Should You Tip Uber Eats Drivers? (Via App or Cash?) [2021]

A lot of UponArriving readers use Uber and Uber Eats, especially since they can get $15 monthly credits from the American Express Platinum Card and other occasional discounts by utilizing Amex Offers. But when it comes to saving money a lot of people wonder whether or not they should tip Uber Eats drivers since tips are not included in the order.

As someone who uses Uber Eats all the time, this question intrigued me so I started asking around and talking to Uber drivers, passengers, and also reviewing what people were chattering about on web forums like Reddit. 

In this article, I will talk about whether or not you should tip your Uber Eats drivers, and I will present arguments for both sides. I will also show you how to tip your Uber driver through the app (or using cash). Finally, I will talk about ways that you can avoid the tipping situation altogether with alternative choices. 

Uber’s position on tipping

Let’s start off the discussion with Uber’s official position. With regards to tipping drivers, Uber states:

Am I expected to leave a tip?

While tipping is never required, you can add a tip as an extra way to thank your delivery partner for their efforts. For feedback regarding items in your order, you can rate the order and restaurant.

We offer the option to tip your delivery partner directly through the Uber Eats app, or you can tip them in cash when they deliver the order. Either way, 100% of the tip goes to the delivery partner.

Despite raising the question of whether or not you should be expected to leave a tip, Uber doesn’t give a clear answer on whether or not tipping is expected. It just states that it is not required and it’s a way to give thanks to your driver for their efforts. 

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The case for tipping

There are a few very good reasons why you should tip your Uber Eats driver. 

It’s customary

At least in the United States, it is customary to tip workers who are providing you with a delivery service, especially in the food industry. This is the case for other food items like pizza, Chinese take out, etc. so why wouldn’t you also tip your Uber driver?

Yes, you technically are paying somebody extra to do the job they signed up for. But that’s just the way that our society works, so there is no reason why an Uber Eats driver should be singled out as someone “not worthy” of consideration for tips. 

It’s warranted by their efforts 

Sometimes the situation just mandates a tip, in my opinion. Could you imagine riding a bike in sweltering hot weather, freezing winds, or through torrential downpour to deliver food on time? Then you show up, deliver the food, and never receive a tip for your efforts? 

And in some metropolitan areas there could be a danger element — dealing with aggressive drivers, unkept roads, and whatever else could be lurking out there. Not to mention the fact that parking and/or leaving your car idle is very difficult, impossible, or illegal, in many locations. 


Also, if your Uber Eats driver is delivering your food directly to your doorstep, the convenience involved in that should warrant a tip. This is especially true if they have to hunt down your apartment building, climb up flights of stairs, and then locate your unit (and then find their way back out). 


After factoring in vehicle expenses, it is expected that Uber Eats drivers make around $8-$12 per hour (some do report much higher wages). Depending on where you live that can be a pretty low amount of wages. If this is that driver’s only source of income then a small tip with each delivery could go a long wait for that person. 

Also, if you live out of the way and it takes your driver a longer time to get to you then those wages could be even lower. In some cases, the driver could be working effectively for well below minimum wage and so tips could be extremely important to keeping them afloat financially.  

The case for NOT tipping

Not everybody is on board with tipping their drivers. Here are some reasons that many people might think to not leave a tip. 

“Uber is a non-tipping service”

Uber originally marketed itself as one of the ride share services that does not require or expect tips. To me, there always seemed to be an emphasis on not tipping when using their services.

And while they did slowly roll out the option to leave a tip it definitely felt like more of an afterthought. So many people do not associate tipping with using Uber. And in fact may even associate not tipping with using Uber.   

Related: How Much Does Uber Charge Per Mile?

The outrageous fees

“The fees are too damn high.” When you order Uber Eats, you’ll be expected to pay a delivery fee. The amount of this delivery fee can vary greatly. Once upon a time there was a flat $4.99 delivery fee and for the most part you probably will still be paying a fee of $5 to $6 these days. Paying a delivery fee for a delivery service is understandable. 

However, the delivery fee will vary and it also can get very high during surge pricing hours. For example, some people have been charged delivery fees of over $20. When you get hit with an insanely high delivery fee of that amount it is really hard to throw out more cash out of your wallet to tip a driver.

Obviously, the driver has nothing to do with that fee but many people feel like they do not want to support Uber any more than necessary to receive their meal when that happens.

Uber Eats also recently added an additional service fee. This adds an additional 10% and additional $2 when your order is below $10. So by the time you factor in the delivery fee, the service fee, and the taxes, it is really difficult for some people to want to hand out more money for a tip.

For some people, they may also believe that if they refrain from tipping over time and many others do as well that fewer people will drive for Uber Eats, and they will be forced to adjust their fees. That sounds good in theory, but I don’t think that will ever actually happen.  

A bad delivery experience

Sometimes you might have a terrible delivery experience. When using the app, you can track where your driver is and it is for the most part pretty accurate.

Sometimes you can witness the frustrating experience of watching your driver miss your road over and over again or taking some unexplainable backwoods route that takes 3X as long to get to where you are. 

If you notice that they take a substantially longer time than what was needed and your food arrives cold or melted then that can be a major problem. It’s one thing for them to call you if they are having issues navigating but it’s another for them to never reach out to you and let you know anything and just expect you to be okay with food they should know is in an unacceptable or subpar state. 

The difficulty with this is that sometimes your food may have just taken a long time to be handed over to the driver. You might perceive them as taking a long time but the real culprit with your cold food may have been with the restaurant’s service to begin with. This is especially the case when items are not delivered. 

Also, sometimes the app gives the drivers horrible directions. If the driver is not familiar with your area than it really is not their fault for being led astray. 

Helping them out

If you go out of your way to meet the Uber driver and make their life easier rather than forcing them to come to your apartment unit or some other area, then you may be justified in thinking that you don’t owe them a tip.

In that case, the argument is that all the driver had to do was drive from Point A to Point B and that is the entirety of their job. They were not asked go above and beyond and probably did not even have to get out of their vehicle. 

I think there is some legitimacy to this argument because you are saving them some time, parking issues, etc. But maybe in those cases you just go with the minimal tip of $1 or something. 

Higher food costs

Some people have reported that the menu prices for ordering food through Uber Eats are higher than they would be if you ordered your food in the restaurant. The higher price paid for the delivery option makes them feel less inclined to offer a tip. Again, this is another thing that is not the driver’s fault but is something that definitely is not helping their cause. 

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Should you tip your Uber Eats driver?

I think that in general you should tip your Uber Eats driver. The main reason is that the wages can be very low, it can require frustrating work, and a lot of the negative aspects of the Uber Eats experience (e.g., fees) are out of their control.

The only time I would not tip is if the driver showed a blatant disregard for providing me with the food ordered on time. When there is no apology or explanation for why the order was so late, it’s clear that the driver really doesn’t care. And I would like to discourage that person from working there because they are probably doing the same type a thing for other people and ruining their meals as well.   

How to tip Uber Eats 

There are basically two different ways that you can tip the driver.

Tipping through the app

First, you can tip the driver through the Uber Eats app. When you are getting ready to place your order you can choose to tip your courier. Your tip will be sent to them one hour after delivery and you are able to adjust that tip before then. Personally, I don’t like to tip until after I have received the service, so I usually just hold off.

You can also wait until after your delivery has taken place and select an amount to tip them. First, you will need to select either thumbs-up or thumbs down for their delivery. Then you will see preselected tip amounts but you can also choose to set your own custom amount. 

Cash tips

Finally, while Uber Eats does not accept cash as a form of payment like Uber does, you are allowed to provide them with a cash tip. You should note that whether you tipped in cash or you tipped through the app, the driver will receive 100% of that tip (so there’s no need to feel the need to tip in cash just to make sure they receive all of it).

If you have a gift card or some sort of credit that can also be applied to the tip.

How much should you tip Uber Eats drivers?

If you decide to tip your driver, the next question is how much should you tip them?

This is just going to depend on your personal preference but you can tip based on a percentage or just offer them a flat tip. 

Generally, I think leaving $1-$2 for easy, cheap orders is not a terrible tip because at least you are giving them something.

However, if the delivery involves any kind of extra effort on their part such as biking through a city, finding your apartment, dealing with certain elements, I would advise to give them the middle or higher option offered by Uber. This would probably amount to a 15% to 25% tip.  

Do Uber Eats drivers know if you tipped?

Yes, your Uber Eats driver will know whether or not you gave them a tip for your delivery. 

