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How much should I tip the delivery guy?

  • juice Nov 11, 2008 07:38 AM

Ordered Chinese the other day and had it delivered because I was too lazy to pick it up. The order was around $40. As the guy showed up, I realized I had not had anything delivered to the house in a while (since I usually go and get it) and was wondering what was a fair tip. Is it 10% of the tab or just a few bucks. I don't think I can honestly give a pizza guy $2 for a $20 pizza who may have come across town when I tip the bartender a buck for twisting off the top to my beer.

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  1. Great question. My one friend John C. was a pizza delivery guy for quite awhile. He loved it and only quit because his parents made him get a "real" job. He had so many interesting tales to tell me. But his tips varied wildly from zilch to a hundred percent. I would never dream of stiffing the pizza or chinese food delivery person, after all they know where you live. Now friends ordering take out when they are over at your house is another thing. My friend Rob once got a cheesesteak (with mustard ugh!) and fries delivered to my place and then just gave the guy the change, like twenty cents. I was gnashing my teeth the rest of the night. My favorite delivery story is when the chinese delivery guy parked in a weird muddy spot not really in our driveway and got stuck!! So glad I had two beefy guys over to help push him out. We ordered from them often and next time we gave him an extra tip. I'd say fifteen to twenty percent but it varies here at my house, when I have friends over and we get more food and everyone chips in they get a bit more. Once John C. delivered to me and informed me the tip wasn't enough so I gave him a can of beer and a booster pack of trading cards too (no more cash) and he was happy.

    1 Reply
    1. re: givemecarbs

      I usually do about 20%. I figure if I'm not going and getting it myself then the convenience of delivered food is worth something. (I'm usually sick, it's raining or super cold, I'm being lazy and hungry . . . give the guy a good tip they've earned it - plus with gas prices they need the tips)

    2. We normally just get delivery on pizza. It is not really far away, maybe a mile.

      The pizza we get usually is $18. I give the driver $5 tip every time. I don't think I would tip less than $5 on any delivery order.

      1. Before gas went to $4+, I always gave $3 regardless of the total. Once gas hit $4+, I give $5. I don't think the amount of the order is important here. I think you're tipping the person for driving and delivery, which is why I upped the amount when the price of gas increased.

        2 Replies
        1. re: bucksguy14

          Good point Bucks Guy. I also tip more when the weather really stinks - rain, snow, ice etc - cause I am ordering because I don't want to be out in it!

          1. re: bucksguy14

            Yeah, it blows my mind that delivery drivers have to pay their own gas, on top of earning next to nothing. I always try to overtip a bit.

          2. Well I am starting to see a $2.50 delivery charge on Pizza orders. Have for some time.
            Gas is now at about $1.65 a gallon. So if folks tip $5 and then the charge of $2.50 that makes it $7.50 on a typical order of $15 for a pizza. That is about 50% of the order? So what is the rule now with the $2.50 delivery charge? what is the delivery charge for?

            3 Replies
            1. re: troybal

              You'd have to ask the management where the "delivery charge" goes. Some joints give some or all of it to the driver, some just use it as a windfall revenue stream.

              I usually give $4-$5. More if it's bad weather, late at night, people in the house are drunk, or a really big order.

              1. re: jzerocsk

                i like this logic. i would add to your extras list: if i am in my PJs. nothing like welcoming lunch as your breakfast, especially if it's from tiffin and the delivery guys show up in their suits and all. :)

              2. re: troybal

                Don't stiff the driver because of a delivery charge!! There is no telling who is actually getting the money from this charge. Some restaurants even charge this to cover their costs of the Styrofoam togo food containers. I once had a manager yell at me for giving these out too often.. "This s*** isn't cheap!" direct quote.

              3. I give the delivery pizza guy $5 per pie. Pizza;s are $20. Not a long drive at all, just to lazy or drunk to go and get it.

                1. On a related note - what do you tip when you go pick up at a restaurant that has curbside pickup?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: dkupersmith

                    My advice is to be generous and don't worry about it. You are paying for convenience. If you don't want to give the guy 5 or 10 bucks to bring you your $20 pizza, go get it yourself. You won't save much. Curbside service, tip 15% just like a buffet. Again, if it is not worth it to you, go inside and get yourself. I don't mean to sound harsh, but it is not that expensive to be generous and the people working for tips will appreciate it.

