How Much Should You Tip For Food Delivery?

This is always a confusing one for me. I never know approximately how much to tip a food delivery person. I know that they are usually (but not always) just the delivery guy. They are not the chef or cook that prepared the food. Also, some restaurants charge a delivery fee on top of the cost of the meal. So you are already paying for the food to be delivered, right? But I guess that is the same as just going into a restaurant, paying for your meal, and still tipping the waitress for her service. Hourly wages for waitresses are abysmal so that is why they rely so much on tips. I can’t imagine delivery guys making more than waitresses do as far as hourly wages go. They are probably hoping for some nice tips to help pay for the gas. So that brings me back to my question. How much should you tip for food delivery? Is there an unspoken amount or percentage? Are there any other factors that might go into the tip? I did a little research and here is what I found out.

Restaurant Tipping Versus Delivery Tipping

In most cases, when you walk into a restaurant, you are going to be tipping around 30% of your total bill. This is for your waiter or waitress who hopefully takes care of you, makes you feel welcome, and makes sure you get what you ordered without any foreign objects in it. They should stop by the table several times to refill your drink, ask if you want that over-priced dessert, and make sure that everything is okay. You could be at the restaurant anywhere from thirty minutes to over an hour. That is a long time for someone to wait on you.

Now let’s take a look at delivery guys. They are either driving or, if just around the corner, walking an armload of food over to your place. They knock on your door, hand you the food, and leave. They are not coming into your home to set the food around the table, get your drinks, and serve it to you. So the time that they spend with you is pretty short and they definitely don’t stick around to make sure that the food is what you ordered. The bottom line to this is that they aren’t going to get the same percentage as in a restaurant. A fair amount to tip for a simple delivery is going to be around 15% to 20%. However, there are some other variables you might want to consider.

Distance and Time


You should also consider distance and the time it takes to get to your place. Some restaurants will drive a good distance for deliveries. If the delivery person has a long way to travel then you have to figure that it is going to take more gas and will take longer for the food to arrive. You should probably tip more than 15% for this service. And don’t complain if it takes a long time for the food to arrive.

On the other hand, if the restaurant is only a block away and it takes two hours to get your food, then you definitely have cause to complain. But don’t take it out on the delivery person. They were likely waiting for the cooks to prepare the food so it could be delivered.

Quality of Food Being Delivered

This is a big one to think about. There is a difference between ordering food from a quality restaurant and having it delivered versus ordering a pizza. Pizza was just made to be delivered. Those pies get slapped together and taken out the door faster than you can say “Little Caesars”. Tips for pizza delivery and other fast food should definitely be on the lower end of the tipping scale, maybe at around 12%.

Some Other Factors

There are some other factors involved when ordering food to be delivered. A busy time for deliveries is when the weather is bad. If it is storming or there is snow and ice all over the roads, no one wants to get out in those kinds of conditions. We want the delivery people to get out in those kinds of conditions. It doesn’t matter if they have to use a snow plow, we want our food. But, if your delivery driver has to get out in some seriously nasty weather just because you didn’t want to cook, you had better make it worth their while. Tip them big for that service. They may need it for a tow truck.

Another thing to consider is holidays. Some restaurants and fast food joints are open during the holidays and while we get to stay home and enjoy it, there are some poor souls who have to work during those times. If you order food to be delivered, you should also give the driver a good tip, even if it is just pizza. Hey, its’ the holidays.