How to Tip for Chinese Food Delivery

The tip for Chinese food delivery should vary based on several factors.

Sometimes nothing sounds better than a night on the couch, watching the latest TV shows and eating hassle-free delivered Chinese food. Such an evening might be completely stress-free if it weren’t for the worry about how much to tip your delivery person. You might find your evening haunted by concern that you under-tipped, or you might find yourself regretting giving a large tip to a delivery person who was less than pleasant.

Decide on a base tip amount that you will offer even if it is a relatively high percentage of the bill. Tipping delivery people is slightly more complicated than tipping wait staff at a restaurant because using a fixed percentage rule is not quite as effective. If you only ordered egg rolls and rice for a total $5 of food to be delivered, a 15 percent tip would be a mere $0.75—which might make the driver regret the long trip to your place and back. As a rule of thumb, consider tipping $1.00 to $2.00 as a base amount which may vary based on other factors.

Raise the amount of the tip to be at least 10 percent of the total bill, if that is more than the base amount you chose. For example, if your bill was $40 and your base tip is $2, add another $2 for a $4 tip. Also raise the amount of the tip if there are added complications for the delivery person, such as a large number of bags or boxes to carry or several flights of stairs up to your apartment. Also consider providing a higher tip if your home is far from the restaurant.

Lower the tip amount if the delivery driver provided inadequate service. This might include being rude or surly at your door or calling you from the car to come pick up your food outside. Remember that delays are often the responsibility of the restaurant rather than the delivery driver, and tip accordingly.

Consider giving the driver a higher tip if you intend to order from that particular Chinese restaurant regularly. Consistently tipping well and building a rapport with the driver can persuade him to move you closer to the top of his delivery list, meaning your food will arrive sooner and hotter.

Morgan O'Connor has been writing professionally since 2005. Her experience includes articles on various aspects of the health-insurance industry for health-care newsletters distributed to hospitals as well as articles on both international and domestic travel.