                  2. I always tip 20%. I figure the poor guys live by their tips and they're doing me a favor by bringing my food. . . .

                    1. We all tip to fulfill this social contract we have. We tip because we don't want to be the jerk, who doesn't tip when everyone else does. All the other reasons are bullshit. These drivers already get paid, it's built into the price. If they can't make enough because nobody tips, they will start looking for new jobs, and the pizza shops will have to start paying more. In Europe they don't tip, and the waitresses aren't starving to death. Some of the replies inferred that we should tip because it's lazy to order delivery. By that logic buying a bag of flour is lazy, you could grow the grain and mill it yourself. You don't tip the wheat farmer based on how hard it was to make.

                      A few quotes:
                      "I would never dream of stiffing the pizza or chinese food delivery person, after all they know where you live."
                      So I should tip because he might come to my house and attack me? I'm pretty sure that's extortion.

                      "I always tip 20%. I figure the poor guys live by their tips and they're doing me a favor by bringing my food. . . ."
                      All wrong. Ordering the food is doing THEM a favor. If nobody orders, they don't have a job.

                      The reality is, I tip. Chances are, if I don't tip, I'll get bad service and maybe worse. It shouldn't be that way. Just charge me the right amount so you can pay your employees a liveable wage.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: ryno9696

                        this means, your meal will cost 20% to 25% more.

                        1. re: vanierstudent

                          So? It already does in reality, but we'd have the benefit of never having to worry about tipping again (until people start tipping on the new stuff, which I guess would be inevitable)

                          1. re: jgg13

                            No, it's not in most of the world, where tipping is not the social norm it is in the US. In fact, studies tend to support the idea that, once a social norm of this sort is superseded by a forced-payment culture, the voluntary-payment culture is very unlikely to revive, even if the forced-payment system is abandoned. Social contracts, once broken, are very hard to resurrect.

                            This is why long-term servers have generally been among the strongest opponents of such a shift in culture.

                            1. re: Karl S

                              I mainly say this due to the ever increasing number of tip jars as well as people on the other side who like to make a big show about how "generous" they are. Those two sides would conspire for sure.

                              Still, even if I'm right, at least we'd have a few years where we'd just call a spade a spade and ppay as we should.

                        2. re: ryno9696

                          Ryno, my daughter works as a server (in NJ) where their hourly wage is a ridiculously low of $1.14 / hr. Or something very close to that. They depend on their tips to be their paychecks. In addition all servers are expected to "tip out" 2% EACH to the hostess (who makes a decent hourly wage) and to each of the bartenders working, usually at least two of them. So. For the cheapskates who leave 10-12% and think they're "doing them a favor" should just stay home or get with it and leave the customary 18-20%. There are some days my daughter will go home with $30 after working a 12 hour shift and after being abused and used by arrogant customers who seem to think she's their personal slave.

                        3. The standard in the US is 10%, rounded up to the nearest dollar, more if the delivery person has to deal with bad weather, long distance or going up flights of stairs.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Karl S

                            No, Karl, the standard in the US is 18%. Where have you been? A lot of people leave no tip. That means the server, in some cases are actually in the black by the end of their shifts. I always pay at least 20% unless it's really lousy service, then they get 10%.

                            1. re: Cmreed

                              I don't think there's actually a standard tip for delivery. I tip $5...actually a moot point now since I live in a place where there is no delivery.

                              1. re: Cmreed

                                Did you miss the part where this is about delivery?

                                1. re: Cmreed

                                  Observe two things, please:

                                  1. You are responding to a 5 year old comment of mine
                                  2. The subject is delivery service, not table service.

                                  My comment stands, thank you kindly.

                              2. I tip $4-$5 regardless of check size (sometimes $6-$7 for inclement weather) for delivery in my NYC neighborhood--I'm always ordering for 1 or 2 and all the places we order from are within 12 blocks or so. If I ever ordered from out-of-neighborhood or placed such a large order that there was special handling involved (say, eight pizzas--all of our delivery guys travel by bicycle, and that would be quite the balancing act), I would tip more. I guess I've always calculated it like a flat charge for delivery rather than a percentage based on check size. Hmmm....

                                1. FWIW, on Foodler's checkout page, they have buttons to automatically calculate 15% and 20% (on just the food, not on tax, delivery fee, etc). I don't know to what degree that reflects on actual delivery tipping practices, but I tend to just click to 20% button because it usually works out to be a pretty small difference.

                                  If I'm not going through foodler though, it varies.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: jgg13

                                    As Frank Zappa once said "Do what you want, Just leave a tip along the way".

                                    And as I adhere to;" always overtip the breakfast waitress"......same applies to your regular delivery guy/gal.