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DoorDash tests pressuring customers to tip with delivery delays

By Jake Beardslee · November 2, 2023

In brief…

  • Orders without tips often take longer to be accepted and delivered
  • Backlash on social media from customers who felt tipping should be optional
  • Support from some who said drivers deserve tips for difficult work
  • DoorDash announced strong Q3 earnings but is still operating at a loss
  • Pilot program aimed at incentivizing tipping to improve service and efficiency
DoorDash informed customers that food orders without tips will likely face delays, provoking debate over whether tipping should be mandatory.  DoorDash/Wikimedia

Hungry diners may need to curb their appetites if they choose not to tip their DoorDash delivery driver. The popular food delivery app warned customers this week that orders without tips often take longer to be accepted and delivered.

DoorDash pays its contracted drivers, nicknamed “dashers”, between $2-$10 per delivery depending on mileage. Dashers keep 100% of tips on top of their base pay. In a new pilot program, DoorDash is testing pop-up messages to inform customers that tip-less orders linger before being claimed by a driver.

The advisory provoked backlash on social media. “Tips are based on service not the working conditions. DoorDash needs to pay them more first and foremost,” wrote one user on X.

DoorDash announced strong third quarter earnings this week, with stock prices rising over 20% in the past six months. Total orders jumped 25% to 532 million compared to the same period last year. However, DoorDash still posted a $172 million net loss, down from $263 million during the same timeframe in 2021.

With demand growing but profits declining, DoorDash is incentivizing tipping to ensure reliable and efficient service. The company stated they will closely analyze the pilot program’s impact before potentially expanding the tipping prompts. For now, hungry customers who skimp on tips should brace for longer wait times.