An alternative to tipping 

If you are in a location that is also served by GrubHub (or a similar service), you may consider ordering takeout. This should allow you to avoid the delivery fee altogether. (However, you should be aware that many take out places do receive tips and many believe that it is the right thing to do.)

If you get a card like the American Express Gold Card and you can get a monthly $10 credit to use on a service like this. By avoiding the delivery fee and potentially a tip is a great way to maximize the value of your credit.

Final word

I think you should tip your Uber Eats drivers on most occasions and just use your judgment on the amount. Put yourself in their shoes for a moment and that should help you decide on what type of tip they deserve. 

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  1. Many restaurants charge higher prices for UberEats because Uber itself is charging the restaurant. So in many cases Uber gets 20% from the restaurant, a delivery fee, a 15% service fee, and possible a small order fee. Keep in mind the 15% service fee is on top of the higher 20% food price so in essence Uber is compounding their fee.

    When you add it all up Uber is already getting a 40-50% markup. There’s plenty of room their for Uber to adequately pay their drivers and no need for customers to subsidies Uber’s wages.

    1. Uber drivers do not get the 40 – 50% markup! NOT EVEN CLOSE! I have only been driving a short time and have been informing friends and family that they should really consider all options (including financials) when calling on delivery services. While Uber may have high markups, their drivers rely on tips as their main source of this income. UberEats also allows multiple pickups/deliveries at the same time, when such orders are accepted by the driver, Uber creates the route to take for the driver. If the driver is not familiar with the area, it can take much longer to get the orders to both customers and one or the other is sometimes later than normal. This is an app issue for incorrect routing or that there isn’t enough drivers at that given time to deliver to distant locations. PLEASE ALWAYS TIP YOUR DELIVERY DRIVERS AT LEAST AS MUCH AS YOU WOULD YOUR WAITER OR WAITRESS IN THE SAME RESTAURANT! IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO THEM AS THEY HAVE A VEHICLE TO MAINTAIN!!!

  2. The gig nature is dependent on tips to make the numbers viable. Cash or app tips are both appreciated but cash is an upfront expression. Uber will not pay drivers from their fees as it is being used elsewhere in their corporate portfolio. If drivers had perks of company vehicles, paid gas and insurance and every maintenance cost covered, a base salary plus incentives and tips… they would be employees not independent business owners.

  3. Uber newest pay scale averages about $3.00 a delivery. This makes the driver dependent on the customer providing a tip otherwise it’s just not worth it to deliver on the Ubereats.

  4. I drive for Uber eats have been waiting over an hour for a delivery. I had two deliveries yesterday with no tip. My wife works for favor her tips are more in line with the price of the order 18 bucks on an order yesterday plus they offer bonus plans were she is guaranteed 20 bucks an hour. Oh well guess I will jump ship to favor. Thanks everyone for making it an easy choice

  5. Just so uber eats customers know, Panera bread uses their own drivers to deliver uber eats orders. Panera pays server wage for drivers 5.55 hour in Chicago suburbs. Also, perhaps more importantly, we never see if you tip. On a biweekly check we see “uber eats tips ” and it’s a few bucks total but never shows who tipped what. A cash tip is always appreciated and I dare say expected..10% is fine. Or when I come to the door “hey, tipped on the app!” Cool thanks 🙂

  6. Tips are necessary for drivers to continue the service. Uber does not pay enough (ex. $3 for half an hour trip). If you tip your waitress who is multi-tasking customers at a sit-down restaurant 15%, then why not someone who has to deal with heavy rain, reckless drivers on the highway, potholes, construction, etc just for you. Usually your driver is designated only to you. If you live in an apartment/condo, please provide the name of the building and any gate code in your customer notes. Uber doesn’t pay us for the extra time it takes to navigate an apartment maze in a sprawling complex to find your door, and find our way out. It’s insane to expect service to your door and not tip. Uber’s payout is based more on miles than time, therefore if we have to wait 15 or 20 minutes extra for a busy restaurant to bring out your food or in a long drive thru line so you don’t have to, experienced drivers would just cancel and leave, so if your driver does that for you, please tip accordingly. If there’s a minefield at your house to get to your front door, please do the right thing. I understand Uber Eats’ delivery charges and fees can be high, but please don’t assume the driver gets much of that.

