Is it legal for restaurants to not pay their courier the tips we pay them? I used SkipTheDishes and paid 15% in tip and the driver told me that the tip is given to the restaurant and not to him, which I didn't believe at all, but then the app said that the restaurant is managing its own delivery, so I wondered if there was a legal loophole that allow restaurants to not give the tip you intended to give the courier and fill their own pockets? Can SkipTheDishes or the restaurants doing this be sued?
We need to know your jurisdiction, as special local laws may apply. The general answer for the United States follows.
It's routine for restaurants to pool tips for on-site employees, so that the waiters share with busboys and other less-visible personnel. Until recently, Federal law allowed the owner to be able to keep for himself tips that brought the waiter's salary over the standard minimum wage. (The Federal minimum wage for tipped employees is much lower, $2.13/hour.) Some states prohibited this, and it's no longer permitted. So the driver's tip might be shared with other workers, but not with the owners.
Perhaps tip delivery drivers in cash?
Tipping in Australia is purely voluntary and is given for exceptional service - not adequate service. The minimum wage in Australia is currently $18.93/hr (June 2019), however, restaurant workers with any experience earn more than this.
Tipping is not directly dealt with in employment law anywhere in Australia so how tips are dealt with is purely a matter between the business and its employees - the customer has nothing to do with it. Of course, the customer can ask and modify their tipping behaviour in response to the answer.
At common law, an employee is an agent of their employer and is responsible for accounting for all earnings to their employer. Various establishments have differing arrangements, some may pool all tips and divide them among all employees or just front of house employees, some may allow each employee to keep their own tips and some businesses may keep them for themselves. As far as the Australian Tax Office (ATO) is concerned, tips are assessable income (i.e. taxed) in the hands of whoever gets them.