How to tip on UberEats

How much should you tip? Are cash tips OK? Let's find out!

UberEats logo

Let's face it, you pay hefty fees when ordering on UberEats. You want to know, do those get passed on to the drivers? Or...?

Fat chance, you're still on the hook for the tip because get this: UberEats only pays its drivers about $2-$3 per order to drive (their personal vehicles: think gas prices) to the restaurant, wait for your order and deliver it to your doorstep!

Yep so read on to understand some of the major factors when tipping.

A lot of times people skimp on the tips because of the fees and people hope that those fees pay the drivers but now you know that's not the case.

It's important to look at food delivery like a luxury so you have to be willing to pay those who make it happen and that is the drivers.

Two quick side notes...

Please note that this post talks about UberEats restaurant delivery, not shop and pay, where you send an UberEats shopper to a participating store like CVS to shop for items and then deliver them to your doorstep. You can follow my Instacart tipping guidelines for that.

This post only talks about restaurant delivery.

Also, this post assumes that you're interested in receiving food that's mean to arrive hot, hot. Some people seriously don't mind nuking their McDonald's burger and so they don't mind waiting for it.

Let's assume you're not that type of person and you want the food from your favorite spot to arrive as fresh as possible. 

OK, quick recap.

How much does UberEats pay again?

Yes, let me repeat that UberEats only pays its drivers between $2-$3 for your order. Here is what that looks like on our end. Since no one can make a living on UberEats' base pay, especially since that's before gas and taxes lest you travel back in time, it’s important you understand that UberEats drivers wouldn’t be able to make a living without your tips. 

What happens if you don't tip or tip little?

As you can imagine, that $2 order is going to bounce around quite a few drivers before it gets picked up, if it gets picked up. If it does get picked up, it's not going to be remotely warm. 

The only exception is that UberEats does get sneaky and groups high tipping customers with low to no tipping customers so if you've tipped nothing or little in the past and your order got to you in good condition, it was probably grouped with a higher paying customer's order. The only other reason could be that the driver lives in your area and wants to get paid (even a tiny bit) to go back home. 

Other than that, your no/low tip order really wouldn't take precedence. 

I always want to make sure I cover most scenarios and really want customers to make their own decisions based on their financial situation, while considering the person on the other end.

Here are some things to consider when ordering on UberEats

How far you live from the restaurant.

Far UberEats delivery

That's undeniably a factor. As I mentioned, UberEats does not pay for mileage so you will have to take that into consideration when ordering.

I see quite a few orders with 25+ mile delivery distances and as a driver those only makes sense if that order ends up in an area with restaurants, from where I can take an order back into my home base or if the order actually takes me into my home base.

Many customers in my area order from fancy restaurants (or in this case Chipotle) in the city and live in rural areas.

In this case, I'd have to drive almost 28 miles to deliver this order and drive back without another order and without getting paid for that mileage and gas. 

Truth is, if you live 25+ miles from a restaurant, your meal probably won't arrive hot even if you tip $20+, that's just a fact.

Many UberEats drivers don't have hot bags but even with those, things cool off quickly so I'd say just make it a night out on the town and go to that restaurant. 

If you live between 1-5 miles from the restaurant, a $5-$7 tip is OK. 

If you live 5+ miles from the restaurant, you should consider tipping $1 extra per each extra mile.

As we've already established, UberEats does not pay its drivers for mileage so whether you live 2 miles from the restaurant or 25, UberEats pays just $2-$3 per order, maybe a little more (I’m talking maybe $1-ish more) on busy nights like game nights, inclement weather or just busy weekends.

This leads me to my next point:

When you’re ordering

Weekends after 5PM are especially busy so you’re competing with high tipping customers who appreciate the service and tip exceptionally high.

If you're ordering on a busy Friday night and you're tipping $5, chances are your order will get treated like a no/low tip order unless you live within a mile from the restaurant.

There are some insanely high tippers on busy weekends so increasing your tip to $7 ups your chances that someone will pick it up quickly.

While I’ve personally taken $4-$5 tips, especially when UberEats adds a little extra during busy times, it’s not always worth it. If I take orders like that, they have to be within a 3ish mile radius so I can grab another order, especially during busy weekends.

On the other hand, a $4-$5 on a Panera order during lunch with a small delivery distance is actually pretty good so it does depend on when and what you’re ordering but if you’re springing for a meal from your favorite local spot, you gotta be willing to tip $8+ even if your total meal costs under $40.

As I already mentioned, inclement weather and other events also drive demand so be aware of when you’re ordering and make sure you add extra in tips so you get your order in a timely manner.