    In addition, do not take it out on your driver’s tip if there are missing items or substitutions. Most restaurant workers hand us sealed bags and take offense when we try to question what’s in there. Uber does not allow us to open bags. We cannot check the order the same way you would if you personally got your own food. If your food arrives late or cold, it is not automatically the driver’s fault. Yes, your food can be sitting at the restaurant for an hour while Uber finds a driver willing to accept that pickup. So don’t take it out on the person who accepted to bring your food to you. Instead, tip your driver properly and appeal to Uber Support for a refund regarding issues with your food. In the last couple months Uber Eats updated their driver’s app so we can say the expected payout including the tip you entered when you place your order. If you didn’t add a tip, many drivers will pass on it. You can always change the tip after delivery, for example, if you hand the driver cash.

  7. So you’re expected to tip the restaurants 20%+, and also tip the delivery person 20%+, on top of UberEats surcharge of 20-30%, for a total of 60%+?

    1. Ryan, I know Uber Eats charges a delivery fee and I believe also has a food surcharge, but on the Uber Eats driver app, they show (a normally quite low) pay for the driver to pickup your order and deliver it to your requested location, which is not NOT immediately given to the driver. Your delivery location is only at first shown on a zoomed map, which sometimes diminishes the drivers perception of the actual distance. The drivers current location (typically, but not always near the restaurant) and route to get to the pickup location, is not considered in the payment from Uber Eats, nor is, after completing the delivery, returning to a descent working location for the next potential order pickup. Uber Eats does not provide assistance, except (once the order is accepted) they provide directions to the restaurant or pickup location, ONLY THEN, AFTER THE ORDER IS PICKED UP is the driver is finally provided the actual delivery address. The time it should take to get there and the total miles are the only indications a driver is provided to make a decision whether or not to accept your delivery request. Uber Eats does not provide any payment or financial support in heading to an accepted pickup or returning from a delivery to the next potentially good pick up location. The driver only receives a small portion of the delivery fee and possibly a ‘trip supplement’ (usually even a way smaller amount) to deliver your order. Also, drivers have to deal with a whole lot more than your restaurant waiter or waitress, such as traffic, school zones, parking, leaving their car parked and running while delivering your order, etc. YES, PLEASE PLEASE TIP YOUR DRIVER! If it is not financially feasible for you to tip at least $3.00 (which is possibly a gallon of gas) for your order, then please do not order for delivery.

  8. Tipping a server in a restaurant 15-20% is reasonable, they wait on you hand and foot for an hour+ and are paid a very small wage ($2.13/hour in my state). They are paid low and taxed on the expectation of tips. They also juggle numerous tables at the same time and have all the other opening/closing duties of a server. Paying a similar percentage (which the app tries to get you to do) for someone driving a bag to you is crazy, especially since they’re making a somewhat normal wage. With all the astronomical fees (delivery, service and higher food prices) already getting heaped onto the bill it isn’t my responsibility to take a stress free job of driving a bag across town and pay them like it’s something other than what it is. Sorry, this isn’t a skilled “career” and shouldn’t be paid as such. If Uber drivers don’t like what they’re paid from Uber, don’t do the job. It’s the only way Uber will adjust their wages to get people to work for them. Not by forcing people who just want a meal to subsidize their employees wages.

    1. Drivers don’t make minimum wage. Many times, drivers net $5/hour after expenses. If servers are worthy of a tip for just doing their job, then why not tip the delivery person who used their own car, put wear and tear on their car, and took time to pick up the food you could’ve gotten yourself? No wonder there’s a driver shortage.

      1. For all the reasons I already stated. I didn’t say a driver isn’t worthy of some sort of tip. Getting tipped like a server in a sit down restaurant is ridiculous though. They make less than minimum wage, in a lot of cases WAY less. They wait on you hand and foot for over an hour. Most importantly, they pay income tax on their “ringer” meaning it’s assumed if my bill was $100 they’re going to get an assumed tip of a certain percentage and they pay tax on that assumed tip. If you’re begging for more, get Uber to cut into their ridiculous “service fee”.

