Let’s pivot back to a previous discussion on Uber Eats and whether the business model really represents a scam that relies upon preemptive, intimidation-based tipping (extortion) to function as advertised.
Drivers For Uber Eats Want Tips In Advance – Scam?
First, let’s identify the problem. I recently wrote about a late-night Uber Eats order I placed from my hotel in Dallas. It took nearly an hour from the time the food was prepared just a mile away for it to be delivered to me. The food arrived stone cold. I complained to Uber and Uber told me to go pound sand.
Readers purporting to work for Uber left dozens of comments, castigating me (and others) for not preemptively tipping, arguing that such deliveries are not worthwhile absent a generous tip…in advance.
It’s an interesting dilemma because not only did I pay more for the food than had I gone to the fast food eatery directly, but I also paid a service fee to Uber and a delivery fee in the app. On top of that, I added an 18% tip.
But according to Uber drivers, this is not enough. Here’s how one Uber Eats driver explained it:
“With all due respect, 18% is absolutely meaningless with delivery. 18% of a McDonald’s order is, what $2-3? A driver picks up a bag and delivers it to you. Do you think it matters if that bag has $150 in sushi, a single Happy Meal, or a single fountain drink in it? It doesn’t to the driver.
“Based on what I can see if you order, I’m guessing it was about a $2.25 tip. With Uber’s pay, that’s likely less than $5. You were effectively asking a driver to go to Taco Bell, wait in a doubtless long drive-thru line (upwards of 30 minutes), and bring food to you – paying for his/her own gas and wear and tear, for $5.
“An hour’s worth of work for five bucks, minus expenses. Make sense why you didn’t get a driver right away?
“I don’t blame you completely, in that Uber gives percentage amounts as “suggestions” when your order is a certain amount. But I am asking that you think a little, and hopefully use your platform, to help people understand why your delivery indeed sucked.”
I appreciate that perspective. Indeed, whether delivering a $100 order or $10 order, the amount of time and gas is the same.
Another driver, referring to me, added:
“He gets mad at the driver for not wanting to risk their safety and waste their gas to work at a financial loss so he can get his $5 Taco Bell order? People need to understand we as drivers for Uber Eats and Door Dash get to choose which orders we deliver and will select only those that are reasonably profitable and SAFE for us. I’m not delivering Taco Bell to a bad neighborhood at midnight at any price … but if he’d tipped at least $2-$3 per mile to compensate the driver for the risky location, he would have gotten his order in a timely fashion, guaranteed.”
But I take issue with that. A driver must accept the order – no driver is forced to accept an order that appears unattractive. In my case, a driver accepted my order and therefore I reasonably believed that the driver found the exchange worthwhile. Thus, I find that comment wholly unpersuasive. And for goodness’ sake, I was at the Thompson Dallas, not a fleabag Motel 6.
Thus, there are two problems at play. First, Uber itself. The company advertises a service (hot food in a timely manner at an agreed-upon price) when, according to the drivers who must effectuate that service, there is no incentive to fulfill the order in a timely fashion without a preemptive tip. We normally call that fraud…Uber is adverting a service that its independent contractors have little willingness to fulfill at the bargained-for exchange.
Definitionally, a tip is a sum of money given to someone as a reward for their services. Inherent in the meaning of a “tip” is that the services have been performed well before the tip is offered. But what Uber drivers are asking for is a tip before completing their work in an acceptable manner.
To those who drive for Uber and suggest slow delivery is due to an inadequate tip, I would counter that it is not my responsibility as a customer to fix Uber’s broken employee compensation model. Again, I am paying Uber an agreed-upon fee to provide a service. If Uber is not paying its drivers enough to be worth their time then perhaps those drivers should not be working for Uber and certainly should not accept my order. The notion that I have to preemptively provide a large tip to receive the service promised strikes me as insane. I do understand why from the driver’s perspective that is the case, but I will not do it. Instead, I will not use Uber Eats in the USA anymore.
I’ve ordered via Uber Eats in countries ranging from Mexico to Spain and Thailand to South Africa and never had the problems I have had in the USA. But the idea of preemptive tipping is unacceptable to me. My solution will be to avoid Uber Eats…which I suppose will benefit my waistline and spare drivers from being aggravated by my unwillingness to be extorted into paying upfront to ensure timely delivery.
But I do understand the concern of the drivers. If you do use Uber Eats, do consider the cost of the time and gas of the driver when tipping rather than simply a strict percentage of your order. The business model, however, is broken.
Simple answer…YES…..just like Doordash.
But there are plenty of lazy people out there who are willing to pay the fees and waste the little money they have.
And while I’m sure there are decent people that delivery for the services, the truth is they hire any junkie with a car and a drivers license with no interview. Unlike regular Uber where the customer is in the car, sees the driver and they have certain vehicle requirements, these services have homeless who live in their cars driving your food around. They have dogs in the car, along with kids and are getting high while driving. Who else is delivering 7-11 garbage after midnight to other stoners? Not sure how any normal person trusts the food they delivery to be hot, fresh and still edible.
When they write the stories on why America fell behind the rest of the world economically , Doordash and Uber Eats will get a chapter on how they contributed to it. Along with Hello Fresh and other “meal delivery services”. But that’s another story.
Too lazy to do their UE job – that they willingly accepted – but not too lazy to go on the internet to complain about how they should be allowed to be lazy. The entitlement is real. Nobody is forcing anyone to drive for Uber or deliver for UE. If they truly think they need to be tipped a certain amount to do their job, then they should work at an actual restaurant. I’m against tipping culture and I don’t think it should be taken out on servers that make >$3/hr and rely on tips, but an Uber driver is NOT providing me additional wait service like a restaurant and, in my estimation, is not owed a tip. I don’t tip FedEx and UPS drivers who are literally doing the same thing. The onus is not on us as consumers to make up for Uber’s shortcomings. A lack of drivers will force Uber to raise their pay, but the drivers would rather bitch about the tip “not being enough” then maybe getting a job that actually pays minimum wage where they don’t have to pay for gas wasted or wait in lines.
This (poor) point is made again and again, but it’s answering nobody. I didn’t see a single UE driver bitching about Uber. NOT A SINGLE ONE!
