You can use your smartphone to get pretty much anything delivered directly to your door almost instantaneously, from food and groceries to daily essentials and electronics. The hardest part is of the process is scrambling to figure out if you should tip and if so, doing the quick math before you get to the door.
It’s pretty much common knowledge that you tip should tip about 20% at restaurants, but do the same rules apply to delivery drivers?
Most food delivery apps have both delivery and service fees, which can get expensive and confusing. Customers might think that a delivery fee would include tip. In reality, these values don’t always go to the driver and they aren’t considered a tip.
The co-founder of Grubhub Matt Maloney pretty much set the standard for tipping delivery people in a Facebook post. He’s a strong proponent of tipping, and Grubhub’s website recommends a $5 or a 20% tip, whichever is more. Maloney also said this number should go up if you’re ordering for your whole office or during, say, a blizzard.
Grubhub (and by extension Seamless, which merged with Grubhub in 2013) seems to be the exception, not the rule. Most other delivery services say on their website that tipping is not required or in some cases, even expected.
Some services, like DoorDash, do suggest a default tip on their checkout window. Many, like Amazon Prime Now, allow customers to change their tip amount after their delivery has been received, presumably to reflect the quality of service.
Despite these companies letting customers off the hook, delivery people are upset at getting stiffed. They deal with rampant car and bike theft, muggings, bad weather, traffic and more, all for a $1 tip. Many feel that if you’d tip your pizza guy or gal, you should tip your Seamless driver.
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Speaking of tipping, Uber on Tuesday said it is adding a tipping option, a feature that has long been a part of rival ride-hailing service Lyft and something Uber drivers have been requesting for years.
Presumably, this option would also come to its food delivery service, UberEats.
So the question remains: to tip or not to tip?
The Emily Post Institute’s official recommendation falls in line with Maloney’s: “10-15% of the bill, or $2-5 for pizza delivery depending on the size of the order and difficulty of delivery.”
“If you’re in doubt you should give 10%,” said etiquette expert Melissa Leonard. Leonard agreed that while delivery fees do often go to the driver, a tip is still appreciated.
Just like servers in a restaurant, delivery drivers almost always rely on your tips for their salary. Tipping is a cultural phenomenon in America that’s fairly deeply ingrained. So, until drones can deliver sushi straight to your door, it’s best to tip the people trekking through the city at all hours to bring you hot fresh, food.