MAP: Richest Neighborhoods Aren't Best Delivery Tippers, GrubHub Stats Show

By Rosa Goldensohn on June 25, 2014 7:10am 

UPPER EAST SIDE — A tony stretch of the Upper East Side is one of the wealthiest parts of the city — but you wouldn't know it from how residents tip food delivery workers.

Customers in the 10075 zip code — which runs from Fifth Avenue to the East River in the 70s and is one of the 10 richest zip codes in the country, according to Forbes — give food delivery workers just a 14.4 percent tip on average, lower than the tips in dozens of poorer zip codes across the five boroughs, according to data from GrubHub, the online food ordering site.

“They are the ones who are the richest, in the penthouses. They order [but] they don’t tip well,” said Umut Maya, 32, owner of A La Turka Mediterranean restaurant at Second Avenue and East 74th Street. “That’s why they’re rich.”

Brooklynites were the best tippers, offering 15 percent on average, followed by Queens and Staten Island, then Manhattan and the Bronx. Citywide, the average tip was 14.7 percent, but tips were as low as 9.8 percent in Jamaica and as high as 17.5 percent in Trump Place on the Upper West Side.

DNAinfo put together a map of GrubHub's data, showing how each neighborhood tipped from March 2013 to March 2014. (Note that the map does not include parts of the Rockaways, where GrubHub said they had insufficient data.)

In the Upper East Side's 10075, the third-richest zip code in the city, Faustino Hernandez, 48, who delivers for an artisanal pizza place, said tips are worse than they are farther uptown, where he used to deliver.

“In the elevator here, the delivery boys, we see each other and compare,” Hernandez said. “Two dollars, $1.50, $3 on a $50 order."

Maya, of A La Turka, said delivery tips are lower for online orders, compared to phone orders, and delivery workers suffer for it.

"Business is better — we are happy," Maya said. "But [delivery workers] need to be happy too."

GrubHub's online ordering platform does not give a suggested tip, allowing users to set their own.

Leslie Danzis, who lives on East 74th Street, said she usually tips 15 percent and was surprised to hear her neighbors give less.

"They have the money," she said. "They're ordering from expensive places."

Other top-tipping neighborhoods include Woodlawn, Flushing and Sunnyside, with average tips of about 16 percent, data show.

But the well-off 10024 zip code, in the West 80s, tipped at just the citywide average, and zip codes in the West 70s tipped even lower, according to the GrubHub data.

Nancy Burden, an elementary school teacher who lives on the Upper West Side, said she always tips 20 percent for online orders.

“If you don’t tip them, I don’t know how people think they’re going to live,” she said.

Minimum wage for delivery workers is $5.65 per hour.

New York City as a whole is the 13th-best tipping city nationally, GrubHub found, behind St. Louis, Missouri; Kalamazoo, Michigan and the country's top-tipping Boulder, Colorado, which averaged 16.2 percent.

The GrubHub data did not include information from Seamless, its subsidiary, which has a suggested 10 percent tip on its website.

GrubHub was recently investigated by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who found that the company was taking a portion of workers' tips, Schneiderman's office said.

The company takes 15 to 20 percent of each order price, based on agreements with individual restaurants, but GrubHub was also taking a percentage of delivery tips as well, which "may have resulted in violations of New York labor law," Schneiderman found.

In an April 2014 settlement, GrubHub agreed to stop taking the tips by next April.

"GrubHub Inc. is committed to always acting with integrity and conducting business in an ethical and legal manner," the company said in a statement. "We have worked closely with the N.Y. state Attorney General's office to ensure that our policies and practices are in compliance with all applicable New York labor laws."

Here are the best tippers in the city:

1. 10069 - Upper West Side, 60s
2. 10470 - Woodlawn, Van Cortlandt Park
3. 11222 - Greenpoint
4. 11104 - Sunnyside
5. 11218 - Windsor Terrace, Kensington
6. 10312 - Arden Heights, Rossville, Annadale
7. 10307 - Tottenville
8. 11358 - Flushing
9. 11211 - Williamsburg
10. 10014 - West Village
11. 11215 - Park Slope, Gowanus
12. 11232 - Greenwood, Sunset Park
13. 10065 - Upper East Side
14. 11237 - Bushwick
15. 11105 - Astoria, Ditmars, Steinway
16. 10301 - Tompkinsville, New Brighton
17. 11238 - Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights
18. 11209 - Bay Ridge
19. 11201 - Downtown Brooklyn, Navy Yard, DUMBO, Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill
20. 10020 - Midtown, Seventh Avenue in the 50s

Here's how the boroughs ranked:
1. Brooklyn - 15 percent average tip
2. Queens - 14.9 percent average tip
3. Staten Island - 14.7 percent average tip
4. Manhattan - 14.5 percent average tip
5. Bronx - 13.9 percent average tip

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