They (like me) are happy to accept the jobs we want and reject the ones we don’t based on the price, with ‘tip,’ presented. We were trying to help Matthew understand why his bid (we all agree it shouldn’t be called a “tip”) perhaps caused a delay in a driver accepting it. One the driver accepted it, then we all agree it’s their job to deliver it without delay. And, it PROBABLY WAS.
Have you gone to a suburban fast food restaurant around midnight in the past few years? I’ll tell you what it’s like: lobby’s closed, one or two workers trying to fill orders, a drive thru line that’s 30+ minutes long and drivers have to wait behind all those customers who haven’t even ordered yet.
It’s possible – even probable – that Matthew’s driver accepted the trip and did everything as promptly as physically possible. Nothing can overcome the fact that fast food is a wreck. Is it a bad experience? Sure. Does it seem not worth it to order ANY fast food through a delivery platform? YES. I personally never do.
But when drivers try to explain the reality of who accepts and then what we might have to deal with when we get to the restaurant after YOU complain about our service, it doesn’t deserve a “well you should get a better job.” We’re fine with it; you’re the disappointed one.
As a driver it’s not my responsibility to care if your food is cold. You pay Uber. Not me. Uber pays less than minimum wage. If you are unhappy simply adjust the tip. I am an independent contractor and conduct my way of business as please. You write what you want. I deliver what I want.
What a cow. Just another exhibit of why we will avoid Uber.
If THAT driver posted in this pic showed up at my doorstep, I’d tip him anything he wants! and the next order he’d be delivering would certainly be cold by the time I got done with him.
why?what you gonna do????
Uber Eats is a scam. You got that right. I just do pick up directly from the restaurant. No fees and lower prices.
The Uber service fee should cover the driver’s wages. They should not rely on tips.
Agree 100%. Tip “culture” should ends.
I never would use Uber Eats. Havent ever and wont. Anywhere. Garbage service that ends up costing more.
The food delivery system is just a bad idea and I find it amazing anyone uses it except in very unusual cases.
It isn’t as if you pay the same price for the food, then have a delivery fee and finally have a tip. Instead the food itself is also marked up, sometimes substantially.
I don’t have the info handy but a few years ago I was using various cc credits to get food delivered and generally had no issues but when I looked at what I was paying for 2 large subs and compared it to 2 meals from a mid-upper end restaurant (Texas Longhorn) if I picked up that food myself, I stopped using delivery services. Only if it is a place that has their own drivers do I order.
My guess is the business isn’t sustainable because of the amount the companies like Uber want to take out. They aren’t willing to pay the drivers a decent rate. And who gets the money for the marked up food? Uber? the Restaurant?
Agreed, the pre-tip is awkward. I’ve been using these apps less and less lately, since I also feel that their cut from the restaurants is significant and reduces their already thin margins even further. Rather just go pick it up myself. Granted, I understand that this is not the best option for many (I live in SoFl so for example, I never get snowed in or gets too cold to take a walk to get lunch/dinner), but something always feels off when ordering from the platforms, especially from fast-food joints.
I don’t think it’s a scam, you just have to be aware of USA’s tipping culture. I have no problems with Doordash (I use because CSR user) but I only do pickup, and only use restaurants that I know keeps their real price and Doordash price the same, or very close (some restaurants have $3 markups on Doordash rofl)
That said, I never do delivery anymore, because I am not amused at them circling the neighborhood for 15 minutes, never calling when they’re lost, then end up paying $20 total for cold, soggy fries.
Keep in mind the majority of drivers aren’t some retired educator trying to make a couple bucks. The majority of drivers are doing it because they have no choice or any other skills. It’s their only choice. So the whole argument with them is moot. You’re trying to reason with people who likely only have a double digit IQ.
Not all drivers — the majority, yes.
“people who likely only have a double digit IQ”
They’re apparently smart enough not to waste time delivering a $5 order for a $2 tip.
Exactly. And people like this rely on us low IQ workers to make and deliver their food, listening to them bitch that’s it’s not meant to be a real job, it’s just for kids in school, all the while expecting the service to be there at noon on weekdays and midnight and day of the week. Then when they bitch about the service and we suggest that perhaps their tip played a small role in it, they tell US to get a better job. Just bizarre.
I love when people who aren’t used to getting the raw end of capitalism suddenly discover they’re vulnerable too. You’re bidding for the driver’s attention with the tip, and they can decide what to do then.
This is actually much fairer than the restaurant system, where the server is essentially working for a unknown price (I don’t think many of us would like to be told that we will be told our salary at the end of the year)
But Matthew’s point is that the order was accepted. The driver saw it and accepted it. No one was forced the driver to accept the order, but once it was accepted, the service should have been given in a timely manner.
Correct! Exactly my point.
The driver that picked up the order is definitely on the hook for providing great service the minute they accept.
But for the food to be cold and an hour late just goes to show that it was declined MANY times (probably a dozen or more) until Uber Eats increased the payout.
So the guy who delivered did his job and the guys who declined did so because it didn’t make sense to them. So the only culprit here is Uber
Don’t blame the person making a few bucks, blame the large corporation
Bravo. Well said. Unpopular opinion, but he is right.
I avoid all ubereats, grubhub, doordash. Expensive waste of money
I only used it to use up Amex credits and always did pickup.
Great post Matthew. As an ex-Uber Eats customer and ex-Uber Eats driver, I can relate and sympathize with you. This is a 99% Uber Eats problem with drivers getting maybe 1% of the blame
The reason for the long wait time is due to your order being cycled through the system until the payout was worthwhile enough for someone to pick it up. In addition to your tip, Uber increases the base pay/trip supplement incrementally until it becomes attractive.
Big orders from higher end places get picked up right away, but small orders from fast food joints (especially ones that only have drive-thru after a certain hour) get declined and recycled until Uber redirects more of the “delivery fee” to the driver.
Just have a look at the screenshots that get posted to Reddit to show how little the driver is offered for a fast-food job.
Lastly, about the distance/time. Sometimes, even though you’re right next door to a chain restaurant, Uber Eats will route the order to a further location. Sometimes it’s because the closer location is busy or not accepting 3rd party orders at the moment or has a bad rating
Don’t know if that’s what happened in your case, but it’s not unusual to see a fast food order from across town even though there could be a dozen locations that are closer
And you care, why? Aren’t you the same guy who took an uber from NYC to Baltimore or something?
I did, paid a pretty penny for it, and tipped the driver…after we arrived. Your point?
Where can i read this post?
