Sneaky Pizza Delivery Fees Are Here to Stay (and It’s Your Fault)

I love sleight of hand tricks.

Occasionally, a coworker of mine named Fred will stop by my office and regale me with some truly amazing acts of prestidigitation.

I’m always left in awe every time he seemingly pulls a coin out of thin air — or makes one vanish — despite the fact that I know ahead of time he’s going to pull a fast one on me. It doesn’t matter how hard I concentrate on those coins; I always succumb to Fred’s subtly masterful acts of misdirection.

Needless to say, the art of deception can be very advantageous to those who’ve mastered it.

In 2006, magician David Copperfield reportedly used his sleight-of-hand talents to deceive a mugger into thinking he had empty pockets — even though they actually held his wallet, passport and cellphone.

Today, even the pizza companies are honing their sleight of hand skills. Take delivery fees, for example.

My experience has been that most pizza joints rarely mention their delivery fees when quoting their prices over the phone. That’s pretty sneaky if you ask me. Usually, the conversation typically ends up sounding something like this:

“Okay, sir, you ordered two Pizza Planet pepperoni specials for delivery. That’ll be $26.67.”

“Hold on; those pizzas were advertised at $11 each. I know taxes are high here, but they’re not that high.”

“Well, sir, that total includes a delivery charge of $2.75.”

“Whoa! Two-seventy-five? Say, your last name wouldn’t happen to be Copperfield, would it?”

“No, sir. Why do you ask?”

“This isn’t Fred, is it? Why on earth are you moonlighting at Pizza Planet?”

“Who’s Fred, sir?”

“Oh, never mind.”

Okay, the part of the conversation where I talk about Fred is a stretch, but you get my drift.

Delivery charges are illusory in other ways. Ironically, they don’t always go directly to the driver. Instead, most — if not all — of that money is typically used to boost the bottom line by off-setting business expenses like the cost of ingredients and employee wages.

It turns out that the major pizza chains began dabbling with delivery fees in select areas about a decade ago. Back then, Pizza Hut’s delivery charges were typically 50 cents, while Papa John’s and Domino’s hovered around a buck.

However, those fees have increased dramatically since then — especially when compared to the inflation rate over the same period.

Where I live, Papa John’s currently levies a $2.75 fee for delivery. Meanwhile, my neighborhood Domino’s charges $1.85 to bring their pies to your door, and the local Pizza Hut gets $3.00.

Out of curiosity, I surveyed two other local pizzerias to see what they were charging for delivery: Round Table tacks on an additional $1.50, and an independent joint down the street from me charges $3.00.

If you ask me, the most likely reason why pizza delivery fees continue to outpace inflation is that they provide a subtle way of disguising price increases. That monetary legerdemain allows pizzerias to painlessly raise prices while continuing to advertise pies at seemingly bargain rates.

By the way, in case you’re wondering, those pizza delivery charges only became permanent and more widespread once it became apparent to the major pizza chains that they wouldn’t result in an appreciable loss of customers.

Of course, with all the hocus pocus going on, it’s uncertain exactly how many people realized that they were even being charged a delivery fee in the first place — but that really doesn’t matter now. We’ve got nobody to blame but ourselves.

Unfortunately, because we didn’t balk when we had the chance, pizza delivery charges are most likely here to stay.

In fact, they’re so firmly entrenched in the market now, I suspect even David Copperfield couldn’t make them disappear.

Photo Credit: Eli Christman



Comments

  1. 1

    Jackie says

    The truth is part of the delivery charge does go to the driver. Usually a dollar. If the delivery charge is two, then we would get one. The pizza places like us to tell the customer that it does for insurance for the drivers, but we have our own insurance. We get the tip (if there is one), a dollar for taking the delievey and our hourly pay.

    • 2

      Len Penzo says

      Thanks for the added info, Jackie. I’m glad to see drivers are now getting at least a small portion of the delivery fee. Still, even if it’s a buck, that means the rest of it is being used by pizzerias to offset other costs.

    • 3

      informative says

      while it’s true drivers carry their own insurance, delivery fees help counter the cost of the iability insurance pizza delivery shops carry on those drivers. pizza places have two choices: raise menu price to counter the increasing costs or raise menu prices. Applying the delivery fee still leaves open the carryout option, with no fee. Insurance isn’t cheap, and the costs only continue to rise. Have you ever looked at the cost of an insurance policy for a pizza delivery shop? Maybe that will help shed some light on the subject.

    • 4

      Morgan says

      Drivers get paid per delivery and an hourly wage. The money they get paid per delivery covers a car expense so to speak. Regardless they get paid from the income of the store. Like every job in the world. You get paid from money coming into the business. It’s people in the normal world earn a living.

