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To Tip Or Not To Tip


Last night we ordered delivery and the restaurant made a mistake and forgot part of our order. We tipped the delivery guy and he left before we noticed the mistake. We called the restaurant and they had the same delivery man return to us with the remainder of our order. My husband thought we should not give him any additional tip because this was the restaurant's mistake. I thought we should give him a small additional tip as this was not his fault and he had to do double the work. What would you do?

  1. I would definitely tip, as it's not his fault. I've never been a delivery driver, but I assume he's also paying for the gasoline.

    16 Replies
    1. re: James Cristinian

      I assume the delivery person gets a mileage reimbursement and/or a higher hourly wage to compensate for mileage. I also assume a delivery driver gets a higher hourly wage than a server, so your analogy below doesn't really hold water.

      1. re: jla1960

        Maybe we both shouldn't assume until several people that know the true facts come forward.

        1. re: jla1960

          I did a little checking and there are numerous internet sites with answers like this.


          1. re: jla1960

            Here's what I found on the 'net:

            "...delivery drivers in general receive normal minimum wage, plus a mileage reimbursement, plus tips..."

            1. re: jla1960

              FWIW, I would also have tipped the delivery person again. Now, had the restaurant charged me with a second delivery charge, on principle, I would have refused. Same with room-service in a hotel/resort. No additional delivery charge for an error, but the server/delivery person would still get a tip.

              Just my personal way of thinking and probably against all the Wiki-pedia entries.


              1. re: jla1960

                When checking web sites the one common theme is maintenance to the vehicle. The constant stopping and restarting the car, plus the mileage really takes a toll.

            2. re: jla1960

              I have never, ever heard of this for delivery people (mileage reimbursements? Do those even exist outside of corporate expense reports for business travel?), and I was a delivery person myself when younger. If it was a mom & pop-type restaurant, the better the chance that the delivery person is just paid a low hourly wage of some type + tips, nothing more.

              1. re: yfunk3

                Where I am delivery people would, of course, be paid at least national minimum wage. It also seems common that they receive some form of mileage reimbursement - looking at a few adverts it seems to be a fixed amount per delivery which I guess makes sense.

                1. re: yfunk3

                  The local pizza place we use every couple of weeks has 7 trucks that the delivery people use. I can't imagine they would be responsible for gas costs.

                  1. re: BubblyOne

                    But the vast majority don't have a truck, much less a fleet, at least around here, and that driver's definitely responsible for gasoline and insurance and upkeep. While I agree that it would be nice for the employer to kick down some help, it's not required here, and a huge number of them are working for small hourly cash+tips to make their balance. Other than a corporate messenger (or someone delivering catering from one of the larger middlebrow restaurants) I've not heard of any non-corporate company expensing their delivery people.
                    Quicksilver messenge Service, anybody?

              2. re: James Cristinian

                So, if something is missing from an order and the driver has to come back out you should tip him again?

                Seems like you are encouraging drivers to make sure that things are missing from the orders that they are delivering in order to boost their income.

                That's not quite the behavior that I'd want to be encouraging. How about the driver double check the order before they leave the premises to make sure that it's actually correct?

                1. re: meadandale

                  you want a driver opening bags and poking around in containers of food you plan to put in your mouth? ick

                  1. re: meadandale

                    I absolutely do not believe that the vast majority of delivery people are dishonest, or would be "encouraged" to supplement their income in such a way. If that were so prevalent they'd all lose their jobs (which I bet they're glad as hell to have). Complaints would be rampant; those places wouldn't be able to even answer the phones to take an order for pizza for all the pissed-off folks phoning in. And most people I know take pleasure in doing a decent job; clearly you know the bad karma and ill will it can generate when an order is delivered missing an item. Why would somebody deliberately set themselve up for that?

                    1. re: mamachef

                      I don't believe the vast majority of delivery people don't get some type of reimbursement for the use of their personal vehicles (sorry for the double negative). If that were so, the restaurants would have great difficulty in hiring delivery drivers, the restaurants wouldn't be able to make their deliveries, customers would take their business elsewhere and other restaurants would get their share of the business. Why would a restaurant deliberately set themselves up for that?

                      1. re: jla1960

                        Babe, I could do this all day long but am ducking out in respect because like medical opinions, this is just clearly a very emotional, subjective and highly debatable topic, and everybody has strong feelings about it. I know that being dependent on tips myself has certainly stained my vision on this one - and my inherent belief that people are Good. So, I'm outta this sandbox, but I wish everyone and all their beliefs the best, and will keep tipping people who basically work for me, if only for 20 minutes. And then again, if they work for me 20 minutes more.

                        1. re: jla1960

                          Umm. They don't. Having delivered pizza in Germany (where wages are generally not below the poverty limit) as a student, I was solely responsible for gas & upkeep, and driving my own car (into the ground). Pay for an hour, IIRC, was about 8.- DM which was probably around $6 back in the day plus tips, and Germans aren't big tippers generally. The only way you made money was VOLUME of deliveries, b/c you got a minimal percentage of your personal total each night. That paid for the gasoline. My car endured much abuse in those days, aside from smelling like pizza most of the time... not that there's anything wrong with that.

                          But having to go back to the same address b/c the order was wrong? That would suck major doodah, and I think we made sure we had it all before we left pizza HQ. But it did happen, and it sucked, b/c nobody tipped twice, especially when they didn't get all they ordered the first time around.

                          Double whammy for the delivery person.

                  2. While the restaurant made the mistake, good delivery dudes (and dudettes) double-check orders before making the delivery to avoid these mistakes. I'm not sure I would have tipped a second time; they were both at fault.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: CarrieWas218

                      I'd disagree with that. Delivery persons, no matter how good, rarely if ever check orders. Can you imagine a pizza delivery person opening up every single order to see if the right pizza was in the box. You'd only get cold pizzas.

                      1. re: PeterL

                        And yet I have witnessed the delivery guys at both my favorite, local Mediterranean and Argentine restaurants (who do a lot of delivery) always double-check every order before they walk out, knowing that quite the often the kitchen is slammed.

                        1. re: PeterL

                          I haven't delivered pizza in almost 40 years, BUT we always checked orders before leaving the shop. It was made clear on hiring that it was our responsibility to deliver the correct items. We would not be paid for redelivery ot gas for redelivery.

                          I eat once a week in a pizza place that does a lot of delivery. I have observed the delivery drivers are the ones who box the pies as they are pulled from the ovens, label the boxes, and pull the sodas and oter items as well. This seems to do away with the excuse that they made a mistake in the kitchen.

                        2. re: CarrieWas218

                          Delivery drivers should check the orders. The whole process of a restaurant is to check at each level as the food goes from kitchen to customer. That's basic and yet we still manage to get hot pizzas.

                          I wouldn't have tipped again because the waste of my time. Either the delivery guy starts to double check things or he tears a strip out of the kitchen. One way or another the lack of second gratuity makes a point for better future service.

                          1. re: piano boy

                            Or worse service.....Cardinal rule #1 Do not piss off the kitchen; (in this case delivery people), before you get your order!!!!!!

                        3. The delivery driver works for the restaurant, and the restaurant made a mistake, so I don't think a second tip is warranted.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: jla1960

                            Is this different when the kitchen at a sit down restaurant screws up? Do you take it out on the server? I don't.

                            1. re: James Cristinian

                              So if the server forgot an entree and had to make a separate trip, you'd tip double for that entree? That would be the equivalent since the OP, I assume, tipped on the dishes also not brought. Adding another tip would be doubling it for a mistake.

                          2. i tip for service. Did the delivery person do two or only one service (delivery) for you?
                            Do you get paid at work to help correct a mistake that was not your fault? Or must you punch out, do the correction, then punch back in?

                            1. I agree with the hubby. A tip is an additional "thank you" for a job well-done. If that job was less than satisfactory a tip is not deserved. Not only would I not tip the second time, but if I could, I'd take that first tip back.

                              1. You sit down at the table at a restaurant and you order a chicken for $20. The chicken is badly prepared by the kitchen and it is returned, the server asks it you would like something else and you order the pork chop for $20. The server did nothing wrong but what should the tip be based on...$20 or $40. I doubt if many would say $40.

                                In this case I would also not tip on round #2. I paid my tip on the order and the total package (restaurant and driver) did not live up to their end of the bargain, I did. If anyone deserves to pay the driver extra, it is the restaurant. Will that occur...never, but that is not the customer's responsibility.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: jfood

                                  I agree--added to which, dinner is messed up if half of it doesn't show up. The OP is out a nice dinner and shouldn't have be out of more money because of the restaurant's error. What's refreshing is that she isn't expecting to be comped anything, just wondering if she should pay more for the restaurant's mistake.