Matthew, I respect your decision. Nothing I am about to say should in any way suggest otherwise. Instead, I write the following for discussions’ sake, not to criticize you, as I have done in the past.
There are a few facts at play, which I will present first. Then, I will present my
You should all note the differences, I will make them clear.
First, what is
true? The following:
•Ubereats drivers make almost nothing.
•A very large percentage of their salary comes from tips. It’s only a bit better than restaurant workers without the tips.
•Uber drivers work like hell to get our food to us, and feel that when they are not properly compensated it is a slap in the face.
Now, here is what I
the following is not based on facts but is my personal feelings.
•Drivers are in no way whatsoever entitled to a tip, however I do leave one every time unless there is a truly good reason for me not to (as an aside, not being able to afford to tip does not qualify as a good reason, nor does the bad business model, I’m talking about a driver who doesn’t follow my instructions, who takes too long AFTER picking up the order)
•I strongly resent and condemn drivers who try to tell us how much we should tip them. This includes the driver that Matthew mentioned in his post. This driver can, as far as I’m concerned, pound sand. I tip in a way I believe to be generous, and if you think otherwise, f**k you. If that driver were to deliver to me, and I were to know what this driver said, I would tip them one penny (to let them know I didn’t forget, it’s one penny more than they deserve).
•Uber has a perfectly fine business model. I have many objections to many things they do, but suggesting a tip before they come is not one of them. This also gives them an opportunity to tell us if they’ll have to trek through nasty weather, which they often do, and in those situations, I will tip more generously (again, without feeling a driver is entitled to it).
The experience Matthew had in Dallas was simply unacceptable. It is not a reflection on Ubereats as much as it is on the restaurant. Ubers’ response to “pound sand” is what I take exception with, not the drivers’ attitude. Requesting priority is always essential, it’s worth the cost.
I do understand the argument that it’s a scam, but I don’t personally agree. If I were to change Ubereats’ business model, I would:
•Have a better support system. If you have the Gaul to lie and say that this is all they
do to fix bad situations, I have the Gaul to call them out as liars. I think that the way these Ubereats agents lie is far, far more unacceptable than tipping 18%, and far more unacceptable than not tipping at all. They should instead tell the truth by saying they
help any further.
•Keep unvaccinated delivery drivers off the road. This is not so much because they pose a safety risk (we interact with them for three seconds, they don’t) but to achieve two goals: to exclude them from our society, exactly as they deserve, and to pave the way to exclude unvaccinated
drivers, who actually do pose a safety risk. The fact that this was not done during the pandemic, by both Uber and Lyft, is my most strongly held grievance against both companies.
•Cap delivery charges. A regular delivery charge of $5 is sufficient. Sure, most people will pay more, but I’m willing to do that if $20 or even $10 charges are permanently erased from the system.
That’s my two cents.
Only a total moron would bring up the Covid vaccine as an issue in 2023 for Uber or the general public. What the F is wrong with you? No one believes the vaccine makes or made a difference for anyone other than possibly a few with 1 foot already in the grave.
Even the far left has given up on this after Covid was exposed as not a risk to 99% of the public. As many said from the start and we’re proven CORRECT.
And yes Matt, I know attack the post, not the poster. But in this case this guy is so far out there he deserves to be ridiculed. Can you imagine how pathetic his life must be running around worried if some other person is vaccinated or not?
@Dave Edwards: Are you personally vaccinated? If you’re cowardly to answer the question, I’m assuming that’s no. I think that any doctor deserves to know this, so no matter what you claim, I am not sorry for asking, a doctor who works their butt off to treat people deserves to know who their enemies are.
@Alan Brint: Relax!!! I am fully vaccinated. My doctor who I have been seeing for over 20 years is also vaccinated (he actually got shot before any of us). He shared with me that some people got less sick with the vaccines but many many vaccinated got really sick after getting Covid. He also shared that he has seen many patients that he has been treating for years are now developing some weird symptoms. Many of them never got Covid (at least that they know of) but were vaccinated. Mostly heart issues, thrombosis, brain fog, vision fog, etc… on very healthy people that all they did differently was to be vaccinated against Covid. He never said vaccines were bad but only shared what he has seen developing. You have to agree that nobody knows what these vaccines long term effects will be. So, just relax.
I believe yooh, but don’t retract what I said. I will renew my original question to Dave Edwards. Dave, are you personally vaccinated?
@Alan Brit: leave the guy alone. It is his choice. Vaccines became political. Yes, I have taken the shots and booster (and got very sick every time I took them) and to be honest I think these vaccines are pure BS. They do absolutely nothing other than maybe protect a bit for a very short time. I got Covid way before vaccines were even out. And I barely sneezed. Anyway, saying that unvaccinated are the enemy is what the political people want. Give me a break!!! Talk about politics. Djokovic is now playing in Australia and still unvaccinated. He was deported last year. Total circus!!!! Money talks way louder!!! It is always all about $$$.
I’m not leaving him alone. Say what you want, but I’m not leaving him alone. If he’s going to post bull online, then he’s at risk. I’m not going to do anything against the law, but Dave Edwards needs to either stand up and wake up, or he needs to be shunned like a coward deserves to be shunned.
@Santastico: I’m good, brother, but thanks for the laugh.
Nope, buddy, no vaccines and yes, my doctor knows. He’s in his 60’s recommended the initial ones but said he is not pushing the boosters for regular patients.
I also never had a Covid test and may or may not have had it. Never was sicker than a regular cold so why get a test?
Again, who discusses or cares about Covid anymore other than those with health issues that even a cold affects them? No proof the vaccines did anything, good or bad, for most. No, I don’t believe the stories they are causing heart attacks, but it’s never been proven they did any good either.
Again I ask, what do you believe or have heard that makes YOU concerned if others got it or not? And has you wanting Uber drivers fired if they didn’t get 2-4 shots? That is beyond strange, and not something you see anyone pushing for anymore.
@Santastico: Now, I will leave Dave Edwards alone. Nothing more needs to be said.
@Alan Brit: It is his choice. Covid vaccines are just hysteria and do absolutely nothing other than billion$ to the Pharma companies that developed it. If you told me you get vaccinated and does not transmit Covid, then it is different. Thus, telling unvaccinated people they are the enemy is just another delusional thought from the mentally ill idiots out there.
@Santastico: You’re wrong there. Someone tell me why the vast majority of hospitalizations and deaths are in unvaccinated people? The updated booster is 75-80% effective against hospitalization and 95% effective against death COMPARED TO ALREADY VACCINATED PEOPLE!!! That probably means (the first set of numbers I know for a fact, this next set I don’t) that compared to unvaccinated folks, it’s 90% against hospitalization and around 99% against death. Yep, you’re right, 95% is no better than 0%, I bow to the wisdom of a master.
@Alan Brint: You can get my next boosters so you get two instead of one at a time. I can guarantee you I will not get another stupid Covid vaccine shot into my body.
” a doctor who works their butt off to treat people deserves to know who their enemies are.”
Enemies? Wow, aren’t we passed this stage of the pandemic-induced hysteria yet?
We never will be. What we as a society put hospital workers through in 2021 (notice I didn’t say 2020) is the stuff of nightmares. I have an ER doctor uncle who worked at Rush University Emergency Room in Chicago through the entire pandemic. Through 2021, I watched him forgive less, get angry more, speak more harshly, and have less patience. Why? Because people put his patience to the test every single day. That’s not so easy to forgive, AB. The perpetrators of that are unvaccinated people. Until we have no unvaccinated people, or at least no unvaccinated people who can medically tolerate it, we are not done with this, doctors still have real enemies out there. After 2020 and the horrors of that year, how there were actually people who are medically able to get vaccinated that didn’t shows that we don’t value life as much as I thought we did. Apparently, life is cheap to some of you, that’s just not something I can be OK with.
You’ve been proven wrong about the vax.
I wouldn’t call it a scam, but it’s certainly dishonest. They lie about delivery times purposefully. When you look to place an order they quote a certain time and then after you place it – you can an entirely different time. Sometimes it doubles. They take zero responsibility.
I’m a very vocal critic of Uber, I think they get many things wrong, but I must call you out here as your statement is factually incorrect.
Ubereats always gives us a “latest arrival by” time. It is true that that time is always far out from the original delivery time, typically about half an hour after the expected time. It has happened to me where the delivery happened past that time, it has. And you get a modest $5 credit usually for it.
Do I think it’s enough? It depends. I’m going to lay out an example of what I mean, and how I
it should be done.
In this example, you place the order at 5:50 PM, the expected delivery time is at 6:35 PM (45 minutes). About 80% of the time, in my experience, you’re going to get it absolutely no later than that time. Their on time rate, in my experience, is very high, especially when ordering priority. You’ll generally get it in the 6:20s or early 6:30s.
But it most certainly has happened where this didn’t occur. You would get it later, either because the driver declines the trip, the meal isn’t ready, the restaurant is backed up, there’s traffic. One time, I got it about 10 minutes past the expected time and it was no fault of either Uber or the driver at all, there was a major festival on my street and all cars were being redirected. Let me be crystal clear, this is
the normal reason for delays like this. I’m just telling you I’ve seen it happen.
Now back to the example. Expected delivery time of 6:35, the latest arrival will be 30 minutes later, at 7:05. I think this is entirely reasonable, because stuff happens and they need a buffer. About 99% of orders I’ve placed have arrived before this time.
7:05. We still haven’t gotten the order. You will get a $5 credit. Now, we move past that.
Let me be crystal clear: IT IS TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE THAT UBER MIGHT FEEL THE RIGHT TO CANCEL THE ORDER AT THIS TIME, UNLESS THEY ARE WILLING TO PART WITH FREE MONEY AND NOT ONLY REFUND THE CANCELED ORDER BUT OFFER ENOUGH TO ALLOW THE PERSON TO REORDER THE MEAL FOR FREE!!! I feel very strongly about this, and short of their unvaccinated employees, this is the biggest grievance I have with Ubereats.
What they should do instead is as follows:
$5 every 15 minutes post 7:05. At 8:05 (1:30 after expected delivery), your order should be canceled, you should get a full refund plus 100% compensation so you can order again for free.
At first I thought these services were going to be an easy way to get a wide variety of dinners when tired. In reality, it was a long lesson in disappointment and wasting money. I am back to ordering from restaurants that have their own drivers. The selection may be small but sandwich shops were doing delivery long before Uber, DD, &GH. They also have incentive to keep the quality of delivery warm & edible.
There aren’t many favorite moments about the pandemic lockdown but one of the best restaurants here delivered for a couple months. The wait staff showed up and the governor allowed the restaurants to deliver wines & beer to keep these establishments afloat. I tipped the waiters 25% plus an extra ten to drive. Totally worth it at the time . Still less than the Uber mediocre menus.
Imagine this for a moment….
“Congratulations, we’ve added you to our team of flight attendants at ABC Airline. Here’s how it works. You will stay at home and when we have a trip open we will send out a text to all flight attendants who are logged in. We will offer the opportunity to have you compete against other flight attendants in a race to low prices. But do not worry, there are 200 people on the plane and if you give them good service they might tip you.
You’ll need to work with pilots in the program to pay for basic maintenance and repairs to the plane. Uniforms are on you also. If you keep track of your portion of the maintenance, though, you’ll be able to deduct it from your taxes. You will managing your taxes. You’ll be paid as an independent contractor. Sorry, there will be no minimum wage or overtime.”
Would you take the job as an FA if that was the deal?
No, but then why do Uber drivers take on Eats?
Why? Desperation plus false promises from Uber Eats…..
The prices on uber eats are inflated as low as 10% but as much as 25% in some cases. Add Uber’s Service Fee (5%) + Delivery Fee (unless you have Uber One, which you have to pay for) + 15% tip, and you are suddenly looking at the same food costing you 30-50% more than it would if you placed the order with the restaurant and picked it up yourself.
Another big issue is what happens if the food isn’t what you are expecting or even worse, not edible? I once had ordered directly from a restaurant some south Indian food (I LOVE Indian food!) and I could tell that the Idlis were stale. I called up the restaurant and complained and then asked them to provide me with another dish as replacement. No problem. At another restaurant, similar issue, except this time the order was placed through DD – and guess what, they said that I should deal with DD since the restaurant didn’t have control over quality of the food once it was picked up by DD driver. DD said they can’t do anything since they don’t control quality of the food. DD’s solution – leave a bad review/feedback for the restaurant!