        Something has to give with all this, it’s unsustainable. Everyone is trying to get a sizeable piece of the pie here. The restaurants are charging more for the menu items, Uber (& others) are charging a massive percentage service AND delivery fee and then the driver has their hand out. As is, Uber tries to get you to tip the driver a percentage tip of a traditional server (10-20%)

    1. Driver was sent from FAR to a restaurant so close to me. He did good, I tipped $3 cash. I mert him in the courtyard, I could see online where he was every step of the way. He seemed very happy with tip. The order was wrong; on restaurant menu it has tofu in veg curry, on ubereats menu it doesn’t say tofu. I double-checked, my item was removed from the ubereats menu (means they ran out?). I walked the order over to the restaurant and they remade it. I was pretty good. Uber paid $24 anyway, which was all of the food. So the tax and fees were about $8.50 on $24 in menu items. Tax is like 2.50, here, on that. So total fees like $6 or 25%. Seems it was uber’s mistake (not that they type in every menu). Does the restaurant add menu items, or does ubereats have a bot that puts all the items in their site like a dropship site lol. Future: I’ll just call or walk.

  9. Well said! A table server earns a higher tip for exactly the reasons you mention. Though even that model is somewhat flawed. As it is not the number of people being served or the complexity of the order (both of which probably do more to increase the amount of work/attention required) but the price of the food. Example, 2 adults eating lower dollar meals (chicken wings, burger, beer) and 2 kids eating off the kids menu, versus 1 adult eating a prime rib and two glasses of wine.

    I have only used Uber Eats once. I was busy working and ordered fast food for me and my two kids. Uber charged me a $4.50 service fee and an additional $1.99 delivery fee. So they already hit me for 20% of my order. I tipped, but only $3 – $4. Probably won’t use them again. I think that is too much money to pay Uber for what they do. I don’t remember ever seeing a restaurant charge me more than $5 to deliver their food.

    1. Remember, drivers don’t get the lion’s share of the fare. They only get paid by the mile (below 60 cents in most markets) for pickup and dropoff.

      1. I’m not unsympathetic to that BUT, if you aren’t happy with your base pay don’t drive for them. Getting the rider to pay twice via the fare and the tip is not fair. Uber does ZERO of the driving and gets hella fees for what amounts to the app and it’s infrastructure. If you (and others) refused to drive for them they’d have to adjust. Either get the customer to foot the entire bill or rethink their profit requirements.

        1. If their FEES are too high, then why ORDER from them!? The driver is only the worker, not the company. You should be saying ‘don’t order from them’ in lieu of ‘don’t work for them’. It’s like saying, “I’m going to dinner at the RITZ but not tipping my waiter/waitress because the food is too expensive!” if you think it’s too expensive, go to a more affordable eatery, i.e. McDonald’s!

  10. If you are unwilling to tip your driver or think the fees are already too high to have whatever it is that you ordered, at any time of the day or night, brought directly to your door so you don’t even need pants on if you so choose…..
    Then do not order delivery. Period. It’s that simple. Regardless what app you’re using. The portion of the delivery fee the driver actually gets is by far mostly covering the gas. That’s it, little to no profit just from the fee. If you can afford to eat out or have it brought to you…tip. waitress, driver, or the kid next door doing you a favor. If you don’t want to tip then cook in your home. So simple

  11. So we aren’t allowed to think fees are already too high? Am I just supposed to walk around with a stack of money all day and make it rain for anyone that smiles at me? Most here aren’t saying zero tip but you shouldn’t be tipped like a SERVER. You’re a bag bringer, 1 single trip AND you aren’t taxed on my total so it should NOT be a percentage based tip. It’s irrelevant to the drive how much my food cost me whether it be Wendy’s or Caviar in the bag. But again, it’s not MY job to pay extra to make up the bulk of someone’s wages when I’ve already paid a huge fee for that service. If you want a career driving bags around and feel you’re underpaid ask your employer for a raise, they make PLENTY. It’s that “simple”

  12. I need to know what city/state you live in!

  13. You’ve gotta stop with the CAPS. Quit begging people to tip you like a server in a restaurant, you aren’t. You do NOT deserve a percentage based tip on what my food cost me. You do not do more or less work on how much a dish cost me. Period. Quit driving for your employer if they aren’t paying you enough. If they don’t have enough drivers they can’t do business. It’d not our job to subsidized your perceived underpay You have a car to maintain, we get that. It’s just not my job to care for your car. That’s something you have to weigh into deciding if your employer is paying you enough.

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