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How Much Should You Tip On Catering Orders?

tipping catering orders

Tipping while dining out has been mostly standardized: 20% of the bill for quality service, going above or below that line for a good (or not so good) experience. But is there a benchmark for tipping on catering services?

What’s the difference between a delivery/service fee and a tip? Where does your money really go when you order catering? We’ve put together information on the exact breakdown of catering services.

What’s the difference between a tip and a delivery or service fee?

The simple answer is that your tip goes 100% to the delivery driver. Delivery and service fees are a concept that have created confusion for anyone ordering catering. I mean, why should you have to tip on top of a delivery fee when getting catering delivered?

The fees typically goes toward driving insurance, compensation for wear and tear and mileage accumulated, or any other company expenditures that have been calculated for travel. This means that while yes, the delivery fee DOES technically cover driving expenses, the delivery fee is not related to tip (the fees do not necessarily go to the driver).

Check If Your Total Covers Gratuity

Before you give your caterer a tip, take a look at your agreement to see if it’s calculated already. Caterers sometimes include a gratuity charge that is automatically applied for safety. If a gratuity is not already included on your bill, plan on tipping the servers/deliverers at your event.

How Much Is a Good Tip For Catering?

There’s a few things to keep in mind when ordering catering for events or parties:

  • You’ll want to know how much food to order for catering. If you have a big order your tip will be different from a smaller order. While you don’t necessarily need to tip a full 20% on a $400 catering order, it can also be extremely awkward to tip on the lower side. Tipping at least 10% for any order over $100 is a good benchmark.
  • How custom is your order? You should know if your caterer provides silverware and plates or not. Consider the variables of your specific catering order. Is your location hard to get to? Are there several flights of stairs? Does your order include heavy items? Are you ordering for 10 or 100 people? All of these factors determine how much work is required of your delivery driver. The more complicated your order, the more you should tip accordingly.
  • How far is the restaurant? Some restaurants only deliver to certain areas, but for long travel distances, you may want to consider the driving distance when calculating your tip.

FAQ About Tipping On Catering Orders

Do you tip on catering orders that you pick up?

Although it’s not necessary if you are only picking up the food, it’s best to leave 5 to 10% of your bill as a tip, even when ordering takeout catering. In catering, it is not always as simple as just putting your food into boxes for you to pick up. Many times there are more things to consider like packaging properly and making sure food stays warm.

What is appropriate tip for catering delivery?

Our recommended tips for catering delivery drivers is 10% on larger orders over $100 and 15% for smaller orders. A $5 minimum should be given for all deliveries.

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