Yes, I recently had a 40% off coupon for DELIVERY ONLY and after all the fees/tip it was the same price as if I picked it up from the restaurant. I was grateful to have it delivered to my door for the same price, but still – 40% off turned into 0% off.
You are talking about Uber Eats and that brings back the rotten tipping culture of this country. As I said many times and will keep saying: charge me $100 to deliver a Taco Bell (I don’t eat that crap but that is the example here) and let me decide if I want to pay that much. Do not come with extra stuff on top of what we have agreed.
I have a worst story from a Uber driver. Last year, my flight to Denver got delayed and I missed my connection to Vail. I had an important business meeting next morning and had to make to Vail no matter what. I tried to rent a car. Zero cars available. I tried Blacklane after talking to my admin, no luck as it was too late. I then went to Uber. I went to the app, added my origin and destination, Uber Black came back with a cost of $450 for the trip. I hit OK. It took a bit until a Uber Black driver accepted my ride. Guy shows up on a Black SUV, I put my bags inside, get in and he starts to drive, Within 30 second he steps on the brake abruptly and says: “Are you going to Vail?” I said: “Yes.” In a very rude way he said there was no way he was driving me to Vail and I should open the the door and leave. What???? I said but you accepted a $450 ride. His reply: I didn’t know it was that far. Really?? Well, I didn’t want to argue, got my stuff out of his vehicle and left. I called another Uber Black. Another driver accepted my ride. Same story. I opened the door and before I got in I said: “You know I am going to Vail, right?” His response, no way I am taking you there. I was not wanting to have a third bad experience so I went to the taxi line and one nice driver accepted my ride and drove me to Vail. I tipped him really well and he was happy. Long story short, there are good and bad Uber drivers out there.
When this happens and the trip is 2+ hours away, I always message the driver and ask him/her if that’s OK with him/her. That way I don’t waste anyone’s time.
Well, I was under the impression he knew where I was going. I added the destination when I ordered the ride. Where did he expect to drive someone for $450? Funny is that he accepted because it was a lot of money so he should know better he was not going to drive me to the hotel down he street.
I agree with the driver’s point about the effort being the same regardless of price, but in that model the sword cuts both ways. If I have a $300 UE order that is easy, nearby and in a great neighborhood and I tipped $15 (5%) – would my meal get delivered cold?
That begs the question – do the drivers SEE the total of the order they are delivering?
Is there any consensus on the minimum $ amount (not percent) to tip for food delivery?
I was told $5 minimum no matter what.
I’ve calculated myself and this holds true after 5000 or so deliveries:
For a driver in an average wage state, with expenses calculated at 50 cents/mile (lower than the IRS rate), from an average restaurant in average weather at an average distance at an average time of day, then $2 a mile bid (tip), based on the distance from the restaurant to the customer — with an absolute floor of $5 (covers average waits, parking, and so on) — lets us earn approximately minimum wage after expenses.
If you scoff, I don’t blame you. Personal food delivery IS expensive. You are literally summoning someone from somewhere to stop what they’re doing and run an errand for you for the next 30-45 or so minutes. This isn’t Amazon or the postal service or even pizza delivery, where routes are generated and stacked to be efficient. This is one-off, personal errand running on demand.
If it’s hard to fathom, figure how much you’d pay an Uber to pick you up, take you to the restaurant, wait for you (idling in a long drive-thru line, if necessary), and then drive you back to your house with your food. Now, stay in the comfort of your house and let the driver do all that without your intervention. I generally find that people don’t have any problem putting a human-scale wage on the first scenario, while scoffing at the same for the second scenario.
Depends on the market. I have seen screenshots from driver sin various cities/states in the USA that see all order details.
In Canada, I never saw the order details in the few months I tried driving for Uber Eats. Only saw the expect payout, distance and estimated time. Heck, I couldn’t even see the exact drop-off address unless I accepted the job first…makes it kind of hard to avoid certain streets buildings
We see a total amount, including tip. But we don’t know which is “base” pay and which is tip until the order is over (though we can guess).
For everyone complaining, customers can change the tip, even to $0, for an hour after the order is delivered.
Consider it a bid for service where you have full control even after delivery. You don’t like tipping upfront? Well, you can balance it out by exercising full control once you get your order.
Thank you for your responses all, esp your perspective Chris. Personally I’ve been tipping $5 or 10% rounded up, which ends up being $7-8 on average. But then I see market and distance both matter. I am in a dense urban part of Chicago. No drive thrus, you double park in front of the restaurant. No point in ordering from more than a mile away because there is always a comparable restaurant closer. In fact my brother use to deliver sandwiches by bicycle in my neighborhood and said that $5 was a really good tip at the time, but those were low ticket orders years ago, so I’ve always second guessed my $12 tip on $120 in sushi. I admit I use a competitor to UberEats more often, but those drivers typically have 3-5 orders in the car when they get to me, so if everyone tiped like me they’re doing ok. In fact, sometimes they work in teams with a driver and a second person to run in the restaurant and to your door. They line up the orders on the back seat and I’ve seen them make multiple stops on my block delivering from multiple restaurants. Really efficient. But I’m sure that’s not typical everywhere. Only making one delivery on a run for less than $5 would suck.
For a travel blogger in search of new experiences and cultures I do find your discomfort with a well-entrenched American tradition fascinating. Tipping really is not optional in the US. It simply is not. That you need to make a large tip and do so at ordering to get the service you want does not make it a scam. Drop $100 on the table at a Denny’s when you sit down and you’re coffee cup will likely always be full. Same concept. compensation-service quality linkage. Even the tipping structure is not new. The old school pizza delivery (at least in urban settings) has been clear for decades. Delivery fee is not a tip so pay up at delivery. Only difference now is you are expected to agree upfront on economics to driver for delivery (ie tip).
Tipping culture is a Scam!!! It is an excuse for lazy people to be lazy. Good luck in having me tip the guy that grabs a loaf of bread at the bakery just because their stupid system brings me the option to tip him 28%. It is his job to get my bread. It is my job to pay for it. We are good to go.
