Wondering if driving for Caviar is worth it? In this Caviar delivery review, we cover what it’s like to be a Caviar driver, typical Caviar earnings, and what the sign up and driving process is like.
Note: When you sign up for Caviar, you’ll go to a DoorDash page because they’re the same company now. Through DoorDash, you can deliver for either Caviar or DoorDash.
Caviar Driver Review
We’ve talked a lot on the blog about the importance of diversifying your income with other rideshare services. But over the past year, a lot of that focus has shifted to delivery companies.
Delivery is a great option for drivers because it is a different experience and a different industry than rideshare. While Caviar is owned and operated by DoorDash now, it’s still a great, under the radar delivery options for couriers.
Caviar delivery review:
- Very different from other delivery companies – typically higher-end restaurants
- Since its acquisition by DoorDash, it’s now in over 4,000 cities and towns across all 50 US states
What is Caviar?
Caviar is a delivery app operating in thousands of markets and curates the top restaurants in a local area for delivery. It is similar to other platforms in that customers can order food on-demand from restaurants within their city.
Caviar delivery tends to focus on higher end restaurants that they can develop a seamless partnership with, which allows them to fulfill orders faster.
Caviar started as an on-demand delivery startup and was acquired by Square in 2014. Once Square IPO’d, Caviar by default became one of the few on-demand apps that operates within the scrutiny of a publicly-traded company. Square later acquired FastBite and added its operations as a feature of Caviar. In many ways, Caviar is Square’s play with restaurants to provide end-to-end services for payment processing, invoicing, inventory, and food delivery. Think payment-to-plate.
In 2019, Square sold Caviar to DoorDash.
On the driver’s side, couriers can deliver using their personal vehicles, motorcycles, scooters, or bikes. Caviar has some unique features that make it stand out against the rest of the crowd in the delivery and rideshare space. All of these differences are geared to make their platform better for couriers and customers.
Caviar Driver Pay
Since Caviar typically services higher-end restaurants, Caviar delivery drivers can expect more expensive orders. This means drivers will typically earn more per request and more in tips.
Since its acquisition by DoorDash, Caviar driver pay is calculated at the same rate as DoorDash driver pay:
I did a full breakdown answering the question ‘how much do Caviar drivers make‘.
Caviar Sign-up Bonus
Right now, Caviar is offering referral bonuses for new drivers, although the bonuses do depend on where you live. Make sure to sign up with a referral code to get your bonus!
Caviar Delivery Signup Process: Caviar Driver and Car Requirements
Signing up to deliver with Caviar is very similar to the DoorDash sign up process. To be a Caviar driver, you’ll need:
- 18 or older
- Any car, scooter, or bicycle (in select cities)
- Driver’s license number (only if you’re using a car to drive with DoorDash)
- Social security number (only in the United States)
- Final Step: consent to a background check
- You’ll need a smartphone for this job!
Caviar/DoorDash does require a background check on all delivery drivers. It is conducted by Checkr, similar to Uber and Lyft.
Is Driving for Caviar Worth It?
Below, I’ll review what it’s like to be a Caviar delivery driver and whether or not driving for Caviar is worth it.
Note: Since being acquired by DoorDash, your Caviar delivery screens will look different from the ones below. You can expect to see DoorDash’s branding and logo when using Caviar now.
First, what it’s like accepting and delivering food:
I received my first order in Palo Alto.
I clicked on the order notification and received instructions to go to Sancho’s Taqueria. The app showed the restaurant address, the neighborhood of the delivery, and a highly simplified map of the distance between the two. It also showed me my expected earnings ($7.50), which included my base pay ($5.67), peak pay extra ($0.34), and (not shown) an expected/already submitted tip of $1.49. I LOVE the transparent breakdown of my earnings.
Immediately I found the phrasing of ‘expected earnings’ questionable. Am I going to make $7.50 or not? If it’s base pay + tips later, ok. If you already know the customer tipped, tell me!
At the bottom, I held the blue stripe for about two seconds to confirm the order.
Upon creating the directions via a hyperlink to Google Maps, I drove the short distance to the restaurant.
