It seems like tonight’s the night to order food for delivery — but maybe that’s irresponsible, inconsiderate, or just New York! There’s a concern for the delivery person’s safety — but on the other hand, they rely on tips to make money to live. On top of that, what are those few Hell’s Kitchen eateries not in hibernation going to do without orders tonight?

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Homer Delivery bikers call it a day in January 2016 with roads uncleared. Video: Phil O’Brien.

We asked our readers and local eatery owners, and there was a clear message back. Order in, but TIP BIG!

“If the restaurant is open, then absolutely continue to order from them,” advised Erol Zeren from Kahve Coffee on W51st Street. “Tip as much as you can to the delivery guy.”

“Be gracious and kind! Try to tip in cash and like 25-30%,” echoed comedian Vicky Kuperman.

Kiara Clark at Hold Fast called the delivery workers #TheRealSnowAngels. “First of all, thank you to all the delivery workers out there. You are awesome! Second of all, Tipping is a must and should be a percentage higher than what you would normally tip. Inclement weather and delivery of amazing food is a luxury,” she said.

Some readers were going to venture out. “We’re planning to order The Marshal’s pizzas tonight. We’ll tip big but will pick it up ourselves,” said Jeffrey Dyksterhouse. “They need the extra money, and we need a reason to leave the house. Even in a blizzard.”

Jeffrey Dyksterhouse in the snow in 2018 (who knew that mask would come back into fashion in 2020!?)

Hell’s Kitchen Trash Queen Catie Savage had some great advice. “I have a friend who does delivery… from what I’ve heard, the best advice is to order local! Don’t make the delivery guys trek across town for pennies,” she advised. “Tip big and in cash; they are doing their best! And check out the @W42st app for preferred ordering options to help our restaurants maximize their profits during these hard times.”

More queenly guidance came from Paige Turner: “I have been over-tipping delivery guys. My whole world is about tips, and these guys work hard for very little thanks. It doesn’t hurt if he’s cute too! Just the tip!”

Paige Turner getting ready to meet the delivery guy!

“As New Yorkers, if you are not able to go out, we’ll find any reason to get the out to come in,” said George Georgiou. “In situations like this potential blizzard, think about how much you’re not outside, then think about those that have to be. So why not make it a little bit more bearable for them? As someone that’s served extensively in restaurants, an extra couple of bucks is so much more to the service worker than it is for the tipper.”

Remember, throughout the pandemic, the folks who bring your food have been seen as essential workers. “Tip way more than usual. These are essential workers, and they’re putting themselves at risk to deliver our food. And if you’re tipping in cash, put it in an envelope instead of handing it to the delivery person,” said Erik Bottcher, former Chief of Staff to Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

“This whole year has been the perfect context to add some extra tip percentage to delivery-heroes,” said Lisa Laskaridis. “Add lousy weather, and I would always add some more and give it directly to the delivery person in cash if I can. It’s the right thing to do (if you have the means). It feels good to show appreciation, and there’s almost always a smile on the receiving end.”

Food Delivery Rider passes the Galaxy Diner on 9th Avenue in January 2016. Photo: Lynnette Blanche.

“Delivery people are the backbone of small business. This week they are quite literally the lifeline for New York City restaurants, since both indoor and outdoor dining is closed due to the impending storm,” said Holly-Anne Devlin. “If you plan on snuggling up, staying in and ordering out, be sure to call the restaurant directly so they don’t incur charges through third-party distributors, and I suggest that you tip 25% during the storm or no less than $7 per delivery as these men and women are putting their lives in danger — not only from COVID exposure but also to the elements of a challenging New York City snowstorm.”

Rick Rodriguez, who helps organize the 9th Avenue Food Festival each year, praised the workers. “The people who bring you your goods and food are the modern-day gladiators, while the Romans sit protected in the stands,” he proclaimed. “They are the Road Warriors, in Mad Max’s apocalyptic world. They are out literally risking life, limb, and infection amid a global pandemic to bring you something….. that you could go get yourself. When you look at the nameless, faceless army and take a moment to really see them…. If you are a true New Yorker, you will let them know you’re grateful for their service, and prop them with a vast tip.”

Socrates Nanas from Empanada Mama encouraged people to order, saying: “It’s been a Shit Day for 9 Months. Keeping the delivery guys motivated is huge.”

Charlie Marshall from The Marshal agreed with Socrates: “This is what we do for a living. Rain, sleet, snow, or hail… but please do tip your delivery person commensurate with the weather!”

“Don’t be a douchebag when ordering delivery during bad weather, especially when there’s a pandemic afoot! Remember that when using ordering platforms, you don’t know what fees are happening on the other end and how much of that tip actually gets to your delivery person, who is risking his health and life for you to eat some soggy French Fries,” said W42ST food writer, Michael Muñoz. “If possible, tip in person but definitely always overtip. Call directly to the restaurant if you can. You may be surprised – it’s even cheaper if you order take out the old school way, and they benefit from keeping all the transaction money.”

Michael Muñoz in a snowy Times Square.

What do you think? Add your comments below ⬇️

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  1. On a normal day, I tip 20% on my order. On a crappy day when I really don’t want to go outside, I tip my normal 20% on the order, then give extra cash (~$5) to the shivering, wet person who schlepped to my door.

  2. Help support these restaurants before they’re gone! Once they are gone, many of their workers are ineligible for unemployment as well. Keep that in mind when tipping!

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