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To Tip or Not to Tip: Opinion of a Pizza Delivery Driver

  • March 22, 2021

I am really not sure when it began, but I first remember a tip jar out on a counter on my first trip to Starbucks. Okay, yes, they make really expensive gourmet coffees and their employees have the fancy title of “Baristas.” Growing up I was taught to tip waitress and waitresses, the person who cuts your hair, and the pizza delivery person. All of a sudden tip jars have popped up everywhere: coffee shops, ice cream shops, and one at Waffle House for the cooks.

With so many people asking for tips, it is easy to loose sight of how much to tip. Over the Christmas holidays, I took a job delivering pizzas to make some extra money. It is amazing how poorly tipped pizza drivers are.

Here are a couple of things I doubt you know. First, pizza delivery drivers do not make minimum wage. They are not as poorly paid as servers at restaurants, but the pizza company definitely creates the impression that it is up to the customer to pay the drivers salary. Second, pizza delivery drivers do not receive actual mileage. They receive a small per trip payment. It is not nearly enough to cover the gas. One major pizza chain I interviewed with paid $4 an hour and .50 a trip. Third, the delivery charge that most pizza chains are charging does not go to the drivers.

So what do delivery drivers view as a fair tip? Remember unlike restaurant servers, we are using our personal vehicles, paying for our own gas, tires, engine, and repairs. Also, we can’t serve as many customers per hour as a waitress can.logistics logistics companies in the Philippines

Do we really expect an 18 to 20% tip on each order? Or is it more flexible than that? If I take 2 pizzas to a house close to our store, I think a $3 is more than reasonable. Considering that two large specialty pizzas can run well over $30 without any specials, this is less than 10%. However, if the delivery is at the outer reaches of our delivery area than I’d expect a minimum $5 tip. What you have to understand is that if I drive 30 minutes round trip, I have used a gallon of gas.

Of course, most pizza restaurants deliver more than pizzas. If I have to get drinks, salads, or subs, I expect a larger tip. Not only is the bill more expensive, but also I have assembled your order from coolers and other locations in the store. I think $1 per item tip over two pizzas is more than reasonable. Given the fact that a sub sandwich or chicken wings can run almost $10, the percentage is still around the 10% range.

Now on to the bane of my existence, delivering large orders. Here’s the thing; a large pizza has 10 ounces of cheese on it. That is just the cheese. Depending on the toppings, a large pizza can weigh one and a half pounds. If I am delivering 30 pizzas to the church or a birthday party, I have to load a minimum of 45 pounds of food into my car and back out of my car once I get there. This is demanding physical labor. No, I do not expect a 20% tip (remember at a restaurant, they would tack on an 18% service charge for a party over 8 people) however, $15 to $20 is not unreasonable, especially considering large orders tend to get deep discounts on their food.

This is my opinion as a delivery driver, you are of course free to tip as you please, but remember drivers know who tips well and who does not. If you find your pizzas arriving later and later, you may want to reconsider how much you are tipping or going to pick it up in the store.