DoorDash announced Friday that the company is testing out a new popup message for users in its app that will motivate customers to tip their couriers. If a consumer chooses not to add a tip, they might see a popup message that says, “Orders with no tips might take longer to get delivered. Are you sure you want to continue?” or, “Tips help motivate a Dasher to accept your order faster!”
“Our three-sided marketplace only works if it’s working for Dashers, consumers and merchants alike,” DoorDash said in a statement. “When consumers leave a tip, Dashers are more likely to accept their order because of the value they find in it. This drives positive delivery experiences for consumers, which in turn drives satisfied, repeat consumers for merchants. On the flipside, orders without a tip are less appealing to Dashers and thus are more likely to be rejected by them, which may result in a consumer’s food sitting longer at a merchant’s restaurant.”
It’s a reminder that courier services are a luxury add-on, not a baseline experience for restaurant delivery customers, because consumers can always choose to pick up the order themselves. It’s also a reminder that couriers are not direct employees of services like Grubhub and DoorDash, and that much like Uber and Lyft—they work as independent contractors with control over their own schedules and which types of orders to select.
Although DoorDash clarified that the company is not forcing consumers to leave a tip—and that they can choose not to if they want, it shows the power of this business model to reward or punish consumer behavior. This is backed by data as well: According to research from Paytronix, less than 1% of third-party delivery orders with a tip of $2.50 or more are not picked up, and as tips become larger, that percentage keeps dropping. Contrastingly, orders placed with no tips are left undelivered 2.6% of the time, showing a direct correlation between tipping couriers and quality of service received.
“The money they’re giving us is so low, it doesn’t even cover a quarter of a tank of gas,” one third-party delivery driver told Paytronix. “If somebody wants something, it’s usually something small ... it pays $2.25, maybe $5, so it’s really not worth my time.”
Even so, the new popup message DoorDash is rolling out has been controversial with users, with many stating that tipping should be a bonus, not an assumed cost of getting the food you ordered:
Other users, however, have argued that food delivery apps, which didn’t exist 15 years ago, are a modern-day luxury, and you should expect to pay more to get this service, and pay your driver a fair amount:
Following the rollout of these features, DoorDash said that it has seen a “meaningful decrease” in orders placed without gratuity. Given the apparent success DoorDash has had, it would not be surprising if Grubhub and Uber followed suit.