Everything You Must Know About Tipping Delivery Drivers The Right Way
- Lauren Hamer
- 2 Min Read
For a look at how much to tip catering delivery during COVID, see our new article, Office Catering: How Much to Tip Your Delivery Driver During COVID.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics once rated delivery drivers as one of the most dangerous occupations in the country. These workers often deliver food orders in inclement weather and to a variety of locals. Unfortunately, how these drivers should be compensated remains a bit cloudy and applying a tip on your weekend pizza order versus an office food order for your next lunch and learn is widely different.
Tipping delivery drivers between 15-20% is suitable starting point, according to USA Today, but that amount can becoming incredibly taxing — pun intended — on larger orders intended for the entire staff. To better understand ordering and tipping guidelines, we put together a simple cheat sheet for your next office catering order.
Delivery fees and tips – is there a difference?
It’s likely your office will need to fund two separate fees for your catering order: a delivery fee and a tip. Many mistake a delivery fee as a payment for the driver. In reality, it’s often a company-wide standard to cover the cost of gas, insurance, and other driver-related expenses. These fees can be as small as $3 or as large as $30. How much your office is charged for delivery service will depend on the size of the order and the travel distance from your caterer.
The tip, on the other hand, is the amount paid directly to the delivery driver who drops off the food order at its final destination. Customers can and should consider tipping delivery drivers for outstanding service, as it’s usually their only form of compensation outside of a low hourly wage.
With that being said, what’s the catering tip standard and how much should you be tipping delivery drivers? Read on for an explanation and a few words of wisdom.
The going rate for tipping catering delivery drivers
First, always confirm with your caterer that gratuity is not already included in your total bill before your order arrives, as some larger catering services will automatically apply it. If not, you’ll want to leave a cash tip in addition to the delivery or service charge.
Of course, this state-by-state analysis on tipping delivery drivers proves there’s no hard and fast rule. But there are definitely guidelines your office can follow to ensure fairness all around. Billfold suggests setting a 10-15% office policy on all orders.
Recent ezCater data showed tips on orders under $50 were consistent with this standard range with the average catering delivery tip being 13.4%. As the order size grew larger and more expensive, the average tip percentage decreased. For example, $100 orders received a 10.2% tip on average, and $200 orders hovered around an average tip of 9%. Therefore, we noticed a few trends in our analysis that we deem appropriate tipping guidelines.
Catering delivery driver tipping guidelines:
- Orders under $50: 15 to 20% tip
- $100 orders and above: 10% tip
MoneyUnder30 also echos the standard 10% delivery tip for large food orders. And, no matter what percentage you use, many believe that any tip under $5 will verge on insulting — even for small orders.
Weather may also influence your tip amount. This makes sense, though, as drivers who manage to deliver hot food on-time during a winter snowstorm deserve a little extra “thank you.”
What to expect from your drop-off catering order
With office catering guidelines so murky it can be difficult to discern where the delivery driver’s responsibilities start and end during drop-off service.
You should expect the staff to:
- Take the time to set up the order in an appealing, logical format.
- Walk you through what was ordered.
- Outline what each menu item is on the table.
- Answer any questions you have regarding serving strategies.
But it’ll likely stop there. Unless you’ve commissioned wait staff to serve your team throughout the event, they’ll simply ensure everything is ready for take-off before literally taking off.
You shouldn’t expect the staff to:
- To serve the food (unless otherwise commissioned).
- Provide clean-up assistance.
*Note: if more than one catering staff member helps set-up a larger event, we recommend giving the tip to the lead member so they can distribute tips to the individual workers appropriately.
Remember, delivery drivers are out hitting the streets so you don’t have to. And good service deserves to be rewarded. Consider these tipping guidelines next time you place a catering order and forge a meaningful, professional relationship with your delivery partners.
For more information on planning the perfect office catering order