending on the state they work in, these drivers may be guaranteed a state or federally mandated minimum wage or make a "tipped wage."

Drivers making a "tipped wage" earn far less than minimum wage and rely heavily on tips for their compensation.

Does Uber Eats Offer In-App Tipping?
Uber Eats just released the ability to tip delivery drivers right in the app after you receive your order. They state that tipping is "optional" and that the tips go directly to the driver. You have seven days after your food delivery to tip your Uber Eats driver.

Should You Tip for Takeout?

It seems like you wouldn't need to tip for a takeout order since you are taking it home. But think about the work that goes into putting that order together. Someone is putting everything in the right containers, ensuring the order is correct, and bringing it out to you.

If it's a large order, that could mean a lot of work for the cooks and servers who put it together. While it's not an obligation, a tip of 10% to 15% of the total food order is a nice gesture to thank the employees for their service.

Do You Tip for Catering Delivery?
Before you tip for delivery catering, check with the restaurant or catering company to make sure it's not already built into your fee. If it's already included, it will show up as a "gratuity fee."

If a gratuity fee isn't added, consider adding a 10%–15% tip on orders of $50 or less and a 10% tip on orders of $100 or more.

Bottom Line

If you are in doubt about tipping, err on the side of generosity. It doesn't have to be a huge tip, but consider the level of service you receive.

Remember, your tip helps the person delivering the food make more than minimum wage.

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