      • 5

        Dave Mitchell says

        Morgan,

        Your forgetting a lot of car repairs, continuous car maintenance, higher car mileage and inclement weather. I’ve did this nearly 2 decades brother, so I know whats going on. I go through a car every 4-5 years at this job. I do it because I love people and kids. Nothing is better and more heroic than the Pizza man! And well, somebodys gotta do it—we ALL order delivery! I worked 2-3 jobs with this for 15 years and now I went back to school and the flexible hours are good to do that also. its not a bunch of high school kids like in the 80′s. Its hard working adults trying to make it. Don’t fall short on respect until you walk the mile…

        • 6

          jeffro says

          amen brother!! ive been delivering pizza for a really long time i personally like the job but yea between gas and vehicle maintenance it gets expensive!

    • 7

      Dave Mitchell says

      Jackie,

      No we don’t get any part of the “Delivery Fee”…at least in Maryland. I worked for Dominoes 2 years, Little Caesars 2 years, and then Papa Johns for 13 years and now I have worked for another company for 2 years. There used to be FREE DELIVERY up until about 2005, in which they started charging .75 and then increased it every 6 months (greedy John Schnattner). When I started in 1993 we got .45 a run plus whatever was tipped it then increased to .60 cent a run by 1995, but everywhere above is only $1 for us even though the delivery charge was implemented and increased. Due to todays gas prices if we have a run that is more than 10 miles and the customer doesn’t tip, we actually lose money. Yes we have a base salary, but there are a lot of car repairs and then all the FED and State taxes on that. While the owners and the higher ups get richer we get poorer. No raises for drivers in years for many of these companies. In fact I left PJ’s a couple of years ago because they were cutting our pay as they were going to give us minimum wage while we were in the store, but only $4.25 while we were out on a run (or punched it out and had to wait for it to get ready). On average we lost a $1 an hour with this scheme that Papa Johns did, when I refused to sign to it, they fired me. I won my unemployment case and got some compensation, but it was not right what they did and still do to drivers who use their own car.

      • 8

        Bruce Lowry says

        No part of the delivery fee goes to the driver!
        Drivers have always been compensated for the use of their car, mostly on the low side of a per mile formula.

        Pizza at $10.00 used to be $9.00 in the register with a buck for the driver. Now Pizza at $10.00 with a $2.00 delivery fee results in $11.00 in the register and a buck for the driver.

        Delivery fee is just a sneaky price increase.
        Plus most drivers have been placed on “tip credit” and get about $4.00 an hour with tips “theoretically” making up the difference.

        If you think the delivery fee is a TIP for the driver, you are mistaken.

    • 10

      Len Penzo says

      In some places I’m sure that is still true. How those delivery fees are distributed will, of course, depend on the employer.

    • 11

      says

      We must live in the hinterlands because we have no delivery fees for our local pizza chain. We always tip the driver, so it comes out to about the same.

      We did pick up 2 pizzas at a “gourmet” pizza shop in another city & were shocked to pay $49 for 2 large pizzas. Since we picked them up there was no delivery fee. When did pizza get so expensive?! The only reason we did that time was because we offered to buy pizza for someone’s birthday & that’s where they wanted the pizza from. We won’t be doing that again!

      • 12

        Len Penzo says

        People do it, Maggie. We have a place nearby where you can easily spend $20 for a pizza. It’s good — we’ve splurged once before on them — but it’s not that good.

      • 13

        Dave Mitchell says

        Maggie and others,

        I’ve worked at several pizza shops over the past 19 years…I advise everyone to always use coupons in your weekly flyers or order online. This can cut the usual price nearly IN HALF! There are usually BOGO’S (BUY ONE GET ONES) that every store has. If you just walk in or don’t say anything, most pizza places think your from out of town and will charge you full price. Its a win win for managers as they either get the extra money or if you use the coupons or the internet, they say to corporate headquarters, see the marketing is working. Whats outrageous is OCEAN CITY, Maryland Boardwalk pizza at average $20 for just plain cheese and $3 a topping just for a large that usually is a 14 inch.

  2. 14

    tracee says

    oh man….you’ve opened my eyes to something i probably didn’t know about. when we do order pizza its usually for a party so i’m already expecting a high bill.
    guess i’m going to have to get off my lazy rear end and go pick that thing up….unless you feel like doing some math for me that justifies the delivery fee. its got to cost more than 2.00 for my SUV to get there….maybe delivery is actually a bargain…;)

    • 15

      Len Penzo says

      It’s a convenience charge, more than anything — which is fair enough. I just think these places need to be more open about the charge when advertising their specials.

      • 16

        Dave Mitchell says

        Your right about that Len…although they are getting better about it as the respectable places will train their employees to say…”After Tax and Delivery charge, that will be …”.

        Don’t forget your favorite Chinese delivery place either and all the Food Delivery Service establishments that charge $5 even $6 or more for each restaurant you order from. Of course thats their business and thats what opened up the average Pizza Place as well as the corporate places to do it.