Here’s one way that the Caviar process differs from the others. I don’t go in there and say, “Hi, I have an order for ‘X’”, I actually call out the number, “I’m with Caviar for #46481”. Is it better? Is it worse? Neither. Just unique.
Upon pickup I received a notification about delivery instructions.
I Google mapped to the locations and arrived at 777 Hamilton Avenue. But…where’s 777? I saw 775 on the corner, but no 777. I called the customer, “Hey, I’m outside 775. Is this a duplex?”
“What? I’m at a big apartment complex. I’m in the nearest building and I’ll come down when you arrive.”
“I’m on a residential street with single-family homes.”
“Are you at the 777 Hamilton Apartments?”
“I’m at….oh, I’m at 777 Hamilton Ave.”
“I’m at these new apartments and I’m not from around here, so I can’t really tell you where I am.”
GAH! The app link to the address didn’t match the ACTUAL address. This happens from time to time on DoorDash, though usually with restaurants. Bummer that it happened on my very first Caviar order. I eventually figured it out and drove an additional 10 minutes to the correct address. The remainder of the dropoff finished without a hitch.
Ten minutes later, I received my second order.
This order also highlighted my expected earnings ($9.55), which would include base pay ($7.13) plus Peak Pay ($0.49) and a tip. I completed this second order and received this notification
After a couple of hours of light volume, I finished up with a rather large order from Teaspoon. Again, the upside with expected earnings was a lucrative $15.47, although only $9.40 was guaranteed.
Once completed, I signed out.
Driving for Caviar in San Francisco
When we drove for Caviar in San Francisco, we earned up to $25/hour – excluding tips. The schedule was very easy to set and Caviar is highly transparent with earnings, pick up and drop off locations before you accept each assignment.
You can read more here about our experience delivering for Caviar in San Francisco.
How Much Money Did I Make with Caviar?
The next morning, I reviewed my earnings.
Ah! Exactly what I was concerned about. The Expected Earnings teased upon order acceptance weren’t always realized.
Here’s the problem. While there might be a precedent for customer tip amounts, it’s not guaranteed and I don’t appreciate Caviar overselling my earning potential! Furthermore, looking at this from the corporate perspective, isn’t it risky to list each individual’s tip amount?
If a driver knows they got stiffed on a seven-drink, 17-minutes away order the previous night, what happens if the same customer orders again tomorrow? Isn’t there at least a small chance a driver would make a snide comment, or worse, upon a future delivery? I wonder about these things.
First day earnings:
4.1 hours on the clock
2.5 hours on delivery
$58.16 total earned
Yikes. Not a great first day. But as I kept delivering and working at different times, my earnings did go up and I found myself consistently earning at least $20/hour.
In-App Dispatch Team
I only needed to contact Caviar’s support one time while doing my deliveries. If you click on the message icon in the bottom left of the app, you can send a message for support while on a delivery via SMS. When I contacted their support, it took less than a minute to get a response from a live person.
I’ll Definitely Be Doing More Deliveries for Caviar
From the orders I did, they paid out more than what I would have made given time and distance as an Uber or Lyft driver. It is a different game, though, and there will be a learning curve at first just like with any job. I found that a lot of the experience depends on analyzing your jobs’ locations before accepting them and making a decision based on the details. You don’t get paid extra for taking longer, so the faster you can get the job done, the better for everyone.
Ops were seamless and smooth and there were literally no problems with restaurants/customers. Text messages to Caviar delivery support were answered in under a minute.
The entire experience was mostly stress-free, with the exception of traffic and parking in tight areas. Even these were less stressful because wherever I parked my car, it was only there for a few moments due to the fast restaurant fulfillment.
I also enjoyed driving around without passengers looking over my shoulder or forcing a conversation while I blasted my radio as loud as I wanted. I kind of felt like I got my car back.
Considering the pay and ease of experience, I am going to do some more runs, except this time on a scooter or motorcycle since the operations costs will be MUCH lower than Uber or Lyft and I will get more money.
Readers, what do you think of Caviar and would you drive for them?