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Pizza delivery charge

I've been wanting to discuss this for a while, and really hope some current or former pizza shop owners, workers and drivers can respond.

An increasing number of delivery pizza places seem to be charging a modest "delivery fee." I really don't understand this fee. The drivers (i've known a few for different companies) are using their own cars and pay for their own gas, at least at the couple of places I know of. They're not company cars or something so we do we have to subsidize them as customers?

I admit when it started, I was sorely tempted to stop tipping or tip lower, but I quickly ascertained that the driver doesn't get the fee and just began complaining to the owners of the fee. But most of these are chain places and they don't decide whether or not there is a fee, they've said they have no control over it.

I've pretty much quit getting delivery because of the fee. I don't understand levvying it and it makes me irritated to pay it, so I just pick it up now.

Can someone explain why this fee exists if it's not going to the drivers?

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  1. that should read, "so WHY do we have to subsidize them?"

    1. It does not sound fair to me.
      Then again, the drivers are getting some kind of salary. The store is responsible for them (insurance). There are other overhead costs outside of gas and auto.

      20 Replies
      1. re: Motosport

        I dunno. IS the store really responsible for them? I imagine most people are just required to have insurance on their own vehicles themselves, I really doubt the pizza shop is paying for it.

        1. re: rockandroller1

          Yes, the store shares responsibility. In a case where the delivery person causes great harm to a person a smart attorney will sue the driver, store, parent company and anyone remotely involved in the process of bringing the pizza from the store to the buyer.

          1. re: Motosport

            that would be why Domino's doesn't have a 30-minute guarantee...too much expense on lawsuits caused by drivers zooming around to make the time limit.

          2. re: Motosport

            My son delivers sub sandwiches for a large chain and his employer does NOT provide any sort of vehicle insurance.

            I think this "delivery fee" is annoying as well. Its simply a way for the company to raise their prices without actually doing so.

            1. re: carolinadawg

              I was not referring to "Vehicle insurance". The actual business has liability insurance to cover it's employees, contractors, product, facility etc..

              1. re: Motosport

                But only auto (liability mostly) insurance would apply in the event of an accident occuring during delivery (while operating the vehicle).

                1. re: Dax

                  Yes, liability is the issue and it's a BIG issue. When the driver hits a teenager on a bicycle and they never walk again the cost will run into the millions.
                  Hopefully the pizza shop owner (and parent company if it's a franchise) have adequate insurance to cover this claim.

                  1. re: Motosport

                    wonder if such a horrible accident occurred and the delivery person was horribly injured.
                    would s/he be covered by workers comp?

                    1. re: westsidegal

                      I.M.H.O. as an insurance guru, yes!

                      1. re: westsidegal

                        Yes. Drivers injured or robbed on the clock receive workmanship comp.

                        1. re: westsidegal

                          As a former professional driver I can undoubtedly answer "yes". The driver is covered by worker's comp and any victims in an accident involving the company driver is covered by company liability insurance, UNLESS the driver is considered "an independent contractor".

                          1. re: PotatoHouse

                            The driver can not be considered an independent contractor based on the legal definition. The driver works for one pizza place only, That place controls the drivers schedule and pay. He is an employee.

                              1. re: hotoynoodle

                                There is no such thing as an 1099 employee. Employees get W-2s. Contractors get 1099s. If the restaurant sets hours and takes orders and assigns the deliveries to the driver....you will take this order to that address at such a time....the driver is Not an independent contractor.

                                Only a driver who tells the restaurant what hours he is willing to work and accepts or declines deliveries st will might meet the test to be an independent contractor.

                                Those classes in laborious and taxes in law school were not a waste of time.

                                1. re: bagelman01

                                  Actually ... it kind of depends. I had a very steady job and was told when and where to work (at the office every day, 9-5:30) and yet was considered self-employed by the people who employed me and the government. Kind of depends on how the place is set up.

                              2. re: mucho gordo

                                the problem is when it comes to pizza. we use our own car. our own auto insurance. our own gas money. and we do our own maintenance. and despite the fact that they should not all smaller pizza shops have insurance on the company past basic workers comp

                    2. re: carolinadawg

                      Hi carolinadawg, I know this is late and perhaps your son no longer uses his vehicle to make deliveries, but if he does, he should check with his insurance agent. Personal insurance policies often do not provide coverage if you are using your vehicle to make deliveries for pay . . . it's considered an excluded business use (“livery” - carrying goods or people for a fee). I'm sure that a quick phone call to his insurance agent would clarify that he does (or does not) have coverage when delivering sandwiches.

                      1. re: MrsPatmore

                        I've been an insurance agent for ages and I know that using a "personal" auto for any type of delivery service is specifically excluded.
                        In reality a minor incident may be covered but when the $$$$$ start stacking up the insurance company gets out the microscope and will deny the claim and say the insured perpetrated a fraud. The attorneys for the injured party will also try to collect from the franchise and will probably succeed.

                  2. I delivered pizzas as a side job for a summer a few years ago. My sister managed the restaurant (just a small local pizza and sub shop, not part of a chain). If I wasn't trying to help her out, I'd have quit after a week or two. The delivery fee didnt go to me and people were incredibly cheap. They may have assumed the delivery fee went to me. The other problem was that parents would give their kids cash to order dinner and they'd get as much as they could and wouldn't think to save a few bucks for a tip. Sheesh. I worked solely for tips.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Hobbert

                      I mean, one would assume DELIVERY fee goes to the DELIVERY person. It's a logical assumption. But it's not going to them, which I think is ridic, so why are we paying it?

                      1. re: rockandroller1

                        Oh I agree. I didn't ask her before I started so I shouldn't have assumed but it was still annoying.

                        1. re: rockandroller1

                          i see no logical reason to assume that the delivery fee goes to the delivery person.

                          on the other hand, i would assume that the TIP would go to the delivery person.

