On DoorDash, the biggest tips typically come from the largest orders—with subtotals north of $100.
Sure, a generous person might lay down $50 on a $15 McDonald’s order once in your delivery career, but the best way to consistently get big tips is to do big orders.
That’s where the ‘large order’ program on DoorDash comes in. It’s an invite-only program that gives you access to large orders and catering orders.
Big payouts come from the large order program:
“My biggest tip ever came from a catering order”
“I make a majority of my money off catering orders”
So how do you get access to large orders? Read on to learn how the program works and how you can take advantage of the biggest orders on DoorDash.
- Joining the large order program unlocks catering orders with the potential for big tips
- You have to wait to be invited—and there is no way to trigger the invite
- To qualify, you need to meet rating qualifications and buy a catering bag
- In markets with Dasher Rewards, reach Platinum level to unlock catering orders
- What is the large order program on DoorDash?
- Requirements to join
- How to get invited to the program
- How pay works for large orders
- Can restaurants ‘steal’ tips on catering orders?
- Strategies for catering orders
- Dashers react to the large order program
The large order program on DoorDash: Unlock larger orders
The large order program is an invite-only program that unlocks access to certain high-value orders in your area.
The program is invite only. DoorDash sends invitations to drivers who meet the eligibility requirements when the local market needs more drivers.
After joining the program, you will be eligible to receive larger orders (over $100) and catering orders arranged via restaurants and other third-party food services.
Large orders or catering orders will be labeled “Catering bag required.”
Requirements to join the large order program
The large order program is an invite-only program for Dashers who meet the following criteria:
- 200+ lifetime deliveries
- 100+ deliveries in the past month
- 4.7+ average star rating in the past month
- 95%+ completion rate in the past month
You will not be automatically invited to the program when you meet the qualifications. You have to wait for DoorDash to invite you. More on invitations below.
You must continue to meet the requirements even after you become eligible. So if your ratings slip, you can lose access to the program.
Steps to join the large order program
- Get the email invite and follow steps to accept the invite
- Get a qualifying catering bag
- Get confirmation from DoorDash & begin receiving catering orders
The catering bag requirement: Purchase a bag from DoorDash or use your own
DoorDash requires a qualifying large order bag before you can begin receiving catering orders.
There are two ways to get a qualifying bag: Buy one from DoorDash, or use your own.
Purchase a bag from DoorDash — DoorDash includes a promo code to buy a discounted branded catering bag in the invitation email.
The DoorDashbag costs around $10 with the promo code, marked down from $40. Here’s a video showing the bag.
A significant benefit of buying the DoorDash bag is that DoorDash auto-enrolls you in the program when you purchase a catering bag with the promo code from the invitation.
Non-DoorDash catering bags cost at least $20–$30, and you will have to send in photos and wait for approval. The DoorDash bag is the cheapest and fastest option if you don’t already have a bag.
Purchase your own catering bag — You can use any catering bag that meets the DoorDash qualifications. This is a good option if you already have a bag.
The bag must be insulated and measure at least 22″ x 14″ x 13″
To get your bag approved, send photos to DoorDash using the submission form linked in the invitation email.
How to get invited to the large order program
The large order program is invite-only, and you can’t ask to join. You must wait for an invitation from DoorDash.
The only way to get an invite is to meet the qualifications, then wait. Unfortunately, there aren’t any tricks, hacks, or secrets to getting an invitation (that we know of! Readers, chime in).
DoorDash says invites go out to “areas where additional Dashers are needed to fulfill large orders. Not every market is in need of more Dashers to do Large Order deliveries. An invitation to sign up will be extended once more Dashers are needed.”
Some Dashers get lucky and receive an invite as soon as they meet the qualifications, but others never get it. Or the invite takes years.
“It took me over 3 years before I was invited”
How much do large orders pay?
The payout formula for large orders is the same as other orders: Base pay + promotions + tips.
Some orders also include additional ‘setup pay‘ that offers an extra $2–$3 if you help lay out the food.
The benefit of taking large orders is the potential for bigger tips. DoorDash says “Orders in this program have the potential to pay 2x – 3x as much as a regular order.”
Catering orders tend to be large, more than $100. Most customers tip based on a percentage of the order total, so even a 10% or 15% tip can result in a big payout on a $200+ order.
