Here's how much to tip when you order food on a delivery app


After its controversial tipping policy provoked ire among its customers, food delivery service DoorDash is making changes. Now, company's delivery men and women will receive the full amount of their tips in addition to payment for the food delivery.

The New York Times published a first-person account from a DoorDash deliveryman which detailed how the company guaranteed deliverers an order minimum for each delivery. But, if the deliverer was tipped via the app, the tip would be counted toward the minimum, rather than as an additional payment. If DoorDash guaranteed $8 and the deliverer was tipped $2 by the customer, the company paid out $6.

The practice sparked debate about how companies such as DoorDash, Postmates, Uber Eats and even Amazon compensate workers. But it also left customers wondering how much they should tip.

Customers and deliverers agree that a tip should be around $4 for a typical order, according to a recent study from U.S. Foods, a foodservice distributor, which asked customers and food deliverers how they feel about using apps like Grubhub and UberEats, with an emphasis on tipping.

Other sources support that conclusion: Consumer Reports notes that $3 to $5 is standard, or around 20% of the total bill, whichever is higher.

On average, customers were willing to pay a maximum of $8.50 for the tip, delivery fee and service fee combined, according to U.S. Foods' report. However, it's worth noting that the delivery apps themselves can eat up a large chunk of that $8.50, leaving little to the food deliverers.

Earlier in the year, Uber Eats announced that it would be levying delivery fees, service fees of 15% of the order cost and an additional fee of $2 on orders of less than $10. Though deliverers don't see the service fee or small order fee, customers are unlikely to make the distinction, and might tip less as a result.

Of the 500 food deliverers surveyed, "weak tipping" was the most common complaint of the job, followed by poor communication with the customer.

Tips are important in the gig economy

Tips are becoming increasingly important compensation in the gig economy as companies try to offload labor costs. Food deliverers for DoorDash aren't employees with salaries and benefits, and many count on tips to make ends meet.

DoorDash CEO Tony Xu tweeted Wednesday that the policy will be changed. Instacart, another delivery app, dropped a similar tipping practice in February after public outcry over the fairness of the policy.

All other major delivery apps, including Uber Eats and GrubHub, give workers 100% of the tips given to them by customers, The Times reports.

Still, if you want to guarantee the workers get a bigger cut of the tip, it's generally advised to do so the old-fashioned way: in cash.

Don't miss: How much to tip during the holiday season

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