Should you tip your delivery driver before your food gets delivered?
It's a good idea if you don't want it sitting around for hours, according to a viral TikTok video.
A video posted on Sunday by a user named Steven Liang, who claims to deliver for DoorDash, shows what looks like a pile of bags filled with food orders that have allegedly been sitting there for hours because no driver will take them since no tip was included.
"These been sitting here for 4 hours because no dashers would take non tip orders," he wrote on the video. "No tip no trip, the worker told me no dashers/Uber eats/grubhub went to get the order."
In the caption, he added the hashtags #doordashdriver #nontippers #notipnotrip #takethebusbozo.
The reaction to the video was mixed, with some supporting the drivers and others lamenting that you have to now tip before the service is complete.
"Tipping culture is out of control," one commenter wrote. "Only in America are we tipping 20% on a service BEFORE you get it, as well as paying 200% in fees. Ridiculous."
"We need to stop normalizing tipping before the service is completed," another wrote.
"@DoorDash do better!!! No tip should not even be an option!" one person wrote in support of the drivers.
"I do doordash on the side of my full time teaching job," another person wrote. "I won’t take any orders without tips either."
"People want to complain about tipping $5 but have no problem paying $20 fee for a $15 meal," one commenter wrote. "Get it yourselves."
Liang, who lives in San Francisco, did not want to comment on the video when reached by TODAY. DoorDash and Uber Eats spokespeople would not comment specifically on the video; Grubhub did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
"Dashers are always shown a guaranteed minimum amount they will earn for completing a delivery before they even accept the delivery, as well as the location and name of the restaurant, and estimated total mileage for the delivery so that they can make the best decision for themselves while dashing," the DoorDash spokesperson said in a statement to TODAY.
DoorDash drivers keep 100% of their tips and are shown the minimum amount they will earn before each delivery, according to the company.
An Uber Eats spokesperson told TODAY that 100% of all tips go directly to their couriers, too. It's essentially the same process as DoorDash: The driver can see an expect amount they will earn for each delivery — including tip entered by the customer — before accepting the job. On the Uber app, however, customers can tip before, during and after a trip, and they have the ability to adjust their tip within an hour of receiving their order.
The scene allegedly depicted in the video, which has been watched more than 4 million times, raises the ongoing issue of how to approach tipping when using popular food delivery apps.
Regular TODAY guest Thomas P. Farley, aka Mister Manners, is a nationally syndicated etiquette columnist and expert on matters of etiquette. He said it's difficult to analyze the TikTok video without much context, but could understand why the alleged backup occurred.
"If a lack of tipping is truly the reason for the pile-up — and not a staff shortage or a glut of orders — it saddens me on multiple levels," he told TODAY in an email. "It is high time that all members of the public recognize the invaluable service provided by members of the gig economy. They make our lives more convenient.
"If someone believes that proper monetary acknowledgment of a delivery person’s role in easing the stress of our daily to-do lists is too much to ask, I suggest that individual try a gig job for a week. I have no doubt their attitude on the matter will shift dramatically.”
Farley also shared some do's and don'ts when it comes to deciding how much to tip on food delivery apps as well as his stance on the concept of "tip-baiting," which has angered many delivery drivers.
Should tips be based on a percentage of your order?
"In most instances, using a percentage formula when calculating a gratuity is a fair and reliable way to decide how much to tip a delivery worker. For medium-size to large orders, consider 15% as a baseline, giving more for excellent service or challenging delivery situations such as poor weather or having to ascend multiple flights of stairs to reach your door.
One should not tip less out of resentment for service charges or delivery fees, only a modest amount of which may go to the delivery worker personally."
How much should you tip on small orders?
"For especially small orders, a percentage formula may result in a number that is not proportionate to the challenge of the delivery. In those cases, I recommend at least a few dollars or more, depending on factors such as how long the driver traveled to reach you.
On occasions where the delivery is excessively late or your food arrived with items missing or spilled, or your delivery person is outright rude, not tipping is justifiable. Depending on how poorly the delivery was handled, you may also wish to consider noting the negative experience directly on the app."
Should you include the tip before your food gets delivered?
"Although you may believe you can’t possibly get a feel for how much to tip until after the delivery has taken place, tipping prior to the delivery is the appropriate thing to do, giving the benefit of the doubt that the delivery will meet your expectations, and leaving no possibility you are going to 'forget' to tip once you have received your items. Should you need to adjust your tip upward or downward following a delivery due to unforeseen circumstances, the apps offer you the means to do so."
Is tip-baiting a bad idea?
"Under no circumstances should you indicate a good tip prior to the delivery and then change the amount to something lower after the fact simply because you wanted to entice a driver to take the order. Such bait-and-switch behavior is unethical and unfair to drivers who must hustle to make a decent living, particularly in this era of high gas prices and inflation. If you resent the fees associated with food delivery, don’t have food delivered."
If you're looking to become a driver yourself for the major food delivery apps like DoorDash, Grubhub and Uber Eats, here are some tips from a driver who delivered for multiple apps for 100 days straight and learned all the ins and outs.