                      2. I'd say it was to cover the cost of the boxes and napkins and whatnot, BUT of course there's no such thing as a "take-out" fee so that's out the window.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: Violatp

                          Yes, but you get those when you pick it up, too, but no charge.

                          1. re: rockandroller1

                            Exactly. I'm as confounded by it as anyone.

                          2. re: Violatp

                            Where I live most places actually do charge a "to go" fee to cover those. Usually between 50cents and $1 per item.

                            1. re: RichardBreadcrumb

                              Interesting. I don't think I've seen that in any city where I've lived.

                              1. re: Violatp

                                Waffle House has a standard To-Go fee.

                                1. re: PotatoHouse

                                  I detest the delivery fee and do take-out to avoid it, for the same reason. No one can tell me what it goes to.

                                  These delivery fees and take-out fees are telling me that these businesses want me to dine in, otherwise they don't value my business. I'm inclined to find other options, whenever possible.

                              2. re: RichardBreadcrumb

                                Huh. Where I live, many places charge less for delivery items than takeout. The best example is Chinese spots. They normally charge $0.50 - $1.00 less per item on pickup. It makes sense to me, as if I do not eat in they do not have to pay for anyone to clean up after me, or pay for a dining room.

                                1. re: CanadaGirl

                                  I've also seen 10% off pick up orders. Makes it worth it.

                              3. re: Violatp

                                supposedly the fee is to cover having the driver on the clock at all. since that is their primary job and at most places they dont do much else. at my job i still have to do all the prep work so you can even have your food and still deliver. but that's not all places

                              4. Most places pay mileage reimbursement.

                                That is, the delivery person does pay up front for their car's needs but the reimbursement comes as a per mile rate on their paycheck.

                                Average rate is about 29-41cents per mile.

                                1. If you live in an area where such a thing is available I'd advise choosing local businesses over large chains or their franchises. Absent that, I'd complain directly to the large chain which is allegedly imposing the fee. Companies are constantly looking to increase profit, reasonably enough, and one way to do that is if you can succeed in raising prices without creating consumer pushback. Push back.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: nokitchen

                                    Oh, have totally done that, several times. I am a squeaky wheel. These are not national chains, they are local chains and the only edible pizza in my neighborhood. Really good pizza here requires a 30 minute drive each way, so it doesn't happen that often.

                                  2. I did pizza delivery more than 40 years ago when I was in college. Back then I got straight hourly wage plus tips. All the expenses associated with the vehicle were mine to bear.

                                    Things have changed over the years.

                                    I am an attorney and have a number of pizza places as clients. The drivers are employees and there are costs associated with them. The workmen's comp insurance cost for a driver is higher than a server or kitchen worker in our area.
                                    While the driver has to provide insurance on the car (or it wouldn't be legal to drive whether working or not), the driver's insurance covers the liability of the driver and maybe the owner of the car, NOT the restaurant. The business owners' policy provides liability coverage for the restaurant. If the driver hits and harms someone during a delivery, the restaurant WILL be sued. They probably have deeper pockets and better insurance coverage than the 18-25 year old driving that 8 year old delivery car. The car may only have the state minimum insurance and that doesn't go very far in covering loss.
                                    In urban areas, pizza drivers are often held up. This creates another type of liability for the restaurant and it has associated costs.
                                    and as for the posters who say that there isn't a takeout charge for boxes, etc. when you pick up a pizza to go, the restaurant doesn't have to make an investment in those thermal delivery bags, or coolers to keep salads and soda cold in the delivery vehicle.

                                    In our area, the independents typically charge a $2-3 delivery fee (we don't have chains). Customers do not think this is a tip for the driver, but a convenience fee, and still tip $2-3 average for a pizza delivery, more in bad weather.

                                    19 Replies
                                    1. re: bagelman01

                                      Fair enough and a good reply but it isn't always valid. I mean, this isn't pizza, but my local Chinese place has a $3 delivery charge. It's wholly family run and the delivery bag and whatnot is exactly the same as if I was to pickup.

                                      Now, one can say that you're paying for the inconvenience of taking them away from their primary duties, but eh. I don't know. It's a convenience fee, really, I suppose. It would be better if they called it something else so the drivers didn't get stiffed!

                                      1. re: bagelman01

                                        Geeze bagel ole'boy....what DIDN'T you do in this life?!!!

                                        1. re: bagelman01

                                          << Customers do not think this is a tip for the driver, but a convenience fee, and still tip $2-3 average for a pizza delivery, more in bad weather.>>

                                          good people.
                                          sounds like they are appreciative of the service they receive,
                                          and appreciative of the people that provide the service.

                                          1. re: bagelman01

                                            Well said, BM. Is it possible that the drivers ins. co, can deny coverage because the policy wasn't written to cover business use or will they pay and subrogate?

                                            1. re: mucho gordo

                                              as you know laws vary by state.............
                                              That said, the business use of a vehicle covered by the insurance conmpany for personal use only could cause the company to refuse to honor claims.
                                              That said: if the car is used less than 10% of its driving mileage for business use (a college kid delivering pizza 2-3 nights er week) then it would be argued (most likely sucessfully) that the business use is incidental and the insurance company would pay.

                                              That said, the drivers using there own vehicles should never allow the pizza place to put theirs signs on the personal vehicle, as it would show intent on the part of the driver that this be a business vehicle and could cause the insurance company to deny all liability.

                                              As to subrogation, I don't know who'd the insurance company would go after, the delivery kid, whose only asset is the car that was just wrecked? I don't belive the insurance company would have much sucess going after the pizza parlor's owner when the proximate cause of the accident is usually the driver of a vehicle

                                              1. re: bagelman01

                                                IIRC, in CA, the kid's ins co could go after the pizza place if it can be shown that the accident happened while he was making a delivery on behalf of the pizza place.

