One of the most common tipping dilemmas is “How much?” when it comes to the food delivery person. From venturing out in the pouring rain to safely transporting your hot pizza during a major sports event, there is never a shortage of questions and qualms.
Here are some etiquette recommendations for tipping on food delivery service:
- A delivery fee is NOT the same as a tip. This charge is typically not shared with the driver. Employees who receive tips are often paid at a lower hourly rate and are directly affected when a customer skips out on leaving anything extra.
- A sandwich is not just a sandwich. The cost of a small meal may only add up to $10, but giving a 10% to 15% tip on the bill hardly seems appropriate. Generally, if your total is under $20, a minimum of $3 (or more) is customary. For larger amounts, opt for 10% to 15% of the cost of the food. Factor in inclement weather and high volume traffic during major events and holidays when calculating the tip.
- Do not penalize the driver. If your order is late, it may not be the fault of the motorist. Rush hour traffic, accidents, or a glitch in the kitchen could be the reason you did not receive everything in a timely fashion. Tip accordingly and then make a call to the manager and let them know of your experience. If the individual is truly discourteous, the tip can be adjusted to reflect your dissatisfaction (in extreme circumstances). Just make sure your assessment is honest and accurate.
- Tipping in change is in poor taste. Although it may feel rewarding to clean out your purse and extract hoards of loose change, the driver does not want $3 worth of nickels and dimes as their tip. It is heavy in their pockets and often gets lost in cracks and crevices. Instead, take your coins with you on your next trip to the bank (after they have been rolled), or set them aside for the parking meter or vending machine.
- Leave a lasting impression. If you are a frequent flyer, the driver can often decide who gets their order delivered first. Your tip may be an incentive for future service. It should not be your sole reason to tip fairly, but it certainly is a consideration.
A few more friendly reminders…
- Have your payment ready. Avoid last minute rummaging for your wallet and loose change.
- Keep your aggressive pets away from the door.
- Do not forget to provide an apartment number for your complex.
- In a gated community or building with security, alert the staff that you are expecting a delivery.
- Leave exterior lights on for night deliveries.
- Make sure that you are home when your meal arrives.
For more of my tipping etiquette, check out my article, Hotel Tipping Etiquette, on The Huffington Post.