Gunshow meal restaurant
Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

Most Restaurants Now Offer Free Delivery. What About the Gratuity?

Do you remember a time when people used to dine out at places called restaurants? They were either located among a cluster of other business establishments at something called a shopping mall, in the downtown districts of incorporated municipal centers called towns or cities, or stood alone at or near popular locations — such as stadiums, arenas, amusement theme parks, or movie theaters.

Ah…those were the days…

Most Restaurants Now Offer Free Delivery. What About the Gratuity?

…but in the arguably not-so-brave new world in which we now live, the best one can hope for a distant vestige of what life used to be like is to either take meals ordered from those dining establishments out — or have the food delivered free of charge to where you and I are located.

Dining establishments worldwide have either voluntarily shut down or were ordered to close as mandated by the governments of the jurisdictions in which they are located due to a pandemic of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus — which is also known as COVID-19 or 2019-nCoV.

Many restaurant companies — regardless of the number of locations or the size, fine dining or fast food — are now profusely advertising free delivery using multiple media in a desperate attempt to grasp onto that fragile thread which could mean the difference between staying alive for the future and emerging from the pandemic once it will have abated…

…or simply giving up and shutting their doors permanently — forever.

Almost everybody has been — or will be — going through some sort of hardship as a result of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic. Some people will become ill. And yes, some people will die…

…but in this case — which is obviously a shadow of a microcosm of other far more substantial issues and problems associated with the pandemic — “free” delivery is usually not free of charge at all, as the person who delivers the food usually expects a gratuity for the service based on such factors as the total cost of the order or the distance traveled to deliver it.


Now that the circumstances have changed considerably with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic, I am wondering if those people who were vehemently against tipping in general have altered their thinking towards the practice — especially as the delivery person has no idea whether he or she will remain employed due to layoffs and furloughs…

…and if a delivery person does receive a gratuity, should that person be given more money than usual in this fragile economy?

What are your thoughts? Would you participate in free delivery of food from restaurants and other dining establishments to support them and their employees — and provide a gratuity for the delivery person — or are you vehemently against the practice regardless of the ongoing situation worldwide?

Past Articles Pertaining to Gratuities and Tips

Gratuities and tips have long been controversial with regards to travel and dining — to the point of contentiousness from all sides of the issue, as evidenced by the following articles which I wrote for The Gate over the years…

Past Articles Pertaining to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Pandemic

This article is the latest in a series pertaining to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus in an effort to get the facts out with information derived from reliable sources — as well as attempt to maintain a reasoned and sensible ongoing discussion towards how to resolve this pandemic.

Other articles at The Gate which pertain to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus include:

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

  1. I had takeout today and handed the young guy $5 tip for giving me the food. Seemed like the right thing to do.

  2. One comment today. You do a post about how usa has lost its mine 100 comments.

    Thank god trump texted out tonight that this bs over reaction is now worse than the virus itself and after the 15 days we will be back to normal.

    Of course old peeps n high rush peeps will have to self quarantine, but that should of been the case all along instead of destroying the economy.

    Will be in Vegas 1st weekend it opens!

  3. Funny how in good economic times many delivery type restaurants added delivery fees that did not get shared with delivery drivers but now that they are suffering and there is competition from doordash, grubhub that are delivering from non-traditional delivery restaurants they want to offer “free” delivery to do us all a favor. I’ll single out Dominos pizza they have added on delivery fees for years now which many mistake for money that goes to the driver but it doesn’t. Much like the darker world of cruise ship gratuities most of that money will never be seen by delivery drivers.

    One thing I will add is that just because food is delivered to you from a restaurant doesn’t make it safe. I have first-hand knowledge of delivery drivers that have been super busy delivering food but are now sick with this virus. We need to stop this panic and financial ruin before it puts us out of business forever. Many more will die because of the current financial collapse than this virus will ever cause.

  4. Why the hell is anyone giving tips on someone carrying your food for 50 feet to you? It is the employer’s job to pay their employees (and the suckers that are willing to tip).

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