                                                1. re: bagelman01

                                                  wasn't there a case in florida that had some bearing on this?
                                                  (Parker v. Domino Pizza (Fla 1993)
                                                  iirc it was decided that Domino Pizza was liable for something because the franchise owner controlled the activities of the delivery person and therefore a master/servant relationship existed.
                                                  also, vaguely remember from my business law class (taken during the pleistocene era) that the delivery function being within the scope of the delivery boy's employment had something to do with the existence of a master/servant relationship.
                                                  (can't remember what, exactly, they ended up being liable for)

                                                  1. re: westsidegal

                                                    Just because a court can find liability for the pizza place doesn't mean that the insurance company for the car/driver is off the hook. A good plaintiff's attorney will sue the driver, the owner of the car and the pizza place. It is possible that a judge could find them all joint and severally liable, and the plaintiff will collect where he/she may.

                                                    Also, the rulings in one jurisdiction are not necessarilly binding in another jurisdiction. Florida state court ruling only binding on a lower level Florida state court. US Court of Appeals ruling only binding on US District courts in its own circuit, etc. The laws of the land are far from uniform.

                                                    1. re: bagelman01

                                                      <<Just because a court can find liability for the pizza place doesn't mean that the insurance company for the car/driver is off the hook>>

                                                      of course not, i agree with you on that

                                                      <<. A good plaintiff's attorney will sue the driver, the owner of the car and the pizza place>>

                                                      a good case can be made for malpractice against the plaintiff's lawyer if s/he DIDN'T do exactly that.

                                                      in complete agreement with you on all your points.

                                                      1. re: westsidegal

                                                        Glad to know that 2 1/2 years of law school a JD and passing the bar was not wasted <VBG>

                                                        1. re: bagelman01

                                                          you laugh,
                                                          but i know a woman who did all that and then married an accountant, and lived among the country club set for the rest of her life never once using all that education, licensure, and test-passing.

                                                          it happens. . . . .
                                                          not only are you a knowledgable practicing lawyer, but from your comments, you also sound like a mensch.

                                                          1. re: bagelman01

                                                            I'll bet there are times you wish you became a plumber!!

                                                            1. re: Motosport

                                                              I have a young (40 years old) associate in the office. He was a licensed plumber. He put his wife through school and she became an MD. Now she was embarrased in social situations to introduce her husband the plumber. SO, Henry went to law school and became a lawyer. The wife is happy, Henry hates working at a desk, and he told me he makes about 25% of what he made as a plumber.

                                                              1. re: bagelman01

                                                                Poor Henry. Having a plumber in the family is GOLD.

                                                                  1. re: bagelman01

                                                                    I've never met a poor plumber. Except of course for "Joe the plumber"

                                                    2. re: bagelman01

                                                      I've heard that the insurance that most individuals carry may not apply if the vehicle is used for commercial purposes. Is that true? Does an independent pizza delivery driver need additional coverage?

                                                      1. re: GH1618

                                                        Most personal insurance policies specifically disclaim liability if the vehicle is used for commercial/business purposes.
                                                        Even if the policy does NOT have such a limitation, when applying for the policy the insured is asked how many miles (estimate) will the car be driven each year and if it is used just for pleasure or business. If the applicant marks pleasure use only (as the vast majority of applicants do) and then uses the car as a pizza delivery vehicle and has a accident, the insurance company can decline the claim stating the applicant 'lied' on the application.

                                                        That said, policies vary and one should check with the insurance company that insures the vehicle before becoming a delivery person. Sometimes a rider on the policy is available for a small amount of money (wisely spent).

                                                    3. The fee exists because people will pay it. Stop ordering from them in masses and it'll go away.

                                                      I avoid chain pizza shops anyway. Local pie shop owners rarely charge a delivery fee as they realize a great chunk of their business is repeat, local customers who aren't to be nickel-&-dimed.

                                                      Make a good pie and charge $1-2 more for it, and I'm ok. That's what the market will bear. However, I don't think the market will tolerate everyone going to a delivery fee because local shops live and die by $1-2 margins.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Rigmaster

                                                        if a restaurant makes a good pie and will arrange to get it to my house while it is still warm, i'll gladly pay an up charge or a higher price.

                                                        i don't care what they call the charge, if they give me quality food AND convenience at anything near a reasonable total price, i am on board.

                                                        also, if the delivery person is pleasant AND gets the pie to me while it's warm, they get tipped generously in addition to the higher price/up charge every time.

                                                      2. I happen to own a Domino's store. First, let me say that there is no one answer. Every place is different. I'll answer your question, but I do need to preface it a bit.

                                                        I am a LOCAL business. I own the shop, I live in the same town. My kids go to school here. I work 50 hours a week in the shop and quite a few more doing the "business owner" thing. My "local" competition couldn't find his own store without a GPS. All 3 competitors are owned by investors that don't live in this town. One doesn't even live in this state, owns 20 or so pizza shops.

                                                        Back 25 years ago, we had "free" delivery. My friends, the price of delivery was in the pizza. In 1988 a medium pan pizza was introduced for $8.99 with 1 topping. Today we have the new pan pizza with 2 toppings for $7.99. Using the CPI if you paid the same for a pizza today as in 1990, a large cheese would be about $16.

                                                        And while we're on the topic of expensive, take a menu from your local Domino's (Or Pizza Hut, or whatever chain). Next time you are at a restaurant that sells pizza, actually compare the prices. I have yet to find a place with a lower menu price than mine. Even the bar across the street charges more to warm up a frozen pizza than I do to hand make, bake fresh, and deliver a pizza.

                                                        In my experience most local shops charge for delivery. The difference is that Domino's (at least mine, and most that I know) tell you up front. Back before we ever had a delivery charge, people thought we did anyway.