                                2. Wouldnt have been my usual practice to have tipped the first time, let alone the second.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Harters

                                    Different countries, different customs. When in Rome...

                                    1. re: jla1960

                                      Indeed. The OP hadnt indicated where in the world they were so I took this to be a general question and posted as such. I see now from their posting history they are presumably in Canada.

                                    2. re: Harters


                                    3. Tip, always tip. If you've got enough cash to order out, tip.

                                      1. i usually tip again in that situation, but not as large as the 1st time.

                                        i'm seriously amazing at the conceptual hoops some people seem to jump through to save 2 bucks.

                                        1. I would not tip the second time.

                                          1. Of course you should tip. Even the 2nd time. If you're lucky enough to be cozy at home while someone else is schlepping out in the cold to hand deliver your food, be thankful. Happily, a restaurant mix-up is your biggest problem today.

                                            2 Replies
                                              1. re: Whinerdiner

                                                and along these lines, Whinerdiner, OVERTIP, whenever you can!

                                              2. I have no idea if it's right or wrong, but I would not have tipped. If the kitchen screws up my order at a restaurant, I don't tip the server extra because they had to bring things over to the table a second time either, even though they are losing time with other tables over it.

                                                I guess that's because the server should check the food order before bringing it out, and so should the delivery driver.

                                                OTOH, I've taken to tipping delivery drivers a minimum of $3 and generally 20%. If I gave the pizza guy $2 for $20 of pizza, I'd probably give him another $1 or 2 if he had to come back.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: Raids

                                                  it many large cities, and certainly in new york, the delivery guy is not driving, he is walking or biking. then they are often climbing several flights of stairs. they are not in the kitchen, they do not pack the food, they are given closed containers, and sometimes stapled bags, that they cannot check. and frankly - i dont want the delivery guy opening up my food containers.

                                                  it's not his fault.

                                                  1. re: thew

                                                    Oh yeah, I haven't anyone in a car in some time either - mostly scooters in D.C. Otherwise, I still feel the same way. There are a few parties involved here: me, the delivery person, and the restaurant. Really, the restaurant should comp me something, and then I should tip the delivery person again, and everyone is happy. But that's not going to happen.

                                                    So, it's me and the delivery person. Maybe they don't get to check the food. I don't know. But I do know that *I* don't get to check the food before it leaves the restaurant. So, if it's between the two of us, it's less my fault then theirs.

                                                    Although, to be honest, normally I just have the restaurant take whatever I ordered off my bill. Or, at this one place I used to order Chinese from, they'd forget our eggs rolls about 20% of the time, but they'd just add them for free on to my next order.

                                                    A delivery person would have to forget an entire entree or pizza for me to make them come back, and I do hope they would notice that.

                                                2. It sounds like the restaurant owes him the extra tip.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: im_nomad

                                                    Don't take out your frustrations on the service people; they are probably working multiple jobs.....TIP!!!!

                                                  2. I delivered pizza for several years, so that's where my opinion is coming from:

                                                    I wouldn't expect a tip for the second trip, and would actually turn one down if it was offered. Both places I drove for expected the drivers to make sure the order was correct before leaving to deliver, and if we didn't, well that's our fault, why should the customer have to pay extra?

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: ratbuddy

                                                      Finally a voice of reason and responsibility from a former delivery person that understands a job done well is a job worth doing.

                                                      Thank you ratbuddy.

                                                      1. re: ratbuddy

                                                        I actually had an experience, such has been mentioned in this thread. There was a second delivery, and the driver refused the second tip. As it was horrible weather out, I insisted, and forced him (though without any REAL violence) to take it. Still, all he could do was apologize for the restaurant's omission. To me, that made him even more deserving of the second tip, but that is just me.

                                                        I never did delivery work, of any kind, but only hope that I would have conducted myself as he did, or as as you express. Again, that attitude DESERVES the second tip - just for caring, and for being humble.

                                                        Same for the folk at the resorts that I frequent, where gratuities are included. When they do something over and above, they get money in their palms. The ones who make sure that I am aware of the policy of the inn, to include gratuities, the more likely they are to receive another, when the service exceeds expectations, and that one might well be larger. Honesty and integrity should be rewarded, and I try to do my part.


                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                          "it was horrible weather out"

                                                          I get the impression you're in the desert SW right, sheesh, when it can be bothered to rain that crap REALLY comes down.

