We’ve all been there. Dinnertime, everyone’s hangry, and the fridge is bare. Luckily, ordering food delivery has never been easier. From classic pizza delivery to the many food delivery apps (from Uber Eats to GrubHub), odds are that you can get your favorite restaurant food brought right to your front door.
The catch? It’s still super awkward to know exactly how much to tip. We’ve pulled together a handy guide to how much to tip pizza delivery (and every other kind of delivery out there).
Canvasing the Internet, we’ve learned that almost everyone agrees on a $5 minimum, regardless of the total cost of your order. (If you live in a small town with a small driving radius, experts say a $3 minimum is fine.)
If you think about the time it takes a driver to grab the food from the restaurant, drive it to your place, wait for you to come to the door and then head back to the restaurant, you’re looking at 20 minutes, but probably more. Ask yourself: would I take that trip for less?
Remember that most delivery guys drive their own cars and pay for all associated expenses (like gas), not to mention, accept the permanent aroma of pepperoni pizza embedded in their upholstery. (This wouldn’t be a problem if robots ever start delivering pizza.)
Why a Flat Fee?
Tipping a flat fee makes sense because the effort to deliver many differently priced orders is the same. Maybe you ordered two pizzas with everything, which costs a lot but doesn’t take more effort to deliver than plain cheese. Maybe you only ordered one small entree, but that’s still a whole trip for the driver. Maybe you have a coupon. And so on. The tipping rules for takeout aren’t the same.
If your bill is higher—say, over $50—tip 10% of the total order.
What If I Paid a Delivery Fee?
The delivery or service fees you may have paid the restaurant or food delivery app probably don’t go to the driver. In general, such fees cover the cost of business for the food delivery app or service.
The restaurant (and the driver) assume that tips are part of the driver’s wage, so never skip the tip.
Extra Credit: When to Tip More
If your order falls under the following conditions, you should tip more, between 15 and 20%:
- Bad weather, like sleet or snow (but we don’t think you should order then at all)
- Party-sized orders (think 10 pizzas, or tons of Chinese food with lots of sides)
- Lots of special requests, add-ons, substitutions, etc.
- For delivery outside the normal delivery range
- If the driver called with updates or otherwise went above and beyond
Should You Ever Tip Less?
If the driver is overtly rude, runs over your prize flower beds, drops the food, or commits some other obvious offense, then you can give a lower tip.
What if the food arrives late, or ice cold? That might be on the restaurant, not the driver. If you have a complaint with your food, it’s generally best to tip the driver the minimum, and then call the restaurant to complain. They may take care of you with refunds or coupons.
To Sum Up
We get it: tipping can get pricey, especially on top of fees. You’re paying for the convenience and the extra time and effort it takes the restaurant and delivery guy. You can always try the top-rated frozen pizza brand!