                                                        Who gets the delivery charge? Well, again, not the simple answer you may want. In my case we charge $2 for delivery. I do not give the $2 directly to the driver. I pay the drivers by the mile. In my case, that works out to be (on average) $2.12 per run. So while the fee does not go directly to the driver, they get more than that. I know of some that pay per delivery and may pay the driver $1.50 of the $2 charge. (Oh, and Domino's Corporate gets their share of the delivery charge through royalties and advertising fees that are a percentage of everything we charge.)

                                                        Again, I charge $2. $2.12 for mileage to the driver. Average run is 25 minutes $3.05 for labor (assuming they never stand still, If you count the time drivers are waiting for your delivery you can up that to about $4-5) Insurance has not gotten cheaper. Work comp rates hare higher on drivers than cooks, 35¢. Auto insurance 15¢.

                                                        $5.67 JUST to deliver a pizza (and that is on the low side)

                                                        Something else about us "evil chains". I know many independent places that pay under the table. They pay cash. They don't pay taxes on those wages, they don't pay work comp. They don't even pay minimum wage. They hire 16 year olds to drive (which by the way is illegal). If a chain tried what they do, it wouldn't take long to be shut down. If the government doesn't the franchisor will. (Of course, there are many independents that follow the laws and are great places to work too.)

                                                        I am a chain, I am local. I am not rich, I am not gouging my Customers. I treat my employees well, and I push myself hard to give the best service to my Customers every day. I have worked hard for many years. If I told you how little I actually make you would not believe me, so there is no point.

                                                        At this point in my life, all I can do is put the facts out there. If people still chose to not order because of me charging $2 for a $5.67 service, I guess I just have to accept that. Everyone wants to be compensated fairly for their work. Pizza shop owners and delivery drivers are no different.

                                                        (One last comment, some will say that delivery fees hurt driver tips. There were studies. I even did my own. When delivery charges were introduced, driver tips increased. Yes, there is the occasional person that doesn't tip because of the delivery charge. But there are far more that tip a percentage, and also a sub-set of people that the delivery charge made them conscious of the driver's tip. Whatever the reason, the data, the facts, over thousands of orders of data in multiple locations shows tips increased.)

                                                        23 Replies
                                                          1. re: pizzaman123345

                                                            Apples and oranges. You can not compare your cheaper pizza to the superior quality of the more expensive restaurant pizza.

                                                            1. re: mucho gordo

                                                              I don't think he was. He was simply providing some perspective from the "other side" of the issue.

                                                              1. re: mucho gordo

                                                                <<You can not compare your cheaper pizza to the superior quality of the more expensive restaurant pizza.>>

                                                                i saw no evidence that pizzaman123345 did anything like that.

                                                                1. re: westsidegal

                                                                  <<And while we're on the topic of expensive, take a menu from your local Domino's (Or Pizza Hut, or whatever chain). Next time you are at a restaurant that sells pizza, actually compare the prices. I have yet to find a place with a lower menu price than mine. Even the bar across the street charges more to warm up a frozen pizza than I do to hand make, bake fresh, and deliver a pizza>>
                                                                  He is asking us to compare restaurant prices with chain prices. Obviously, he's going to be cheaper because of the difference in quality. In essence, he is comparing the two.

                                                                  1. re: mucho gordo

                                                                    "Obviously, he's going to be cheaper bcause of the difference in quality."

                                                                    Mucho, there's a lot of really bad pizza served by individually owned pizza restaurants.

                                                                    In my area (south central CT) a bastion of great Apizza (New Haven Style) pizza (NY Style) and Greek style pizza (thick crust baked in an oiled pan). You can pay $15-18 for a large mozzarella, or $6.99 for a large mozzarella, all from stand alone pizza places.
                                                                    That $6.99 special, or commonly 2/$15 is no more expensive than Domino's or Pizza Hut, and probably cheaper.
                                                                    And it may be no better in taste and quality OR it may be a gem.

                                                                    Fact is you have to try different places and decide what you like.

                                                                    There's a local mini chain (3 shops) whose pizza I detest (I think Domino's is actually better than this chain), but BIL uses them to supply 20 large pies for each of his kids' birthday parties because they do it for $6.50 per large pie and only a $3 delivery charge no matter how many pies are ordered. BIL is cheap, and for some people Pizza is a commodity item.

                                                                    1. re: bagelman01

                                                                      You're probably right, BM. I've never needed to try that many different places. Back there, I was lucky enough to get a great pie at Raccio's right across the street from my house.
                                                                      Greek?? I've never heard it called that. I've allways known it as Chicago style.
                                                                      Your BIL is right; I would do the same if it was for the kids.

                                                                      1. re: mucho gordo

                                                                        In the late 1960s to early 1970s Greek immigrants ion southern CT branched out from the diner business to pizza restaurants.
                                                                        The Greek style is NOT the same as Chicago. The pan is only about 1 1/4" deep. The pan is oiled, the dough spread in the oan and then kept in the walk in fridge for up to 36 hours until needed, then sauce and heavy cheese and optional toppings.
                                                                        Unlike what you grew up with, a Greek Style pizza is so heavy on cheese, that the cheese covers the entire surface, no exposed sauce spots. When I worked for one in the mid 70s, they would grind in 1 lb cheddar to 20 lbs mozzarella so that the cheese wouldn't burn in the oven

                                                                        1. re: bagelman01

                                                                          No wonder I never heard of it. It was after I left there.

                                                                    2. re: mucho gordo

                                                                      it seemed to me that he was primarily comparing prices.
                                                                      the only point at which he also mentioned quality was when he brought up the frozen pizza that was served at the bar across the street.

                                                                      to my eyes, the post, taken as a whole, did NOT assert that the pizza he sold was as high a quality as the " more expensive restaurant pizza"

                                                                      it seemed to me that he was only trying to point out the nature of his margins given the quality of his product, nothing more.

                                                                      1. re: mucho gordo

                                                                        to my eyes, he is comparing PRICES.

                                                                        these sorts of price-related discussions occur frequently on the LA board so they are certainly not rare.

