It's Time To Let Go Of The Guilt Over Ordering Food In Bad Weather

It's a Friday night, and you're snuggled up on the couch watching your favorite TV show. You want to order your favorite pizza from Dominos, but it's raining cats and dogs outside. Should you make the call or not?

The guilt of inconveniencing the delivery driver is something many people struggle with when debating whether or not they should order in or heat up a bowl of canned soup. The truth is, bad weather can temporarily impact sales at restaurants, according to Restaurant Drive. BJ's Restaurant in Washington State and Oregon saw a 40% drop in sales one weekend in February due to a snowstorm when it usually was the company's busiest time of the week.

As a business owner, if you have the staff on hand but the phones aren't ringing, it only makes sense to send employees home and close up shop. However, the reality is that this leaves the business owner with less revenue, the employee with a lousy paycheck, and you with an empty stomach. You might be thinking it's cruel to make a stranger risk their lives to bring you food during inclement weather. But according to various sources, that may be the opposite of what the delivery driver is thinking.

Should you order food when the weather is bad?

According to a 2021 DoorDash Reddit thread titled "AITA (am I the a** hole) for ordering food when the weather's bad?", many DoorDash employees said that they look forward to delivering food in bad weather because otherwise, they wouldn't get paid. In fact, one employee replied, saying, "I intentionally deliver in bad weather in hopes for higher tips. It's crazy how many people still don't tip during a blizzard, though." Another said, "Whoever got your order was probably super happy to see the good tip. Dashers make better money in bad weather!"

Delivery drivers seem to enjoy the surge in takeout sales during extreme weather conditions — so long as they're tipped well. Many would assume that people would tip the delivery staff generously during bad weather. However, studies show that may not be the case.

In an article by The New Yorker, GrubHub tracked tips during a weekend December vortex and found that some areas throughout the mid-Atlantic tipped well while others didn't. According to the data, East Harlem saw the greatest tip increase at 24%, while New Jersey's tips were down more than 22%. The article goes on to state that many people don't understand the correlation between tipping and bad weather, but one thing is for sure — tips express your gratitude. 

How much should you tip a delivery driver?

Many people think that tipping a delivery driver and a server at a restaurant is the same, but according to Eater, they should be treated differently. 

The outlet's 2018 article states that in the past, the standard tipping rate at restaurants was 15-20%. However, in recent years, 20% has become the appropriate rate. On the other hand, delivery drivers expect a smaller tip, typically around 15%, but this doesn't account for the chance of poor driving conditions. Restaurant Menufy says that tipping 20% or more is recommended if the weather conditions aren't ideal. Even if the conditions are decent, but you ordered a large meal, or the driver went above and beyond, it's fair to tip the extra 20%. 

The overall consensus? You're not the bad guy for ordering food in bad weather. Just be sure to be generous and tip well.