I am reading all these posts and came to one conclusion: the blame is on the drivers. Why? Because they allow Uber Eats to exist the way it exists. If NOBODY accepted being poorly paid and have to expect getting tips to make it work, Uber Eats wouldn’t exist. That simple. Same with restaurants that pay very poorly and expect me to pay a 5% mandatory health and wellness fee in top of the cost of the food plus taxes plus tips. I simply don’t give business to those restaurants anymore. As I said before, charge me whatever you think it is fair to pay a decent salary to the driver, waiter, etc… and let me decide if I am OK with that. But do not charge me a low amount and expect me to make it up so your driver is happy. If drivers are not happy with what they make driving for Uber Eats, let Uber Eats rot a d go out of business. And please for all the snowflakes, do not tell me Uber Eats drivers don’t have a choice. There are plenty jobs available out there and most of Uber Eats drivers just do it for extra money so dump them.
Taking that line of reasoning to its ultimate conclusion, it seems the Consumers – who use services like Uber Eats and dine at restaurants that encourage or otherwise rely on tipping rather than upfront pricing that reflects true cost – are the ones who truly should be blamed. I would agree with that conclusion.
Matthew, $5 is the new $1. Get with the times please. If my 20% tip is going to be less than $5 then I tip at least $5. Of course, I increase the amount if bad weather strikes or there was incredibly fast delivery speed. And no, I am not rich. I’m not even “comfortable” as my Jewish friends like to say.
So the order costs $20 instead of $15? BFD.
My parents always taught me “if you can’t afford to tip then you can’t afford to eat out.”
Just my 2 cents, oh wait, my $5…..
Oh, and here in Texas I use Favor NOT Uber Eats.
Had too many negative experiences in the Uber universe. Lyft is my ride always.
You know what? I’ve had the same delivery driver on multiple occasions. One even told me they look out for my name/address and what a coincidence, I get great service every time!
Of course I’m doing this from home, not some random hotel on the road…..
LOL you are at the Thompson Dallas (Woo Hoo!)
and you tip less than $5!
The driver must have been crushed…..
Again no fan of any of these services, but yeah much like ride share uber I suspect they keep data on how you’re rated as a customer. Uber eats it could be based on the delivered address. If prior deliveries weren’t tipped well the address is not desirable and therefore ignored. I think this whole nonsense of rating a customer is completely silly. Last uber driver lived in parents basement & spoke with an accent he made up. I had to nudge the two guys behind me to stop giggling. I fear a bad rating.
Matthew, again, I think you ignored a point I repeatedly tried to make on the last post.
Yes, the driver accepted the order. So, they should deliver your order as promptly as possible. On that we agree, and if a driver says it’s OK to be slow or careless with an order because the tip is low, then they are wrong.
However, why did you ignore the point about restaurant lobbies being closed? About drive-thru lines frequently exceeding 45 minutes? We drivers have no way to preempt a closed lobby any more than you can. Unless you have proof to the contrary – that the driver who accepted your order went somewhere else after accepting it, or got their own food and ate it before delivering (and I don’t believe you do), it’s very possible that you got it delivered exactly as fast as it could have been physically delivered.
Is that a pathetic state of affairs? I think so. But I’ve frequently been summoned to a Taco Bell, waited in the drive through, and gotten an order that was 30+ minutes old because the damn line was so long to get it.
I have no love for Uber and I can’t believe I’m even attempting to defend the company, but I still think you’re really off base here. Not for being disappointed in your food experience, but for laying the blame where it doesn’t belong.
But Chris, the thing is that Taco Bell only makes orders once you pull up to the window (one reason the lines are often so long). I’ve never heard of Taco Bell making orders in advance before you pull up. According to app, the food was picked up from a Taco Bell location about a mile from the hotel. Plus, the app indicated she picked up the order and was “on her way” but that still took an immense amount of time (delivery time kept extending).
Matthew, that’s simply wrong. Taco Bell gets the delivery order, and UE dispatches us some algorithmic number of minutes later to pick it up. It should be, theoretically, fresh when we arrive. Delivery orders come in through a separate system and are not made when the person gets to the box, like drive-thru orders. I’ve picked up here countless times and while they may not be ready each time, they are definitely queued in the kitchen before drive-thru orders.
So, your order took 52+ minutes to arrive from the time it was finished, even longer from the time you ordered.
Now, only 15 of that (according to your story) could possibly be attributed to the driver after clicking “on the way.” If you watched the driver on the map and saw her going way out of the way after picking, that’s one thing. Absolutely 100% the driver should go directly to you. If she didn’t that’s on her. But you didn’t say you watched her go the wrong way so I assumed she didn’t.
On the other hand, I’ll give you a reasonable scenario. Often customers put extra requests in the app. Extra sauce, extra utensils, etc. When I get to the order box and the person confirms they have it, I’ll often hit “ready for delivery” in order to see if the customer is asking the wrong person (me) to pick up something extra so I can ask the speaker box. I’m happy with doing it. That way I can make the request before I get to the window. To you, it looks like I’m “on the way” – and I am, to the speaker box. But it’s not actually delaying delivery nor is it malicious.
Did you experience stink? Yes, of course. I actually can’t imagine ordering fast food delivery post-pandemic. But also realize that some of that upfront time COULD have been your order going out for bid, and several drivers passing it up before a driver accepted it for $4-something, or Uber adding some supplement to entice a driver. But in the end, I can almost guarantee you that most of this wait was because you ordered fast food at midnight and the driver was waiting in a very long line for it.
Look, I appreciate your comments in this thread and the other post – I find them insightful and I quoted you and encouraged others to tip liberally if using Uber Eats, regardless of the price of the food being picked up.
I still don’t understand how my food was stone cold. It wasn’t lukewarm. It was cold, as if it had sat out for an hour. Can it really be that Taco Bell makes the order instantly and then it just sits there?
“Can it really be that Taco Bell makes the order instantly and then it just sits there?”
Absolutely, that’s what I and a few others have been saying all over this thread.
Restaurant gets the order > Makes the food > Marks the order ready for pick-up…and then the order gets cycled through the system until someone accepts. If it’s a low-paying order, it will sit for a long time
I AM NOT CONDINING the behavior, but when Uber gives drivers low-paying orders *AND* the option to decline, this is the result.
Again, NOT CONDONING, but just look at this story and the videos linked within. So much wasted food and money because of a broken system…
“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.”
Ok, this is quite helpful to me. Really helps explain it. I think this is on Taco Bell too.
I’ve tried to say this so many times. I promise you I have no motivation to lie. The order is matched to a driver and then sent to the restaurant to be made so that the driver should arrive when it’s about ready. But then in these cases, it sits.
