Pizza Delivery: If You Can’t Tip Your Driver $5, Then Don’t Order

Papa Johns, Dominos, Pizza Hut

Every night, Papa John’s, Dominoes, and Pizza Hut vehicles are driving back-and-forth delivering to homes across my city… and every city and town across America. This doesn’t even include all the DoorDash and Uber Eats drivers out there. But let’s just focus just on the pizza delivery people.

These delivery drivers you see on the roads are anywhere from 22 to 82 years old (yep… have a friend who is 82 delivering for Dominoes). Who knows the reasons they are in the car at that moment:

  • It’s their first job.
  • They lost their job and they are hustling for money, rather than laying back expecting a government handout.
  • A 2nd job because their full-time job doesn’t meet their needs.
  • An extra job so they can pay their child’s tuition, payoff debt, or some other need.
  • Their social security check doesn’t cover their retirement.
  • It is their primary source of income.

Who knows… but here is the main point of this blog post:

** If you are having your pizza delivered, and you don’t tip your driver AT LEAST $5.00, then don’t order pizza delivery. **

Period.

If you must have pizza, then go pick it up yourself instead of expecting a driver to deliver your food without tipping.

Or

Maybe order less food so you can afford to tip your driver at least $5.00.

But What About The Delivery Fee?

Spicoli Pizza Delivery
Fast Times at Ridgemont High – Spicoli ordering pizza delivery during class

What is a delivery fee? A pizza delivery fee is a fee that is added to your bill for having the pizza delivered to you, rather than picking it up yourself.

Here are delivery fees from some popular pizza restaurants (as of August 2022):

  • Papa Johns – $4.99
  • Dominoes – $4.49
  • Pizza Hut – $4.99

A delivery fee is not a tip.

In fact, most drivers get little or no part of that delivery fee. A driver may get some mileage reimbursement (approx $.30-.40 per mile), but the delivery fee is not a tip.

Is the delivery fee a “bogus charge” as some people think?

No, not really. About 10-20% of that fee goes to the driver for mileage. Most of that fee goes back to the company to pay for liability insurance to cover their drivers, legal fees, the technology to track your order, the apps, the website, “convenience,” etc.

It’s not a bogus charge, although it is an over-inflated charge for sure. Far more should be going to the driver for the wear and tear on their vehicle, oil changes, their auto insurance, fuel, tires, etc.

Maybe you just didn’t know… you thought that delivery fee was the tip that went to the driver. That’s understandable. The pizza websites don’t really explain this mysterious charge.

So know your know 🙂

So Why Tip Your Pizza Delivery Person?

So why tip? Because it is 100% the right thing to do. Here is the reality:

A delivery driver only makes about $8-9/hour (current as of August 2022) as long as they remain in the store. As soon as they leave the store to deliver your pizza, their hourly rate DROPS to about $5/hour because they are now considered a “waiter or waitress.” They actually lose money to deliver your pizza!

It’s all done on computers. As soon as the driver taps the screen to deliver your pizza, the computer adjusts his/her hourly rate down to $5/hour. As soon as they return from the delivery and tap the screen to complete the delivery, the computer adjusts his/her hourly rate back up to $8.50/hour.

If you live 2 miles from the store, they will make about $1 in mileage reimbursement (paid out of your “delivery fee”). So, if you do not tip, the driver loses money as their hourly rate drops, and they only get a buck back for gas money.

To NOT tip is:

  • Arrogant
  • Entitled
  • Greedy
  • Selfish
  • Condescending
  • Rude
  • Disrespectful
  • A slap in the face
Pizza Delivery Tip Tip Your Pizza Delivery Person

Don’t be that person who gave no tip. Tip your driver at least $5 or 10%, whichever is greater. 20% is better.

You would never go to a restaurant, say Texas Roadhouse, and not tip your waiter/waitress 15-20%… and they didn’t even use their own car to bring the food to your table.

To tip your pizza delivery driver is:

  • kind
  • courteous
  • a great gesture to a person who is trying to make ends meet
  • generous
  • selfless
  • showing gratitude

The reality is, most people do not know this. They think the delivery fee goes to the driver. That is understandable with these pizza companies’ websites being so vague on the fee.

My Final Thoughts

If you are not going to tip the driver… fine. Just go pick the pizza up yourself. Don’t expect your driver to deliver it for free… or actually less because they took a pay cut to bring your pizza.

I’m amazed at the real stories of delivery drivers pulling up to $400,000-$800,000 homes, a Lexus and a Land Rover in the driveway, and then zero tip is given. Tight-fisted and looking down their nose at the driver.

In contrast, an hour later that same driver pulls up to a house or apartment that is a fraction of the price, an older model Chevy in the drive, and a older man answers the door, likely on Social Security, and hands the driver a $10 bill and says “Thank you” with a gracious grin.

This is not a statement against the wealthy by any means… some very gracious people are wealthy and offer sizeable tips. But remember who it is who is bringing your dinner. Tip your driver or go pick it up yourself.

Finally, there are 2 exceptions to tipping. These two groups of people do not need to tip a dime:

  1. The elderly. Many cannot get out of their homes due to age and health issues. We must as a culture support our aging community.
  2. Single moms. These women are doing all they can do to make ends meet, and they are just looking for an easy meal at the end of long day.

These two exceptions don’t need to tip.

Enjoy Your Pizza

Enjoy your pizza… and be kind to your drivers.

Papa John's Pizza
(btw, my favorites from the big 3 in order: Papa John’s, Dominos, then Pizza Hut (PH is a way distant 3rd… it’s gotten pretty nasty these days)

Just Remember:

  • Who it is who is delivering. Read the list at the top of this post again. They are using their own vehicle to bring your dinner
  • If you cannot afford the tip… fine. Save yourself the delivery fee and tip and jump in the car and go pick it up yourself.
  • A delivery fee is not a tip.
  • Tip at least $5.00 or 10-20%, whichever is greater
  • Thank your driver

It’s more than your dinner that I am talking about. Here is the heart of the matter:  Craig Groeschel has stated as a hallmark for Life Church, we are to be “Irrationally Generous.”

Be that person.

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