For many Dashers, their best-paying orders have been catering orders. Total payouts less than $20 are uncommon, and many are even higher.
Catering order payout examples
This Dasher landed $84 from a Chipotle catering order. Score.
Below: A $29 catering order that took 51 minutes. Definitely worth it for most Dashers.
Another outstanding larger order: A $51 tip on $8 base pay!
But not every large order is amazing. The order below barely cracks $1 per mile—typically a decent payout—but it will likely have a much longer wait time than a typical order.
Here’s another catering order that most would decline. It pays less than $1 per mile, and there is setup required.
What Reddit Dashers said about payouts for catering orders:
“Most large orders are $20+”
“Each order is usually between $20–50”
“I think only once or twice I’ve gotten less than $20 tip. Usually it’s around $40 tip”
“Most I’ve gotten was $125”
Can restaurants withhold or ‘steal’ tips on catering orders?
Some Dashers have noticed issues with tips on catering orders. The customer might mention a tip that never shows up, or the order paperwork shows a a tip that never gets passed onto the Dasher.
And after investigating, some Dashers found that the original receipt had a large tip that was never passed onto the Dasher.
What’s going on? Where are the missing tips going?
The issue is that many catering orders are placed directly with a restaurant or catering service, then the delivery is farmed out to DoorDash.
When an order is placed outside of DoorDash, it is up to the restaurant or catering merchant to correctly pass the tip info off to DoorDash. The tip won’t be sent to the Dasher if the restaurant incorrectly enters the info.
When asked about missing tips for catering orders, a DoorDash rep said, “We cannot see here in our system if there’s a customer tip. It depends on the store if they will provide the tip or not.”
It may be possible to recover a missing catering tip, as this one Dasher proves. They had to coordinate between the customer, DoorDash, the restaurant, and a catering company to eventually get their tip.
Strategies for catering orders
Like any other DoorDash order, you have to evaluate the basics: The restaurant, total mileage, total estimated time, and the estimated payout.
Learn how to evaluate potential tips
Large orders may have hidden tips, similar to hidden tips on other orders. The total tip amount may be excluded from the estimated payout after reaching the market’s maximum estimated payout.
For example, in some areas, DoorDash will not display any estimated payout higher than $8, but the order screen will say “total may be higher.”
So if a catering order is for less than $8, you’ll know that all of the tip is included in the estimate, and the total will not be higher. That’s a skip.
If the order is for $8, there will likely be a hidden tip. That one may be worth your time. At that point, evaluate the offer based on other factors like estimated mileage & time.
You may have to do a few larger orders before you figure out exactly how your market works. After a while, you’ll start to know which orders show the actual pay and which ones have a hidden tip.
It’s risky to skip regular orders to target catering orders
After getting a big catering order, you might decline regular orders and focus only on lucrative catering orders. That’s not always a good idea.
Catering order volume is unpredictable. You might waste hours waiting for a catering order when you could have been earning from other orders.
Learn which restaurants to avoid
You might find that tips are reliably bad from certain restaurants or that they take far too long to prepare the order. Avoid bad restaurants!
You may burn some time on bad orders, but once you find the right pattern for your area, you’ll know the right ones to take.
What Dashers say about catering orders
Dashers mostly have positive things to say about joining the large order program. The main criticism is that wait times are higher and large tips aren’t always guaranteed.
“Catering is hit or miss. Some restaurants keep the drivers tip on these orders”
“I’ve gotten multiple tips over 100$. Take it immediately, it’s 100% worth it”
“Catering is a million percent worth it.”
“My biggest tip ever came from a catering order, $93.00 for a 4 mile run from Chick Fil A”
“If you got the email invite, take it. There is nothing to loose.”
“You do get some really cheap people from time to time, but catering is definitely worth it”
Is it worth it to join the large order program?
Nearly all Dashers agree that it’s worth joining the large order program. By joining, you unlock the potential to get some of the largest orders with the biggest tips.
And there’s almost no downside to joining: You get new order opportunities without losing access to anything else.
If you don’t want to do an order, just decline it—there is no acceptance rate requirement to stay eligible.
The only direct cost involved is the catering bag, which is only around $10 if you purchase the DoorDash bag. Just one or two catering orders will pay for the bag.
You might occasionally get stiffed on a tip, but most catering customers tip generously. The good outweighs the bad.
So if you get the invite to the large order program, take it!