                                                                        even if there is a passing reference to quality , it is still, to my eyes, not primarily a discussion focused on price/quality ratios.

                                                                  2. re: pizzaman123345

                                                                    Thank you for this explanation... always good to hear another side of the story from someone with experience.

                                                                    1. re: pizzaman123345

                                                                      You don't have to like it. You don't have to pay it. Go and buy pizza anywhere you wish. If the other guy is better than me, then you SHOULD go there.

                                                                      All I ask is a fair shake. I am not "evil". I do not "gouge" my Customers.

                                                                      Just do me one favor. If you are going to punish me for having a delivery fee, just make sure you are not rewarding my competition for doing the same.

                                                                      1. re: pizzaman123345

                                                                        Just do me one favor. If you are going to punish me for having a delivery fee, just make sure you are not rewarding my competition for doing the same.


                                                                      2. re: pizzaman123345

                                                                        Ahh! I'm a fellow dominoid! Had an EOC today! I was disappointed:( did get gold, but I was hoping for platinum..oh well. My platinum spoodle from last year will look nice next to whatever the gold thing is this yr. did get a 5 OER though..go figure. I don't want to unleash my oer tangent here though;)

                                                                        1. re: pizzaman123345

                                                                          I worked from Dominos and PizzaHut as a driver and I will say this. Regardless of the studies that will vary insanely from place to place, I have personally heard and seen many customers bitch about the fee. From just my own experiences. I would say 1 in 6 homes will not tip the driver. Of these people who do not tip about 60% of them are minorities. You can take this anyway you like its just the facts. (I have recorded ethnicity and tip amount for about 16 months of data.) It really depends on who is ordering the pizza as well. My data shows women tip less the men and especially women 40+ This is because of many reason #1 being they think we get the fee as a solid tip, or because they have little concept of money and inflation since raising kids and being out of the workforce for decades. (who knows). My overall point is the fee has lowered tips for sure because of the people who are ignorant of the facts of how a business works and gas, maintenance, insurance, etc. Anyways there is my rant.

                                                                          1. re: i3igi3uf

                                                                            What?? Stay-at-home-moms are a minority (most reports I've read say 27-29% of women with kids) and many women go back to work as their kids get older. The vast majority of women in their 40s have not been "out of the workforce for decades" and those that do parent from home would tend to do at least some of the shopping for the family so they're perfectly aware of money and inflation. Also, kids are kids for 18 years; tipping culture has not changed appreciably in the last 18 years. If women and minorities tip you less, I would think really hard about the treatment they have received from yourself and others who provide services for them.

                                                                            1. re: i3igi3uf

                                                                              if you live on a poor side of town like i do, its closer to 1 in four houses dont tip. and a lot of them have said that they were under the impression that the driver fee was our tip. we charge 2.50 for delivery. i get one dollar of it per run that i take. i spend about that in gas alone. this doesnt even begin to cover the cost of brakes, oil changes, those times when the starter goes out, or you need that new 100 dollar battery. or when the gas jumps from 2.90 to 3.70 a gallon. Let alone when the vehicle completely dies from you running it to death.

                                                                            2. re: pizzaman123345

                                                                              I appreciate your response. I appreciate that you are a small business and are trying to make a living. And I appreciate that the delivery charge goes to your driver's mileage. I would prefer that the delivery charge just be rolled into the price of my pizza, as you say it used to be. Same price for me, but psychologically removes that feeling of being 'nickled and dimed'. Businesses have a cost of operating and have to try to meet that cost, but almost nowhere else would be charged a la carte to pay for the incidentals of running a business. There's no air conditioning surcharge when I shop at a retail store in the summer, that kind of thing. (And, BTW, here in Canada, a large cheese pizza IS $16.00+. Many of the chains will have walk-in only large cheese or pepperoni for $5-7, but it's walk-in only, no calling in advance, and no delivery).

                                                                              But your post begs this question to me - your drivers seem as though they are making minimum wage (if an average run of 25 minutes is over $3 - but please correct me if I am wrong, I am not up on the minimum wages in the states). And your driver is being compensated for the mileage. So why then, is pizza delivery, a tipped industry? That's the real question for me - tipping a waitress I get, because they aren't paid minimum wage. I think I always made the assumption that those delivering pizza weren't making minimum wage either, and I was always happy to give a $5 tip for that reason. But now I'm not sure why I'm tipping on top of a delivery charge if you are compensating your driver for his work and the wear on his vehicle.

                                                                              1. re: 16crab

                                                                                Tips arent to make up someones minimum wage,they are for service.

                                                                                1. re: 16crab

                                                                                  It raises the question, not begs the question.

                                                                                  1. re: 16crab

                                                                                    I am paid 5.50 and hour. and get a dollar for every run i take. but when you work a normal job. you're not putting a large amount of money into your vehicle to use it for your job. the dollar is supposed to pay just for the gas and wear and tear(its still not enough to). so its not really going to you. its basically just them paying to be able to use your vehicle. so I make 5.50 an hour. and if I'm lucky, I make tips to cover the difference. I have had days where I have averaged out at 10 and hour. and days where I have averaged out at 6.50 and hour (this is base plus tips averaged). min wage in Colorado right now is almost 8 an hour. plus the tips are supposed to be a sign of appreciation for us making so that you dont have to cook and you dont even have to leave your house for food. and for us getting the food there as fast as we can, and as hot as we can. If we deliver a cold pizza, chances are we aren't going to get a tip at all. Tips are a great motivation for us to get you your food while it's hot. I cannot lie, if i get an order for someone who tips generously or even at all, and an order for someone who never tips me, im going to worry more about the people who show that the appreciate me, and not care as much about the persons food who doesnt tip me. I'll still get it there, it'll still be decently hot, but it likely won't be as quick or as hot as the other persons. plus, at my store. there are times that the places that we deliver are 15 minute drives away with no traffic and no having to stop at lights. We have a very large delivery range. No one likes to not feel appreciated.

