With the days shorter and nights colder, many hungry New Yorkers find themselves increasingly ordering food in. That means more bicycle delivery workers are racing through the city streets, steam rising from the plastic bags hanging off their handlebars.
But those pedaling through bad weather delivering food to the doorstep of a fifth-floor walk-up on the Upper West Side or a loft in Tribeca — where rent prices remain some of the highest in the city — will be met with measly tips. The median tip on a Seamless order is less than 15 percent for both the Upper West Side and Tribeca. And it turns out Manhattanites are among the biggest tightwads across the five boroughs, according to a study released today from StreetEasy and Seamless.
For the first time, Seamless merged its food delivery data with StreetEasy’s numbers on neighborhood rents to see what New Yorkers’ choice of abode says about their tipping habits. The study finds that those burdened with the highest amount of rent tend to tip the least. In a well-off neighborhood like Upper Carnegie Hill, for example, the typical gratuity averaged out to just 12.3 percent — the lowest of all New York City neighborhoods. Compare that to the hungry denizens of Brooklyn, who pay comparatively less rent and offer 15 percent or more on average in tips — the highest across the city.
“We compared 2014 rent for each neighborhood with the median tipping percentage for all online delivery orders in that neighborhood,” says Alan Lightfeldt, StreetEasy’s data scientist. “While Manhattanites may pay more for rent and for food orders, they don’t necessarily tip better.”
Out of the top twenty neighborhoods that tip the least, seventeen are in Manhattan.The data goes on to show Queens joining Brooklyn as another top-tipping borough, with Astoria, Long Island City, and Ridgewood making the list of the most generous tips, at an average of 14.5 percent.
“We do want our diners to keep in mind that tip dollar amounts vary based on the total order amount,” says Kaitlyn Carl, spokeswoman for Seamless. In terms of percent-based gratuity, she explains, leaving a 12 percent tip on a $20 order is vastly different from 12 percent on a $50 order.
Another fact to keep in mind: Minimum wage for delivery workers is $5.65 per hour. Take that into consideration before you leave a tight-fisted tip, Manhattan.
Check out Seamless’s map of each neighborhood’s median tip percentage, asking rent, and rent-to-income ratio below: