Thursday, February 22, 2024

The next time you order those burgers and fries from your couch, be forewarned. If you don’t add a tip for your delivery person, you might have to wait longer for your food.

That is the message that DoorDash is sending in a test of a new screen on its app that warns customers in the United States and Canada of the consequences of not adding at least a few dollars as a tip when checking out.

The screen, which pops up on the app during the ordering process, gives customers the option to type in a tip amount and proceed, or to click the button that says “continue without tip” — and deal with the consequences.

“Orders with no tip might take longer to get delivered,” the screen says. “Are you sure you want to continue?”

The pressure on customers to add a tip, which DoorDash addressed in a statement on Wednesday, was the company’s latest effort to make changes to its app amid concerns about the rights of gig workers and fair pay for delivery people. In June, DoorDash announced it would give delivery drivers the option to be paid an hourly minimum wage, which would vary by region, instead of earning money for each delivery.

DoorDash started its tip pilot earlier this year in some cities in the United States and Canada, and might expand it nationwide, the company said.

“While the vast majority of customers do leave a tip, offers that don’t include a tip can be seen as less desirable,” Jenn Rosenberg, a DoorDash spokeswoman, said in an email on Thursday. She said that Dashers, the nickname for the independent gig workers who pick up and deliver food and other goods for DoorDash, keep the tips that they make.

The company will analyze the pilot’s results before possibly rolling the reminder out nationwide. It is now appearing for randomly chosen users in several cities in the United States and Canada, DoorDash said.

Tipping has traditionally been associated with rewards that are proportionate to the quality of service performed, but pressure to tip by default grew in the early phases of the pandemic, when many people stayed away from restaurants or grocery stories and leaned on delivery people to bring them food.

DoorDash’s tipping announcement has attracted news coverage over the past few days. The Los Angeles ABC News affiliate invited consumers to give their opinions online, and some readers expressed annoyance with having to add a tip before even getting the service for which they were tipping.

Carolyn Jones, 36, who has been a Dasher for nearly 10 years in Dallas, said she feared that some customers thought the delivery fee went to Dashers like her, and she hoped the new tip screen would make it clear that was not the case.

Last week, she waited 20 minutes for a Panera order to be ready, and then spent another 10 minutes delivering it to a customer’s home. She earned $4 from DoorDash and $3 from the tip, she said. In September, she spent 22 minutes picking up and delivering a Chipotle order and said she received $2.25 from DoorDash and no tip.

“I just hope that people understand that we are giving a service,” she said. “We are actually getting your food, bringing it to you safely, and most of the time it is hot when it gets to you.”

DoorDash said consumers would still have the option not to tip. But it added that it had detected a “meaningful decrease” in no-tip orders since the pilot started.

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