                                                                                2. If you have a problem with this fee, go pick up the pizza yourself.

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                    I do, as I stated in my OP. Pretty much all the time or as often as I can. I just wanted some more info on why it exists, as did some other folks on the thread.

                                                                                    1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                      Given pizzman's explanation of costs, do you not see that going to pick up your pizzas is significantly less cost effective that just paying the delivery fee?

                                                                                  2. In my opinion, having to pay a delivery charge and tip is adding insult to injury.

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: grampart

                                                                                      And an excellent opportunity to stiff service personnel two ways at once.

                                                                                      1. re: Virginian

                                                                                        The "injury" is the pizza itself. I never stiff anyone.......unless they really deserve it.

                                                                                    2. I can't remember the last time I had anything in terms of food delivered to my house. It's really been years!
                                                                                      I think a delivery charge of a few dollars is more than fair. A $10 pizza costs more if the restaurant has to pay someone to deliver it. So, rather than spread that cost to everyone..the restaurant owner decides to pass it on only to the people who choose not to pick it up themselves. I am okay with that.

                                                                                      1. I'm just thrilled that anyplace will delivery to me when I'm feeling too lazy to go out and am happy to pay them whatever it takes.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                          Seriously. It's amazing about how people complain about a service fee fo having the OPTION to have food delivered to their doorstep.
                                                                                          I'm more than happy to pay for convenience.

                                                                                        2. there is another factor that may apply also. A friend of mine was talking to the owner of an Indian restaurant they had patronized for many years which is very popular, increasingly for their deliveries.. the owner expressed concern about the effect of increased ordring over the computer through services like seamless and grubhub. Not only is there no longer a personal relationship between customer and restaurant but the service charges 5% off the top to the restaurant. If I were in the position of a restauranteur facing this I would be tempted to add a delivery charge to recoup

                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: jen kalb

                                                                                            if it were me, i wouldn't just "be tempted."
                                                                                            i would immediately institute the charge.

                                                                                            1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                              apparently this restaurant did not feel it could increase its prices - as threads like this illustrate,restaurants are under enormous competitive pressure.

                                                                                              1. re: jen kalb

                                                                                                since food quality means so much to me, an extra few dollars to get GOOD QUALITY food delivered, would be meaningless to me.

                                                                                                if we are talking about drek, (i.e. restaurant A delivers drek for $3 less that restaurant B charges for delivering a similar level of drek) that is a different story

                                                                                          2. A long, long time ago in a Ford Galaxy far, far away (sorry) I delivered for a Pizza Hut delco shop. I was paid an hourly wage (which was well above minimum wage due to a shortage of people willing to do the job) and a 3% commission on the total of all tickets I delivered that shift. If I had to deliver a single pizza out to the fringe of our delivery zone I could easily be out of the shop for 40-50 minutes, between the hourly wage and commission it could easily cost the restaurant $3-$4 for me to make that delivery and any tips were mine to keep.

                                                                                            Delivery is a service that costs the restaurant money to provide, and whether by delivery fee or increased menu prices you are paying for that service. At least with a delivery fee the cost (or at least a good chunk of it) is paid for by the people actually using the service and not being subsidized by those who pick up their orders at the restaurant.

                                                                                            1. If the measly $2-3.00 charge plus a decent tip really, really bothers one, go buy a stone and a peel and make your own tomato pies!! On the other hand, you are talking about a product that is costing you less than $20.00, much less, so get over it.

                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: ospreycove

                                                                                                "If the measly $2-3.00 charge plus a decent tip really, really bothers one, go buy a stone and a peel and make your own tomato pies!! "

                                                                                                That's what I did, but it had nothing to do with a delivery charge or tip. The real motivation is making pizza that is miles better than the dreck that shows up at your door. As I've said, the extra charges just add insult to injury.

                                                                                                1. re: grampart

                                                                                                  usually if I'm tired/sick/apathetic enough to order the pie in the first place, I will gladly pay the delivery charge so I don't have to frigging cook.

                                                                                                  (happily, that's not a common mood for me...but it happens)

                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                    Since my dough goes through a minimum 3 day refrigerated rise, pizza in our house is something that has to be planned for. On the rare occasion an unplanned jonesin' for pizza arises, we go to our local joint and eat it there or I order it partially cooked, go pick it up, and finish it on the pre-heated stone here at home. Never, never get delivery.

                                                                                              2. The delivery fees cover certain costs to operate a delivery service..such as insurance. The drivers must have their own coverage, but we also have to insure them for liability reasons. Everytime a driver hits the road, it costs us about 6$. Just to deliver..not including their hourly rate or mileage. Then there are credit card fees. It costs us much more to enter a card number as opposed to swiping it. Why? No clue, but it does. We had the option to raise menu prices, or charge a fee. We held out as long as we could, but finally joined in. It definitely helped and I would much rather charge a flat fee than raising prices across the board. As one poster said, it is a very competitive business..you would be suprised the amount of spying and stealing that goes on between pizza chains. It's ridiculous. However, not many places offer free delivery anymore. We were the last to do so in our area, and ours is less than our competitors. But, I digress. Main point, it costs to deliver.

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Pizzagal2013

                                                                                                  There are plenty of places that do not charge...I would say more than anything it costs to NOT deliver

                                                                                                  1. re: kpaxonite

                                                                                                    Probably depends where you live. If you are in a city, and have 8 restaurants a block away, it isn't such a big deal.

                                                                                                2. Someone has probably already answered but just in case... It does go to the drivers. I know for our particular chain, we charge $2. $1.35 goes to the driver. It's for gas and wear and tear on their vehicle. You're right, not all of it does go to the driver but there is extra work that goes into delivery orders in store. Routing, getting drinks and condiments, etc. please don't tip the driver less, because they're still only getting that certain amount. And as I said, this is only for the particular chain I'm VERY familiar with. Hope I cleared it up. To answer the insurance question, drivers are required to carry their own insurance but we must insure them too. Otherwise they would be a liability for us. If they were in an accident, the driver or the other person could sue our franchise for damages. We've had it happen and have been very grateful for insurance coverage.