                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                            That incident was in Denver, and it was both very cold and snowing heavily.

                                                            Here in PHX, I do not think that we have ever order for delivery - at least not that I can recall. Gates, private roads that do not appear on any GPS, or GoogleMaps, etc., sort of makes it difficult.

                                                            Now, at certain times of the year, we CAN get some heavy rains. Back in NOLA, someone would be talking about a hurricane in the Gulf, but it's just the "monsoon" in AZ. Also, heavy dew (about once per 5 years) really clogs traffic in Phoenix, as few even know what it is... [Grin]


                                                      2. You know, many are assuming that the delivery person is at fault for not checking the order. But what if the person taking the phone order made the mistake? Maybe the order was entered incorrectly, or she left out part of the instructions, or just misunderstood? I bring it up because whenever we order pizza from our favorite place, the person taking the order is the one responsible for packing it to go.

                                                        22 Replies
                                                        1. re: Whinerdiner

                                                          That's why I have a hard time blaming the driver. As Thew says people are jumping through hoops to justify not paying. I have several large jars of spare change at my place, as do most people. Would it hurt do reach in and grab four or five quarters and a couple of dimes? You'll never miss it.

                                                          1. re: James Cristinian

                                                            For many, it should not. I loose much more in the course of a year, by not filling in rebate forms, or using the resultant gift cards. That's my life, and the driver is in it for but a short while, trying to do their job.

                                                            I am in a fortunate position, where I can freely tip, and choose to do so. Were I on a really tight budget, and a tip might come out of my family's food budget, instead of my wine budget, maybe I would feel differently, and act accordingly. I have to admit that when I was a student, and then a starving artist, I did not tip so liberally, but still tipped, as well as I could.


                                                          2. re: Whinerdiner

                                                            I know when I delivered, on busy nights especially, I'd be told to go and the food would already be packaged for me and the bags stapled closed. Kinda hard to check if the customer sees an opened bag with staple holes and assumes the delivery person was rummaging around for no good reason (which was why they started stapling the bags closed in the first place, because of some customers' ridiculous attempts at getting a refund/free meal). Heaven help me if a bag was open while it was snowing or raining...

                                                            Best option: if you can afford delivery + tip, you can afford the gas and time used to drive to said restaurant and pick it up yourself and check yourself before you leave with the bag. It'd probably be a lot quicker than delivery, to be honest. I understand some nights you just want things delivered to you, but if you don't want to pay for that service, then don't use it.

                                                            1. re: yfunk3

                                                              Yeah, I have had more issues with orders that I picked up, then discovered were wrong, when I returned home. It should have been my responsibility to check the order, but when one is in a hurry, the line is long at the pickup, and the car is running in the parking lot, one passes, instead putting trust in the restaurant to get it right. Usually, they do, but when they do not - it is my responsibility.

                                                              Now, that is getting Off-topic in this thread, but then we have veered to where the responsibility is to be placed.


                                                            2. re: Whinerdiner

                                                              Then that person owes the delivery driver a favor.

                                                              1. re: Whinerdiner

                                                                Doesn't matter if it was the order taker, kitchen, or driver's fault. The customer should never have to pay twice to fix a problem that wasn't their fault.

                                                                1. re: ratbuddy

                                                                  have to? you dont HAVE TO tip at all. we are not discussing have-to's, but ought-to's

                                                                2. re: Whinerdiner

                                                                  Let's take an example of a retail store where the salesperson is paid on commision, so similar to the delivery person.

                                                                  You buy some shirts and you get home and each of them has a tear in the sleeve. You return to the store and approach the salesperson. And s/he takes the time to ring up the return, grabs undamaged shirts and rings them up.

                                                                  The salesperson received zero commission for the added work, and like the delivery person was not the cause of the mistake.

                                                                  Should the customer give the saleperson some money to compensate? I doubt if anyone reaches into their pocket at that point.

                                                                  I am not assigning fault or blame to any part of the order-to-delivery food chain, but somewhere it failed. The customer should not be held responsible for additional cost to repair the process.

                                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                                    We're only talking a dollar or two, and I give ther driver the benefit of doubt, maybe, evenly probably it's not his fault. Your analogy about the person on commission is flawed. I sold stereos and video on commission a while and commission is not like tips, you don't have to leave the store twice, spend gas, and wear on your car. If your tv was broken, it was handled through customer service, or the service department, like when your car breaks you don't take it back to the salesman, you go to service. I work at a large retail store now, and all returns are handled through customer service, not by the individual who sold it.

