I’ll admit it. I’m not a very good tipper on delivery. As someone who cooks at home half of the time and eats out for the other, the occasional ordering of Thai or kabob right to my couch is an infrequent splurge. I’ve been a standard $4 tipper on delivery for as long as I’ve lived here (granted I get delivery from within a 3 block radius) and have never questioned my routine. However, a recent discussion about the importance of tipping on restaurant meals made me rethink my delivery practice and question whether I was giving enough. That’s why I took to asking our editors and the Internet to see how much New Yorkers should be tipping on delivery orders.
Let’s break it down into a few different discussions address the issue at hand:
Percentage or set number
The most popular answer to this question was 20% on the order, no questions asked. However, many stated that they struggle with giving a delivery person the same gratuity as a server in a restaurant because they don’t inherently feel like that they’re receiving the same level of service (something I would say I agree with). While these folks typically fell in the set $3-5 tip range, further discussion brought up other reasons for why you may want to be more generous (hint: you may get your food faster).
“This former pizza delivery driver knows too well what can happen if you don’t tip. ALWAYS tip, even if it’s just $5. I saw colleagues…do things to the pizzas. This really doesn’t require elaboration. Also, this happens a lot: if you know who the regular big tippers are, you prioritize their orders.” —Joshua Rothkopf, Global Deputy Film Editor
Cash or card
These days, cash is dead. I’ll have 2 credit and debit cards on me at all times, but I couldn’t tell you the last time I had a few singles in my pocket. I found that many others were in this same routine, leaving a standard 20% via whatever app they prefer to order. While that may be convenient, many raised the point that you never really know if the delivery person actually gets that tip unless you give it to them in cash.
“I broke up with someone because she didn’t tip a delivery guy. I’ve done both delivery and table service—and delivery is way more hazardous than waiting tables! So, it merits a solid tip. I always give the guy cash. A tip on the app means it might end up in a pool, paid out another day. I want my guy to have it, and right now.” —Matt Bruck, Food Influencer
Should your tip change with the weather?
The final question that arose in this discussion was: Once you have your tipping routine, do you bump it up in times of inclement weather? Some of our editors explained that they double their tip if it’s snowing, an act of generosity that others felt was excessive. In the end, the consensus was that if you’re having delivery in the pouring rain or a blizzard, your delivery person deserves a little extra compensation.
While I’m not going to tell you how to spend your money, I will leave you with one last mantra I saw repeated by many New Yorkers I spoke with for a little hospitality tough love: You should view tipping as part of the price, so if you can't tip, don't order out.