Eye on the Street: Tipping delivery drivers

Eye on the Street: Tipping delivery drivers

By Carolyn Sackstein

Tipping for home delivery of food has been debated in the media lately, with a viral video of a delivery driver taking an order back because she felt an $8 tip was inadequate for transporting the food from Commack to Smithtown. 

The internet is full of videos instructing drivers on techniques for working with DoorDash, Uber Eats and Grubhub apps to maximize pay and improve service. It is also filled with complaints of drivers being stiffed by non-tipping customers and undertipping. Drivers also decry the practice of “tip-baiting,” in which a good tip is promised with pre-tipping and then is adjusted down after delivery.

On Friday, March 10, TBR News Media asked people on the street in downtown Port Jefferson to discuss their tipping practices. The following are their responses.



Elizabeth Garland, Port Jefferson

Garland rarely gets food delivery, but said she tips “20% like I would in a restaurant, maybe a little more. If it was a bad weather day, maybe a bit more.”






Gloria Neumair, Patchogue

“For food delivery, I don’t tip as much as I would in a restaurant, but I still tip.” When asked what she bases her tips on, she responded, “I guess the distance they had to come, the total of the order, but I don’t generally do a percent.”






Alexa Noriega, Patchogue

“I think the amount should be based on factors like the weather, how much they are getting for you and whether they provided any extra customer service during the shopping process. I do think they should be tipped on top of their pay.”






Jesse Guerra, St. James

“I usually do 20%. I consider it a generous tip, depending on where I go.” When asked if a fee should be built into a person’s salary, he responded, “I don’t think it should be built into a person’s salary. There are better workers than others. I don’t like when they put [the tips] into one big bucket and spread it out because the less good workers are getting a share of the better workers.”





Nick Lemza, Smithtown

“I actually work for DoorDash and Uber Eats. I always tip 20-to-25%.” He went on to discuss the criteria on which he bases his tipping. These factors include “how quickly the food gets to you, if the food is in proper care, what the ratings are on each profile and just if the food is good. I tip even if the food is bad — 18-to-20% because this is someone’s living.”