                                                                                                  1. . I went to a local sandwich and pizza shop ( named, ironically enough, The Sandwich Shop) to pick up pizza and saw on the takeaway menu that there was a $2 delivery charge, so I asked, explaining about the thread, where the delivery charge went. They explained that it went to the driver to help pay for gas. I told them that was good to hear and that I would let my fellow ChowHounds know and that we would support The Sandwich Shop in Presque Isle Maine whenever possible.

                                                                                                    1. So...today I ordered a pizza costing 8.99 with a 2.99 deliver fee and still supposed to tip? Since Tips are generally 20% of the purchase price, before tax, what is expected as a tip? Liability insurance was in existence long before delivery fees so I find it difficult to believe that insurance is the reason. There is one pizza place locally that will not charge a delivery fee if you pay in cash. That is how it should be for others. Every owner knows that there is a cost in doing business. Passing off anything additional to the customer is no different than the banks charging fees for every little thing. I don't order in much which this is one reason why. Also, using the excuse for putting together a delivery order has more work is ridiculous! It is no different than eating in, or picking up and you don't have the extra fee for that. The entire delivery fee should go to the driver, then the owner can back-charge the driver for insurance. I find it hard to believe that $6.00 a run for insurance is being paid per driver. If that is the case then you are probably not pricing out the best price or there is a really good reason why you are paying up the nose for that insurance.

                                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: mvrbeek

                                                                                                        I'm amazed that there is a $9 pizza anywhere, I have to say. But I also think that paying 20% additional for a tip on top of $12 wouldn't be a major reason not to get it (for me; obviously you feel differently). But vote with your wallet - if that seems like too much, don't order the pizza. If enough people agree with you the policy will change or they will go out of business. But please don't stiff the working guy because of this. Choose a different pizza place with policies you approve of.

                                                                                                        1. re: mvrbeek

                                                                                                          20% may be a typical dine in tip, but tip on delivery Pizza is most often by the pie or by the delivery. In good weather $2 is customary in most non-big city areas. $3 if it's a long distance from your home to the pizza place or if the delivery person has to come upstairs to an apartment, etc.

                                                                                                          So, that 8.99 pie with a 2.99 delivery charge would still garner a $2 or $3 tip. If you don't want to spring for it, go pick it up yourself or eat in.

                                                                                                          If a business can't make a profit, it can't survive. All costs are passed on to customers, either in fees or raised prices. I would rather the delivery customer absorb the added costs of delivery than share the cost when dining in or picking up.

                                                                                                          Way back when they built the CT Turnpike and the Merrit Parkway they had toll booths. The toll revenue was ONLY used to pay off the construction bonds. Only the users paid to build the roads, NOT the general public. When the bonds were paid off, the tolls were removed.

                                                                                                          1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                            heh -- I grossly overtipped a kid last year who brought me excellent Indian curry on a cold, wet, miserable night when I was mentally and physically exhausted.

                                                                                                            Half of it was sheer gratitude for not having to cook, half of it was for having run to my door in the pouring rain.

                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                              Good for you! Totally understand and agree.

                                                                                                              1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                why tip less for pizza than other delivery??

                                                                                                                1. re: kpaxonite

                                                                                                                  In our area pizza and Chinese are the typical delivery items. Pizza is generally $2 per pie in good weather and before 11PM. Chinese food is usually $2 per bag, not a % of the check, again in good weather and before 11PM.

                                                                                                                  In bad weather or after 11PM or holidays this increases at least 50%.

                                                                                                                  I did not set the standard, I moved to this community about 8 years ago and merely am reporting the norm.

                                                                                                              2. re: mvrbeek

                                                                                                                we generally like to see about a 10 percent tip on the order. we dont expect as much of a tip as a waiter. 20 percent is amazing. but ten percent is around what is expected,anything less makes us feel like you don't appreciate our service, 10 percent says thank you, anything more says that you greatly appreciate our service.

                                                                                                              3. I can't speak for a Pizza business but when we employed a nanny I had to buy separate auto insurance for her even though she drove her own car and had her own insurance. If she was in an accident while "on the job" we could be held liable. This hold true to from a minor fender bender to property damage and vehicular homicide. Could be the pizza owners are subsidizing the cost of their insurance. Makes sense that they would want their overall prices remain competitive and have the folks actually getting the delivery to pay for additional costs.

                                                                                                                You said you have started complaining to the business owners directly. I am curious if they have offered an explanation or defended the practice in some way?

                                                                                                                1. Only if they provided me with an iPad to order from.


                                                                                                                  1. I deliver for Papa Johns, the delivery fee while an annoyance to me as a driver, is as was stated to me a way of recouping part of the salaries paid to drivers that would not be necessary if there was no delivery service. Papa John's does modestly (and I mean very modestly) compensate me for the use of my vehicle. Where I work we use a dual wage system a driver that is in the store make full minimum wage as soon as a driver goes on a delivery his pay is dropped to tipped minimum wage until he returns to the store, then is increased back to standard minimum wage.

                                                                                                                    as a side note I want to personally thank you for not taking the delivery charge issue out on your delivery driver as many do. the best practice to protest the delivery charge is what you are doing now, complaining to management and not using the delivery service. when enough people do this perhaps they will rethink the delivery charge and remove it. however most people just short the drivers tip and since that doesn't hurt the stores stores money it accomplish nothing other than a driver making less money for the same work

                                                                                                                    1. The first thing is to recognize is it's not a fee. Don't think of anything called a "fee" as a fee. Just look at total cost and evaluate from the businesses point of view.

                                                                                                                      Separating out various costs into line items, or bundling them into "specials" are just marketing gimmicks. The "delivery fee" is a part of the price of your order that has been un-bundled. If they were not charging it separately, the cost of the food would be higher by the same amount.