                                                                    1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                      And I've just got to say it: I don't believe the final blow should fall on the driver, although it would be a nice practice if some were more conscientious about that. The person who packs the order for delivery is more the one in charge of what actuallly winds up in the bag. And then the person who takes delivery of it. Sticking the delivery guy where he lives is, IMO, "killing the messenger."

                                                                      1. re: mamachef

                                                                        And the great thing about CH is the sharing of opinions. Noone is advocating punishment or "sticking it to him" or "killing the messenger. Why the attacks on the other side of the discussion. Noone has thrown stones at those who tip a second time.

                                                                        Some, including me, think that they have already paid for the food, the service charge and the delivery, and they should receive the benefit of the bargain. Others think that an additional tip is fine. If some want to tip and others do not, then everyone agrees to disagree.

                                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                                          I agree with jfood.

                                                                          And some days I would give the driver the extra tip on the extra trip, but often on order in meal day I've raided the laundry change to make sure to have a good tip for my delivery and wouldn't have any more money left to give the second time around. I don't keep a lot of cash on hand because I use debit most of the time.

                                                                          I wouldn't be 'trying to get out paying a tip'. If fact I tip well when I get my order. But I don't lay aside a fund in my house for "tips in case the restaurant gets the order wrong and needs to deliver a second time".

                                                                    2. re: jfood

                                                                      we can all make false analogies all day long to justify our belief. but it has zip to do with a commissioned sales person. pay or don;t pay. but that guy did just work twice as hard, so he's getting half as much. and it isn;t his fault. and lets face it, if you job is delivering food, then you can use the dollar a lor more than the person you're delivering to.

                                                                      1. re: thew

                                                                        let's take the caste system, name calling (this time calling the analogy false), and who needs it more off the table and stick to the analogy on why a delivery person is a protected species.

                                                                        People tell me my analogy is "false" or "flawed" without telling me why. My analogy exactly depicts double work for the same commission. JC came up with a totally different set of circumstances to tell me my analogy does not fit his 2 data points as a stereo salesman in a previous life and how his current employer handles returns, yawn.

                                                                        Thew, you always have good arguments (we disagree more than we agree, but c'est la vie) so I trust your brain. Could you please tell me how a commissioned saesperson who receives 20% of sales (for example) and does twice the work as depicted in my analogy is any different from a delivery person who does twice the work.

                                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                                          Would not tip the second time. I tip very well for the initial delivery, but then I'm done.

                                                                            1. re: jla1960

                                                                              and then i get negative compensation for being the harmed party.

                                                                          1. re: thew

                                                                            I wouldn't dispute the fact that the driver has extra wear and tear on vehicle etc and perhaps is owed a few extra bucks.... but not necessarily from the customer. If the error is on the part of the restaurant.... it is the restaurant who should be throwing the extra bucks to the delivery person.

                                                                            I do think that he clerk analogy is correct. There's no wear and tear on a vehicle, but that return would be taking time out of their day that could be used on other commissioned sales. There's a potential money loss in any event.

                                                                            1. re: im_nomad

                                                                              assume the delivery vehicle was owned by the restaurant they absorbed the cost then.

                                                                            2. re: thew

                                                                              What if my job is delivering food? Does that exempt me from the rules of socialist equality? Should I compare tax returns with the other delivery driver and see who earns more to determine who tips whom?

                                                                            3. re: jfood

                                                                              No, I beat them with a stick, for not checking my shirts... [Grin]

                                                                              Checking my purchases is a nice touch with some of the retailers, that I utilize, and I appreciate that. I also like when they carefully remove all tags, and place them in a pocket.


                                                                            4. re: Whinerdiner

                                                                              Yes, a lot of possibilities.

                                                                              So long as the restaurant makes good, does not berate me, or make excuses, and the driver shows up quickly, they get the second tip. I won't rationalize on all the reasons, but am content in my decision.

                                                                              There are some, who feel that the second tip is justified, and some, who feel that it is not. I do not see any of us changing the minds of the "other" group. It is something that each of us lives with.


                                                                            5. It seems like everything there is to be said on this subject has already been said, and now the conversation is just going in circles, and growing increasingly unfriendly. We're going to lock it now.