Ah, ordering food delivery. What used to be an occasional convenience is now an everyday part of many people’s lives. We love being able to feed ourselves without having to cook or leave the house – and we’re grateful for the restaurant workers who bring us our meals.
We want to show our appreciation, but it can be hard to know exactly how much of a tip is appropriate. It’s especially tough these days when so many deliveries are contactless and we can’t hand-deliver a tip in person.
To help you navigate this confusing world of food delivery tipping, we’ve put together a list of tips (no pun intended). In this article, you’ll find out all you need to know about the proper amount to tip for takeout or delivery, depending on the restaurant, order size, and location. Let’s get started!
Understanding Delivery Charges
If you’ve ever ordered food delivery, you’ve likely become accustomed to the practice of tipping your driver. But do you know just how much to tip? It can be tricky, but having an understanding of delivery charges can help.
Delivery charges are the cost of transporting or delivering goods from one point to another. This includes fuel surcharges and other fees that go directly into paying for the cost of transportation. Typically, delivery charges are made up of three main categories: Transmission, Distribution, Operations and Service, and Public Policy. These fees are collected by Transmission and Distribution Service Providers (TDSPs) who deliver the electricity or natural gas sold by most retailers.
Knowing this information can help you to make an informed decision when it comes to how much you should tip your driver. The next time your food is delivered to your door, remember that there’s a charge attributed to its arrival—and consider that when deciding the size of your gratuity!
What Are Customary Tipping Amounts?
No matter what type of food you order for delivery, there are generally accepted tipping guidelines that you should follow. The most important thing to keep in mind is that the amount of tip you give should be proportional to the price of your order.
As a general rule, when ordering food for pickup, tip 10-15% or round up to the nearest dollar. When ordering delivery, you should tip 15-20%, depending on how much help is needed with your order. For larger orders, tipping 20% is a good rule of thumb – but don’t feel like you have to overpay here. A simple $5 or $10 can often do the job.
If cost is a factor, there are still ways to show your appreciation by leaving a nice message in the notes section or attaching an extra side item or dessert as a thank-you gift for the driver. These small gestures can go a long way and will make the delivery person’s day!
Different Restaurants, Different Rules
The rules are different when it comes to tipping for food delivery. Generally, the accepted range for tipping at restaurants is 15-20%, but when it comes to delivery, 20% is widely understood to be the expected tip amount. However, you should always double-check the tips policy of each restaurant before placing your order — some restaurants don’t require tips or have no-tipping policies. In the case that a restaurant doesn’t allow tipping or doesn’t accept tips at all, there’s no need to feel guilty — simply thank your deliverer and show them your appreciation with a kind word.
Consider the Weather Conditions and Distance Traveled
Another thing you should consider when deciding how much to tip for food delivery is the weather conditions and distance traveled. Sure, if they’re delivering a pizza from a few blocks away, then 15% or fewer works. But, if it’s raining cats and dogs outside, you might want to consider giving a bit more to your driver for braving the storm. After all, no one likes getting wet and cold! Also, tipping a bit extra for longer delivery distances is always appreciated.
When tipping for food delivery:
- Take into account the weather conditions and the distance your driver had to travel in those conditions;
- Consider how quickly your order was delivered in relation to the estimated time;
- Consider any additional items (like utensils or napkins) that were included with your order;
- Remember that service workers are often living on tips, so always tip generously when possible!
The Impact of COVID-19 on Tipping
The pandemic has definitely had an effect on tipping. According to a study by the National Restaurant Association, COVID-19 decreased the average tip percentage for face-to-face transactions at full-service restaurants by 1-2 percentage points.
At the same time, customers were encouraged to be generous with their tips during Covid-19, as many restaurant workers experienced a drastic reduction in hours and wages. Additionally, Americans overwhelmingly want to “tip more than they did before the pandemic” according to a survey conducted by Bankrate.com – but unfortunately, 19% of Americans say they tip less than they did before COVID-19.
The lesson here: tipping for food delivery hasn’t changed due to Covid=19 – if anything, you should be more generous with your tip.