                                                                                                                      Having taken orders for a pizza place a long time ago, I have seen how this causes a lot of cognitive dissonance. People would tell me they will call somewhere else and pay $5 more for a pizza rather than pay our $2 delivery charge "on principal". It's utter non-sense. That $5 is composed of the $2 delivery fee and $3 of profit, but for some people a line item on a bill can't be viewed as part of a whole.

                                                                                                                      And no, it does not "go to the driver," even if all of it ends up in the drivers hands later anyway. It is still all revenue for the store first, and they will pay out as an expense as they see fit. Think of a situation where the price of a pizza was raised $2, and they driver's pay went up by $2/delivery. Would you think a part of the cost of your pizza "goes to the driver"? It's the exact same situation: an amount is billed, the store collects it from the driver, the store pays the driver.

                                                                                                                      This is all just marketing gimmicks designed to make things look cheaper, or to make it appear a certain cost is a special separate expense, when on the back end, everything is happening just as it would.

                                                                                                                      1. The Domino's Pizza chain in Japan offers substantial discounts if you come in and pick up the pizza yourself. They also have two-for-the-price-of-one pizzas which must be picked up.

                                                                                                                        1. Here let me sum it. It is like asking a complete stranger to bring you whatever fast food is around you, probably McDonalds. Then saying hey no extra money to get for anything. Here a ($1- 2.99) delivery fee cause Im lazy. Wow awesome! Do you drive cross country in a volt? Then you don't understand fighting traffic for nothing

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. Here is the correct answer. Because american consumers cannot see the forest for the trees....!Profit! aka !Bottom Line!

                                                                                                                            As the price of gas rose in the US the Pizza Franchises realized that consumers would consider delivery over take-out to save on gas. Here are some of the tricks and deception of the trade.

                                                                                                                            - people will pay Service Delivery Charge as long as it is less than 1 Gal. gas (Pizza Franchises exploit this to add to the bottom line)

                                                                                                                            - a small percentage of callers are not told of Service Delivery Charge and are even unaware. (yes, this is hard to believe but true)

                                                                                                                            - when you call and order pizza over the phone you automatically the full inflated price unless ask for specials. (I'm amazed at the amount of people that pay too much for pizza, as much as 40% over hidden specials)

                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: pizzafortips

                                                                                                                              if a business is willing to deliver good food to me in a reasonable amount of time, i DO NOT WANT TO NICKLE AND DIME THEM.

                                                                                                                              this includes the delivery person.
                                                                                                                              if they are prompt, and pleasant, THEY GET TIPPED.
                                                                                                                              if the weather is lousy, THEY GET TIPPED MORE.

                                                                                                                              i don't care if, by asking, i can save a couple of bucks.
                                                                                                                              the PRODUCT and the SERVICE is well worth a little generosity.

                                                                                                                              on the other hand, if the food is crappy, no amount of service can overcome that, and no cheap price will entice me to eat crappy food unless there is absolutely no other option. .

                                                                                                                              1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                I don't completely disagree, but you set up a silly point. "If a business is willing to deliver" makes it sound like they're on a humanitarian mission. Most delivery oriented food companies have delivery their actual business model, they're not doing it out of the kindness of their heart.

                                                                                                                                You might as well say stuff like, "Thank goodness Amazon is willing to ship me stuff" or "The lovely IRS who finds the time to collect my taxes"

                                                                                                                                1. re: jgg13

                                                                                                                                  but far more pizza places that deliver in the northeast are individual family run/owned pizza/Italian food restaurants, NOT the delivery chain/franchise model.

                                                                                                                                  There are more than 20 pizza places that will deliver to my street. I live in a town of 35,000 and half of the restaurants are in the next town (15,000) but less than a 12 minute drive from my house. Not a single one of these is a delivery model chain. NO Pizza hut, NO Dominos, NO Little Caesars, NO Poppa Johns. Fake plastic chains can't survive in heavily Italian southern CT.

                                                                                                                                  In addition to the 20 who deliver, there are another 20 who don't deliver, you must pick up takeout orders.

                                                                                                                                  I don't get delivery, but my neighbors regularly get delivery and with gas at $3.85 gallon plus time, wear and tear on your vehicle, a delivery charge and tip averaging $5 is reasonable.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                                    I generally tip north of $5 and then there's the fee. I only took issue with the Oh They're So Nice angle. That's part of their business

                                                                                                                            2. I have no problem with a delivery fee. I am friends with the owner and I usually want to pick up the pies so i can schmooze and catch up with the local politics. When I decide to have them do my "chore" no problem with the as well as the tip.

                                                                                                                              With all of the comments about the servers needing to earn a decent living I feel the same way about the owners who have put their financial future plus blood, sweat and tears into their dream.

                                                                                                                              1. I'm a delivery driver for dominos Australia, And I have insurance supplied, and I also get $2 (AUD) per delivery which it to go towards fuel. As well as that, since I'm solely a delivery driver, and wouldn't actually have a job there if they didn't offer deliveries, the surcharge is supposed to make up for the fact that those businesses have to hire an additional few people just to do deliveries.
                                                                                                                                I actually think that most delivery surcharges now are too high, but I think that they are necessary.

                                                                                                                                That's just how I see it though!!

                                                                                                                                1. The company pockets it. They take money that rightfully belongs to the driver and just steals it.

                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: greenturtle36

                                                                                                                                    Our Drivers are independent contractors that keep the delivery fee. The Drivers assign their own orders and are not allowed to work in the restaurant. They only deliver food. OUR DRIVERS ARE INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS!!!They receive a 1099 at the end of the year for their accumulated delivery fees(which only covers there gas and insurance please tip your drivers)Our drivers tell us when they want to work.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: MarkDrivers

                                                                                                                                      can your drivers refuse deliveries as well?