Pre-tip your driver or risk slow delivery, DoorDash users warned

Want your late-night Big Mac order to arrive at least a little bit warm? Better tip your delivery driver ahead of time. 

Driving the news: DoorDash is testing a change to its service that will ask customers to add a tip at checkout and warn them that failing to do so could mean their delivery will take longer.

  • DoorDash said delivery drivers are more likely to accept orders that come with a tip because they earn more from them, meaning those orders get delivered faster.

  • The update is currently being tested in select cities in the US and Canada, and DoorDash said it’s “seen a meaningful decrease in no-tip orders” since it launched.

Why it matters: Tipping for delivery is standard practice, but pressuring consumers to tip for service before it’s even been delivered is a new — and some might say unwelcome — expansion of a tipping culture that’s grown more pervasive since the pandemic.

  • The average tip amount increased from 16% in 2019 to 20% this year, according to payments company Square, and shoppers are being asked for tips at more places — not even using a self-checkout machine is a surefire way to avoid a tip request.

Yes, but: Gig workers, like those who deliver for DoorDash, often depend on tips to top-up base pay that is calculated algorithmically and sometimes leaves them earning below the minimum wage.

  • Companies like DoorDash also have a strong incentive to encourage customers to tip more in order to make their platform more attractive to drivers, which in turn reduces wait times for users.

Bottom line: More precarious gig work in the economy means more pressure to tip, as marketplace-style platforms like DoorDash shift the burden of paying workers directly onto customers.—TS