Uber probably had a bit of delay in finding a willing driver. It’s even possible that it delayed sending the order to the restaurant until it found a driver. So a small part of your wait was on Uber. But when it did send the driver, I guarantee you a fast food restaurant at midnight has a line out to the street, and your driver waited for it.
As for being mostly on the restaurant, YES. Again, I can’t believe I’ve defending Uber again, but here goes. Restaurants have a UberEats merchant app where they can control turning orders on/off, delaying order acceptance during busy times, delaying driver dispatch, pushing expected completion times back, offering substitutions directly to the customer through the app, and many other things. Many merchants don’t use these features at all. I guarantee Taco Bell doesn’t. They make the order when they can, and if they can’t have a rack for deliver drivers, forcing them into a 45 minute queue instead, then they just do it.
If you need more convincing that food is made before a driver arrives, look up the tiktok that shows entire shelves of food at McDonalds that get tossed at the end of the day because no driver could afford to accept the orders due to their low tips. https://www.dailydot.com/irl/no-tipping-section-mcdonalds-doordash-tiktok/ is one example. If the restaurant waited for the driver to get there before making the meal, this wouldn’t exist.
I think the most interesting observation here is that this ONLY occurs with Uber Eats in the USA… I have had similar experiences in the US on Uber Eats, but this simply doesn’t occur in England, where I am based. I would argue it’s the slowest, most expensive food delivery service here, but you do not get extorted.
For those commenting from the US that this style of service is a ‘normal’ part of US culture, NOPE. Being asked to tip in advance is extortion, not service.
This is reflective of a society where increasingly, even in a unionised yellow cab going from JFK to Manhattan at a very healthy fixed rate, the default tip on the card machine is set at 25%… I accept that many people in service positions in the US earn far less basic salary than their counterparts in other countries, so tipping is necessary, but an economy where tipping becomes a quarter of the cost of a service is not healthy. Where it is demanded before any service is provided, it’s fully broken.
Again, it’s a bid. It’s telling what you’ll pay if you’re happy. It’s not extorted out of you. It’s not seized from you. You have full control over it for an hour after your delivery arrives. You can set it to $0 if you are unhappy. I don’t understand how transparency in this customer-driver relationship is a bad thing.
If you’d rather Uber charges you an extra non-refundable $8 vs. you bidding an extra $8 upfront and then having absolute, full control over that $8, taking it back even after you’ve been digesting your food for an hour, then I don’t know what to say. It seems like you’re in a better position with UE, but you do you 🙂
So you can “lure” drivers with a big tip, then reduce it to zero after they deliver the food?
Yessir, it’s often referred to as tip-baiting when done in the way you describe, and not for example, when genuinely disappointed in the service. It’s scummy, but has been allowed as long as I can remember.
Don’t worry, I won’t do that — but that’s pretty crappy for drivers.
I’ll also say for the record that after thousands of deliveries, it’s only happened to me twice. And I’m guessing the customers were actually disappointed in their food (like they got the wrong toppings or something) and either (a) didn’t realize that the driver was delivering a sealed bag in both cases, or (b) just wanted to get back something after getting a bad order, and figured the tip was the easiest to take back. The deliveries themselves were very quick and accurate (we have GPS and photo records).
As adversarial as this relationship is often portrayed, I can count on one hand the few times out of thousands that I’ve had a less than fine experience with a customer. All the “no tip, no trip” talk makes it seem hostile, when in fact drivers appreciate customers who appreciate drivers. For the most part, everyone is understanding and reasonable and respectful. I do the best I can for all customers and have had practically zero issues.
That said, I don’t take very low tip orders. Anecdotally, drivers who do so experience far more issues. Those customers tend to complain and ‘thumbs-down’ a driver a lot more if, for example, they don’t like the taste of their food. For whatever reason, the mutual respect and appreciation isn’t as strong.
Like I said before, I gave up on Uber Eats after two orders were canceled with no notification and no recourse (and you can’t blame this one on the tip; both were large orders where the tip would have been north of $10). If I’m ordering for the office, it’s DoorDash (same junk fees but at least they’ve brought my order every time), but if it’s for personal use, I always order direct from the restaurant and pick it up. But only AFTER I’ve verified that the lobby is open. I refuse to play the drive-through pickup game where the food is pretty much guaranteed to be cold.
Is it technically a scam, though? No, since nobody I can think of actually comes out ahead in the charade. Restaurants get screwed because of the service fees. Drivers get screwed because of the poor pay. Customers get screwed thrice over by the inflated menu prices, Uber fees, and tip shakedowns from unscrupulous drivers. Even Uber itself lost $1.21 billion last quarter, so it’s not like they’re profiting from the racket.
1) Being 1 mile away is irrelevant. What matters is how busy the restaurant is, how much time it takes to prepare the food, how many other orders have to be delivered, and the availability of delivery personnel. Before grubhub or Ubereats, it could take 15 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes to get Chinese food delivered to my home from a mile away by calling. This is NYC. It’s the same with these apps. How long it takes depends on how many orders are going out. A delivery driver isn’t going to go out for one $11 order when he can wait 30 minutes to deliver it along with a big batch. A big tip might entice quicker delivery as a stand alone or not. Some grubhub restaurants use their own driver like a lot of Chinese restaurants in NYC. A big tip will not make him deliver quicker because he doesn’t control what goes out. Yes, Ubereats is different.
2) 18% is fair at a restaurant but there is a minimum dollar value that’s expected commensurate with the order. A guy has to pay the same amount for gas if he is delivering something for $12 or something for $40. Minimum today for delivery is really $5 with recent inflation. You can skimp on giving a guy the same percentage if he is delivering $50 vs $30 of Chinese food as there is no more work unlike a restaurant server, but not tip $2 on a $10 order. I’d say any order up to $30, $5. An order that is $50, $8.50.
3) Cold food happens due to the cold weather and other factors. It is unfortunate. That’s why I heat up food on the stove, oven, or air fryer at home and order room service at a hotel. You should stick to foods that are ok if not eaten completely hot like Dominos and stay away from Chinese or fish delivered to a hotel.
4) The exchange between independent app drivers and restaurants make it difficult on both sides to handle issues. That has to be lived with. Drivers can’t control what the restaurant does and vice versa. It’s the nature of these apps.
