We all know how much you should tip a server in a restaurant—18 to 20 percent. But there’s less clarity on how much to tip for food delivery. In a restaurant, waiters bring you your food, often offer witty banter, and can tell you which blend of white will go best with your swordfish. But what about for the people who are responsible for getting food to your door when you order in? Like a Grubhub or Seamless driver?
As a result of the pandemic, our reliance on food delivery drivers has skyrocketed. When DoorDash filed for an IPO last month, the company reported almost 2 billion dollars in revenue over the course of nine months. Unsurprisingly when much of the country was on lockdown, coping (while also supporting local restaurants that were facing closure) came in the form of takeout.
While they might not refill your water glass throughout your meal, they’re still always there to bring you a bagel in a snowstorm or a cocktail for your quarantine party of one.
So do the restaurant rules still apply when your food is brought to your door, not the table? Absolutely. Glamour spoke with Grubhub drivers across the country for their recommendations. Read on for their best delivery-service tipping advice.
How Much Grubhub Delivery Drivers Actually Earn
Unlike waiters, most of these delivery workers aren’t paid by the restaurants outright. They’re paid by Grubhub—and it’s not based on the size or price of the order. “Grubhub has a $3.50 base [depending on location], plus mileage, any bonuses they’re offering, and tip,” says Curtis, who delivers for Grubhub in Denver. While actual fees can vary based on the city or state you drive in, an anonymous driver in Rochester, New York, shared that he gets paid 50 cents a mile. But it’s important to note, he says, that “we don’t get paid from where we are to the restaurant. We only get paid from where we are to the diner, so we can drive up to 20 minutes sometimes to pick up the food that we’re not getting paid for.”
But how do tips factor in? Because Grubhub actually accounts for tips in their payment algorithm, they matter a lot. For John William, a driver in Pennsylvania, “about 50 percent of my weekly earnings is from my tips.” So when you go to tip your delivery driver, remember that it’s a huge portion of their overall pay.
They Have Fees You’d Never Think Of
Grubhub drivers don’t simply walk away with the full fee they’re earning. Much like those working for ride-share companies, the majority of a Grubhub driver’s work is done in their own car. So a portion of their paycheck goes back to gas and overall maintenance on their vehicle. Curtis in Denver estimates that he puts 12 percent of his paycheck back into his truck on things like “new tires, oil changes—which can cost up to $25—or needing to have my brakes redone.” And that’s without gas, which can cost upwards of $50 a week, depending the car.