In 2022, tipping while dining out is pretty standardized: 20% of the bill for quality service, with wiggle room to adjust for an outstanding (or not) experience. But is there a benchmark for tipping on corporate catering in New York City? What’s the difference between a delivery fee and a tip? Where does your money really go when you order catering in NYC? We’ve put together a cheat sheet for the exact breakdown of catering services in Manhattan and beyond. 

What is the difference between a tip and a delivery fee?

The simple answer is that your tip is the only part of your payment that goes entirely to the delivery driver. Delivery fees are a concept that have created confusion for those ordering office catering for a long time, and the controversy is understandable: why should you have to tip on top of a delivery fee when ordering through a catering service?

The delivery fee typically goes toward your delivery driver’s driving insurance, or serves as compensation for wear and tear and mileage accumulated during drive time. This means that while yes, the delivery fee DOES technically cover driving expenses, the delivery fee is completely unrelated to tip – the money that the driver takes home. The tip is the only part of the charge that goes directly to the driver, aside from their hourly salary. 

How much should I tip on catering orders in New York City?

We all know that New York City isn’t a cheap place to live, and people in the delivery and service industry often get hit hard due to the inconsistent nature of the field. When ordering catering for corporate events or office parties in New York, there are a few things we highly recommend to keep in mind:

  • How large is the order? While you don’t necessarily need to tip a full 20% on a $400 catering order, it also isn’t appropriate to stick to the $5 bill that is more widely accepted in ordering delivery for one to two people. You should aim to tip at least 10% for any order over $100.
  • How difficult is the order? Consider the variables at play in your specific order. Is your driver expected to make multiple trips up several flights of stairs? Does your order include heavy items, such as large bottles of soda? Are you ordering for 10 or 100 people? All of these factors determine how much work is required of your delivery driver. For a large, complicated, or particularly demanding order, you’ll want to bump your tip up accordingly.
  • How far is the restaurant I’m ordering from? At CaterPlace, we make sure to include each of our partner restaurants’ addresses on their vendor profile. Some restaurants stick to smaller delivery radiuses; in these instances, the delivery distance isn’t as important. However, for restaurants delivering several miles away, you may want to consider the driving distance when calculating your tip. While the delivery fee can cover aspects of the delivery drive, many restaurants do not cover gas itself. Think about how much it might cost your driver to deliver long distances, and consider incorporating that into your tip.

About CaterPlace

"At CaterPlace, we recognize that food choices are everywhere and practically limitless. With that in mind, our core values have always had the customer as the top priority. Not only do we want to provide you with on- time delicious food, but also reward your continued loyalty through our CaterCash program. More About CaterPlace

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