5) It is easier to know what to expect at home when you can get a baseline versus away from home. Ordering Dominos is no better. It can be 40 minutes or 1.5 hours on a busy Friday evening. I know this when ordering from experience so I don’t get upset.
6) If it is a food quality issue, contact them restaurant by phone. If it is a slow delivery issue, live with it unless it is an inordinate amount of time like 2 hours for which a full credit or refund is fair. 1 hour is normal with the hope it takes 20 minutes.
I understand why Uber Eats is expensive. That’s why it’s a rare treat. What I do mind is having to play the guessing game over how much tip is enough to receive the hot food I ordered.
Correction please: Many if not most Motel 6 locations are NOT fleabag motels. I say that having stayed in numerous locations. Motel 6 provides basic accommodations and nothing very fancy. Sometimes just a shower, sometimes a shower/bath combo. Sometimes a fridge is included, many times not. However always a place to lay your head down for the night. Also a 1200 checkout time (instead of the usual 1100) was standard for a long time for Motel 6.
I had to read everything from the start to understand what is going on. I assume this started with a review of the Thompson if I’m not mistaken. Several very incorrect items and other observations:
1. Taco Bell is not a 1 mile drive away. It is about 1.9-2.1 miles depending on the route. The nearest TB to the Thompson is the one on Washington Ave (part of East Dallas – not downtown). Maybe a 1 mile straight distance, but there are these things called buildings and roads that the Uber driver has to drive around (buildings), and on (roads). I could be mistaken if there is another TB nearby but I don’t see it on gmaps.
2. The Thompson area is not even close to being “seedy”. Adolphus, Joule, the Exchange, Woolworth, etc. are all very close. My wife and I regularly do a staycation and last summer it was the Adolphus and we went to eat at Monarch (walked through all the “seediness” 0h my!). This summer we will stay at the Thompson. Walking around the area you see homeless day and night, but they do not bother you. In over 15 years in living in East Dallas (and people who know nothing also say East Dallas is “seedy”) and working in downtown, I’ve never had a single issue with the homeless. I’ve heard women have (realtor friend who used to live downtown stated that is why she moved out of downtown), but not any men, until you.
3. The “seedy” comment is so far-fetched and demonstrates your entitlement/”white privilege” card. There are seedy parts of downtown, that area isn’t even close. And yes, I’ve been in that area around midnight and later as there are a couple other options you had if you wanted to get food late. But clearly you were not open to it as you consider the area “seedy”.
4. Frankie’s for one – a classic downtown sports bar with an extensive menu open to midnight or 2am on the weekends. If you were “brave” enough (considering how seedy you thought the area is), it was only a 3 (three!) minute walk to Frankies. Call to order, walk over, have a beer (or shots to help steel your nervousness walking by the homeless) while waiting for hot and fresh food, and 3 minute walk back. Easy. Irishman is there, but a little further walk. Or Jaxon Beer Garden. But Jaxon is a 5 minute walk (Que horror!).
5. UberEats/Door, etc. always have a risk of late deliveries. Uber is great for us as it’s low cost and ease of getting to events downtown (AAC) or Fair Park from East Dallas. Try talking to them and ask them questions about how Uber/Eats works. From my experience, it’s usually a side hustle or trying to make some money to support themselves/family while looking for work. They can explain to you, in person, how Uber/Eats works and issues with trying to make deliveries fast. Instead, you prefer to insult drivers. That is pathetic.
6. Why did it take from a around a 9pm arrival until before midnight to order food?
7. What was wrong with DART exactly? I’ve rarely taken it except to the TX State Fair and it’s just crowded so I don’t know. I either drive or bike to work (depending on weather).
8. Thompson looks great. Another Hyatt property to try out is Hotel La Campania in Panama/Casco Viejo. Beautiful. Rooms not as nice on the inside based on the pics you took from the inside of the Thompson, but the way they built it to incorporate the existing structure of an abandoned church is gorgeous from the outside and interior. The service and friendliness of every staff we interacted with was exceptional also. As a bonus, due to the area being a tourist section of the city, the Panamanian tourist police will do their best to ensure you do not see any homeless in Casco Viejo.
This was my DART experience:
I think the problem lays with the tipping culture. In Europe tip is not expected, yet servers on average are nicer, more professional and smile more. Way more. Also on average a waitress in Europe earns much less than an American waitress, and yet they are much friendlier. One last difference. A plate of spaghetti Bolognese in America is $25 on average, in Italy, Spain or France it’s half that price. Yet you can make it at home for the same $4 both in Europe or America. So please, explain me again why I have to pay the salary to a waitress in America just because the restaurant owner (or Uber in this specific case) doesn’t want to bother doing so.
I don’t like discretionary tipping either. I’d rather everyone pay the same service fee. But I don’t understand when people insist that service is better in Europe. I’ve made multiple trips to France and Spain (though not Italy yet) and it is impossible to get a waiter’s attention, especially in France. They do not check on you. Better order the bottle of wine because they won’t bring you a second beer. And budget an extra half hour to get the check. Just my experience in 50+ restaurants in Europe.
The answer is because it is expected. One way or the other the price of a meal or delivery will be the same. Without tipping restaurants or delivery apps would have to jack up their prices and you’d be paying the same thing. Tipping allows both businesses, workers, and customers to have more control about each interaction. Customers should obviously tip the standard amount and can tip more if a waiter/waitress/driver/delivery man was especially nice or personable. We all have had experiences at red lobster or etc where the waitress or waiter was especially pleasant and made the time more enjoyable. Tipping more for that is good. If you are a worker, you can earn more by having a good personality and making things enjoyable. The business does not have to put themselves out offering a salary that could bankrupt them and attract bad workers. Tipping means bad workers are dropped and good ones remain.
I appreciate you pointed out people in Europe earn much less. The median household income in countries like France and Germany is €31000 vs $62,000 in the U.S. That’s significant. Taxpayer funded healthcare, rent control in cities, and college tuition does not sound as nice when your household makes thirty thousand dollars less a year.
Maybe you should tip more if you want your delivery fast. Have you heard of simple supply and demand, Matty?
Careful. Your IP address gives you away.
hey…I just stayed at Motel 6 not long ago in Oregon! I’m incredibly offended by your fleabag comment.
Now…give me a handout to go away! waaaahhhhh I’m a victim. You’re selfish. I’m a victim! You’re a meanie. I’m a victim! You’re racist!
kudos if u know what groups play the victim card all the time…