Expensive Taste: Caviar Fees Explained
Have you ever wished that someone would come to your house and literally put food in your mouth? If Yes, then Caviar is a dream come true.
The scrappy startup launched several years ago, and is now available in dozens of major U.S. cities. The food delivery service employs thousands of couriers who deliver your favorite restaurant meal directly to your door, for a small fee, which is used to help pay their delivery drivers and employees.
So, before place your first Caviar order, let’s review the fees charged for using the service.
- Does Caviar Charge Pickup Fees?
- 3 Types of Caviar Delivery Fees Explained
- How to Tip Caviar Couriers
Does Caviar Charge Pickup Fees?
If you’ve ever ordered a pizza, then you have probably tried to quantify if it’s worth the effort to just pick it up. Since Caviar enables traditional restaurants to offer online ordering, just like a pizza, you have the option of pickup or delivery.
The good news is if you choose pickup, there are no fees for using the service. But just in case you decide not to put on your shoes, walk downstairs, get in your car, drive to the restaurant, pickup the food, get back in your car, drive home, walk back up the stairs, and take off your shoes—here’s the fees for delivery.
3 Types of Caviar Delivery Fees Explained
Each fee varies depending on the restaurant, distance from your address, and your order total. However, depending on the time of day or seasonal demand, the fees can change drastically.
Caviar Order Minimums
Before getting into the specific fees associated with Caviar orders, it is important to understand order minimums.
All that means is that delivery orders from Caviar require a minimum subtotal in order to qualify for delivery. Caviar does not explicitly state anywhere on their website how much that subtotal is and with good reason.
It appears that Caviar actually adjusts the minimum subtotal to control demand. According to their website, “During periods of unusually high demand, we may temporarily increase our minimum subtotal in some areas.”
Since Caviar focuses on more premium restaurant vendors, the average order is around $80, which means their typical customer doesn’t have to worry about order minimums. They do, however, have to worry about the other fees added onto each delivery.
Caviar Restaurant Fee
The restaurant fee is charged by the restaurant and includes things like, bagging, staffing, and local or state fees.
Keep in mind that many of the restaurants available on Caviar are high-end and do not usually offer delivery. As a result they have to hire additional staff to help prepare and pack delivery orders.
Unfortunately, for at-home diners, those costs are then passed onto you in the form of restaurant fees.
Caviar Delivery Fee
Food delivery services like Uber Eats and DoorDash all charge a delivery fee.
Caviar’s fee is based on the distance and delivery time of the specific delivery. This is not the amount paid to Caviar couriers. They receive a flat rate for each delivery, plus any tips (more on that later).
Occasionally, Caviar will waive the delivery fee for special events or to “highlight select restaurant partners.” Alternatively, you can also sometimes get a free Caviar delivery using a promo code.
Caviar Service Fee
Simply put, the Caviar service fee is how the company makes money. Since the cost of the meal goes to the restaurant and the tip goes to the driver, the service fee is the portion of the payment that goes to Caviar to compensate them for getting your meal to you.
The service fee is a flat 18 percent of the total amount of the delivery order, which makes it easy for the customer to know how much to expect their service fee to be. However, Caviar’s service fee is higher than Grubhub or DoorDash.
This fee helps the company stay in business, pay employees, and enables you to eat anything from pad thai to foie gras without leaving your sofa.
Seeing all of the Caviar fees listed out might seem like a lot, but the truth is that these fees have become standard in the food delivery business. While Caviar’s fees might be slightly higher than some of their competitors, they might be the least of your problems if you get a late-night craving for Wagyu beef.
How to Tip Caviar Couriers
There are countless threads on blogs, social media, and forums about whether or not you should leave a tip for food delivery app drivers.
The general consensus from the internet is that a tip is not required, but appreciated. Since many of the couriers on Caviar deliver full-time, it is customary to leave a tip if you feel that they did a good job.
Caviar Fees vs Tips
In case it wasn’t already clear—Caviar delivery drivers DO NOT receive a percentage of your delivery fee as payment. Instead, the company gives them a flat fee based on the distance of the delivery.
When you pay for Caviar delivery, you are not tipping the courier, you are paying for the delivery. Should you choose to leave a tip for the driver before or after delivery for a job well done, it’s exactly that…a tip.
In the United States, the average tip is 10-20 percent of the total bill for food and beverages. In the U.K. it’s not customary to tip your delivery guys or girls.
The Caviar app, however, only allows diners to tip $0-$5 ($0-$3 on Android). And it must be within two hours of the initial delivery, or else you’ll be contacting customer support to share your gratuity.
Drivers, on the other hand, should get used to relying on their hourly wage solely, rather than depending on tips as income. Caviar doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to passing gratuities onto their drivers.
But since Caviar is backed by payment processing company Square, drivers can receive payment immediately after making a delivery through the Square Cash app.
Pricier Fees for Pricier Food
Caviar bases their pricing and fees off of their audience. Since the Caviar app works primarily with expensive restaurants, their fees reflect the expectations and incomes of a more affluent audience. In the end, it’s less important how much they charge their customers and more important how much they pay their drivers.
Even though they charge slightly higher service fees (18 percent), their overall fee structure is consistent with their competitors. If you’re already a driver or considering becoming a Caviar courier, more expensive fees are actually a good sign.
It means higher average order prices and more reliable deliveries. There’s also less of a chance that diners would just disappear after placing an order. It also means you’re working with a premium food delivery service.