Also, if you’re ordering to satisfy your midnight munchies, be considerate and tip a little extra. It’s dark out there at night so make sure you appreciate your driver for taking care of your munchies or nightshift cravings.

What restaurant you order from doesn't matter as much as you think

Fast food restaurants aren’t always fast and people assume for a driver to pop into McDonald's or Taco Bell is no big deal but you didn't want to do it, so obviously it was a big enough deal for you to outsource.

Many people ordering from fast food restaurants tip lower since the total of their meal may not be a lot.

This is a no tip order for McDonald's that was sent to me while I was out delivering another order.

I assume the customer thought UberEats paid its drivers and since they didn't live far from McDonald's, a tip was not required.

I declined since I already had a good order lined up so why would that high tipping order sit in my car while I wait for someone's no tip McDonald's? As I said before, a lot of times UberEats will group two customers together, one high tipping and one no/low tipping.

No tip UberEats order

I tend to think about customer service and I also have to think in terms of gas cots and for me.

It cots the same to drive to McDonald's and deliver your order as it does to go to a more expensive place and delivery your order.

Just because it's McDonald's doesn't mean you shouldn't tip at least $5 if you live nearby. McDonald's has not mastered the UberEats game and I've dropped orders for long wait-times.

Favorite chains like Outback and Chili’s are insanely crowded on the weekends and are also not the best at managing UberEats deliveries so bear in mind that your driver may have to wait.

You can always increase the tip if you know a driver had to wait and for excellent speedy service. 

As the driver, we can drop and order if the restaurant quotes us a ridiculous wait time. Unfortunately, sometimes restaurants will say five minutes when it’s really 15, which is a little bit of a wait, considering we could have grabbed other orders that were ready during that time.

No tip UberEats order

UberEats does not pay me more to pop into a steakhouse vs. a Taco Bell or for a higher mileage.

As I said, the only increase I see is during busier times as was the case here. Still a no tip order.

No tip UberEats order

And last example of a no tip order from Taco Bell. You might say, well 20-ish minutes isn't all that long so you could do two or maybe even three of those an hour and make almost $10 an hour before gas and taxes. 

That's not exactly why people do gig work using their own vehicles. They do it because it pays well when people tip.

I'd rather not go out to deliver than make less than minimum wage on crappy orders.

Here's a recent example that I consider decent without breaking the bank

Decent UberEats tip

This popped up while I was close to the restaurant so I decided to take it. 

I had to wait about five minutes but it was no big deal. The order took me back into my home base so that was a factor when I accepted it. 

Completed UberEats order

This is what it looks like after I completed the order.

The tip was around $8 to begin with and the customer increased it by 43 cents, which isn't earth shattering but still shows that my efforts were appreciated.

I've had insane tip increases on UberEats (I'm talking $25+) but I want to keep this post realistic so you can see that even just a $7 or $8 tip makes a huge difference.

Should you apply the restaurant tipping standard?

As mentioned, this can be tricky for smaller orders. You really have to factor in how far you live from the restaurant and when you're ordering. The only reason what restaurant you're ordering from matters relates to wait-times. Chains are often busier than your local upscale Thai place.

Aside from fast food orders, people order dinner for one from their favorite local spot and even these days, you can get a decent meal at a local restaurant for around $15 so 20% off $15 would be too little for someone to grab your dinner on a busy Friday night.

I'd say given that it's Friday night, $8 if you're within 5 miles or under makes sense. Increase your tip for speedy delivery!

The restaurant tipping standard (I'm talking 20+%) works for bigger orders over $40.

Many people order family meals that are well above that so the restaurant tipping standard starts to make sense above $40. And I'm talking 20%. 

I would say that anything under a $5 tip on a busy weekend will not get picked up right away.

Here’s an order I took with that kind of tip. It made sense and since I was quick and had hot bags, the customer increased their tip.

I totally understand that there are many bad drivers who aren’t super quick and often don’t have hot bags (UberEats doesn’t provide them upon signup like DoorDash and Grubhub do so you’ll see fewer drivers with bags on UberEats, which is ridiculous because UberEats groups orders with some incredibly long delivery distances so I’m sure customers get their fair share of frigid orders.

Should you tip cash?

I think by now you know that's not a good idea unless it's cash upon delivery in addition to what you tipped on UberEats before you placed the order.

If you plan on tipping cash only, your order will show up as a no tip order on the drivers' end and not get picked up in a timely manner or at all so cash is a nice extra but not if you're adding $0 on UberEats beforehand.

You're doing yourself a disservice and you risk wasting a ton of money on your food that's gonna get to you in bad shape or not at all. 

UberEats gives us 100% of your tips so there's no reason to opt for cash.

Related Pages

How to tip on Instacart

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