How to Leave a Good Impression With a Delivery Driver
Leaving a good impression with a food delivery driver isn’t hard. Just like in any other service industry, the best way to make a positive impression is to be polite and generous. Here are five tips on how to leave a good impression on your delivery driver:
- Always greet them when they arrive at your door, thank them for bringing your order, and don’t forget to give the delivery driver their tip!
- Offer them a drink—water, soda, or another beverage of your choice—when they arrive with your food.
- Ask them about their day and show genuine interest in their answers.
- If your order arrives late, don’t take it out on the driver; instead, be understanding and polite.
- Go above and beyond when you can: if you’re able to tip at least 20%, that goes a long way towards making the delivery driver feel appreciated!
By following these five tips, you can be sure that your delivery driver will leave with a smile on their face—and it may even result in better service next time around!
How do you tip delivery without cash?
If you don’t have cash on hand, you can tip your delivery driver with a credit card. When the driver arrives with your food, they will present you with their payment options. Many will have an electronic payment device and you can use your card to add a tip. This is the easiest way to tip your delivery driver if you don’t have cash on hand.
Alternatively, you can always contact the restaurant or delivery service and add a tip to your bill later. This also works if you are ordering online through a service like DoorDash, GrubHub, Uber Eats, and more. At checkout, simply select the option to add a tip for the driver after they deliver your order.
Your third option is to add an additional tip when the driver arrives with your food by using an app like Venmo or PayPal. Most delivery drivers accept contactless payments via these apps, allowing you to quickly and securely transfer money for your gratuity at any time. With these apps, all you need is a phone number or email address associated with the account of the person who is delivering your order in order for them to receive their payment from you.
No matter which way you choose to give a gratuity for food delivery services, make sure that it’s convenient and safe for both parties involved — yourself and the driver delivering the goods!
Can I refuse cash on delivery?
Even if you’re stuck in a financial pinch, refusing cash on delivery isn’t a good idea. Delivery workers are still doing their jobs in the midst of a global pandemic, and they need to be taken care of—so don’t refuse cash on delivery.
But how much should you tip? The general consensus is that tipping 15% is the standard. Anything lower than 10% is considered rude and ungrateful, while 20%-25% sends an extra-grateful message. Of course, you can always keep it simple and just round up to the nearest dollar amount; whatever you feel comfortable with.
Moreover, if you feel generous, you can give special attention or an extra bonus to those who go above and beyond. For instance: drivers who help carry groceries up the stairs, drivers who are pleasant during the delivery chat, and drivers who brave the rain and snow to bring food to your door—these people deserve a little extra gratitude for their hard work!
Does free delivery mean no tip?
You want to make sure you’re rewarded for your generosity with great service, but you don’t want to be taken advantage of. So when the food arrives, should you still tip if there’s an extra fee for delivery?
The answer depends on where you are. In some cities, restaurants use third-party delivery services like Grubhub or DoorDash and will charge a flat fee for their services. In these cases, it’s good etiquette to tip the driver in addition to paying the delivery fee. In other cities, restaurants offer free delivery but no tipping is expected (though it’s always appreciated).
The best way to know what to do in your city is to ask around or look at the website of the restaurant or delivery service. If tipping isn’t included in their policy, it’s probably expected and recommended that you do so anyway! Every little bit helps the driver out—they are taking a risk of coming into contact with potentially many strangers while they deliver food anyways.
Delivery fees, driver shortages, and the general hustle of food delivery can make it hard to know how much to tip. In the end, tipping well is always the right choice. Remember that food delivery drivers are often working for less than minimum wage, leaving them to depend heavily on tips.
If you’re a frequent food delivery customer, make sure to look out for higher fees and driver shortage surcharges. But whether you’re a new or seasoned food delivery customer, leaving a 20-25% tip will ensure that your driver is rewarded for their hard work. And, if you’re feeling extra generous, you can always add a few more dollars. Now that you know the basics of tipping for food delivery, go forth, order your favorite takeout, and tip generously!