    • 17

      jesse says

      Ok, math. Let’s say you get the worst MPG’s around, 15. In my city I am right at the cut off point to the store which is 2 miles away, which gives us a two mile radius. The max you would have to drive, if eligible for delivery is 4 miles. This is 26% of a gallon of gas. A tank of gas here, regular, is 3.80, so it would cost you a dollar versus PPJ’s extorting $3, which used to go to tips. It cost you 300% more to have it delivered at the max distance and with the worst MPG’s. It cost only 69 cents if you have a newer SUV with 22mpgs going the max distance. If this is the case it cost you 434% more to pay the delivery fee. If you consider a compulsory $1 tip your looking at 400% to 579% more in acquisition costs. To be fair, your total extra paid is about 20% (on a $20) for delivery versus versus 5% to pick it up yourself,at the maximum delivery distance, and the worst mpg’s out there! Still pretty crazy!

      • 18

        Ralph says

        Jesse,
        Until very recently I worked for a very notable nationwide pizza chain that has Pizza in the name. While different franchises treat the charges differently it is very complicated, and I believe that’s on purpose. The fact is that the driver truly gets none of the charge. They do get compensated a certain amount per delivery, it is not at all connected to the charge though. If you order two separate orders and the driver shows up with both, the company only compensates them for one delivery even though in most cases you would be charged twice. Conversely, if they have to deliver a completely free order with no delivery charge, they still get compensated.

        Also, my smallest delivery area had places in the area that were a five mile one way trip. Counting the fuel and maintenance, which is a lot, they do in fact lose money on an even closer than that run. Overall for the night it’s about even, with a small delivery area. I have worked in a few areas that I needed the customers tips to break even for the on my maintenance and fuel. I have had great customers, so I usually do come out ahead and have a few extra dollars for my bills as well. None of us are rich though. The companies have squeezed us too, making it hard for us to do our jobs efficiently thus costing them and us financially. I know it makes no sense, but it is true. Overall, our delivery times are worse than when I started 20 years ago and they don’t have to be.

      • 19

        Aaron Gabriel says

        What seems a little crazy is that you took the time to not only complain, but did so with such eloquence and demonstration of your math proficiency, all over $3! What has the world come too? Interesting that you considered fuel efficiency and price but failed to go on a rant about the oil companies. Maybe that is on another website for whiners.

  3. 20

    Bill says

    I am glad they choose to make those who actually use delivery pay for it. Why should I have to subsidize delivery costs because someone is too lazy to get their butt in the car or walk to pick it up? Once again, it costs more to be lazy.

    Also, try getting pizza from a locally owned joint. Almost always better quality and lower prices. And for those lazy folk who like delivery, they usually have free delivery (at least around here).

    • 21

      Len Penzo says

      I don’t know. I think that argument depends on the pizzeria. Domino’s whole business model is primarily based on home delivery — so why isn’t the cost of delivery, okay I’ll say it, “baked in” to the price of the pizza? I’ve never seen a Domino’s sit-down restaurant (yes, there may be a few, but they’re certainly not the norm), so I don’t think I should be subsidizing Domino’s pizzas for people who choose to pick them up or eat them on premises. :-)

      For sit down pizza joints, however, I think you make a very valid argument. I also agree about local pizzerias — especially the ones in the Northeast. There is nothing better!

      • 22

        Dave Mitchell says

        Len,

        Look at what Tom Monaghan did to his business (and the Detroit Tigers) and you will know why he does business that way.

        Not as bad as John Schnattner as he just flat out lies. he stated on the History Channel that he always passes what profit he makes down to everyone that works for him, when in fact he cut everything from middle man positions, to overtime, to rewards, to raises to just flat out decreasing our salary and now faces a multi million dollar lawsuit. I’ve met him…if you think Don Draper from Mad Men has Charisma, this guy will have you feeling like your the most important person on earth, he does his homework, but to him its all bottom line…his bottom line as even snakes seem to smile.

  4. 23

    says

    If it’s worth the couple of extra bucks to be able to catch all of the game, or avoid going out in cold/rain/snow, then by all means go for it. 95% of the time I’m willing to make the ‘sacrifice’ of going out to save the couple of bucks involved, but if I would prefer to stay home, I accept full well that the cost of that convenience is going to hit my wallet. I don’t really think there’s much ‘sneaky’ about it as it’s been pretty standard practice, which you mentioned.

    Since there is probably some tieback to the cost of gas, you have to figure that since gas prices have also outpaced inflation over the last ten years, the cost increases in the delivery charge might not be as crazy as they seem at first glance.

    • 24

      Len Penzo says

      You make a good point about the gas argument. Although, call me a cynic, but I think the similarity in price increases between delivery fees and gasoline is a coincidence.

    • 25

      Aaron Gabriel says

      @Money Beagle
      Thank God, there is at least one remaining who possesses logic and common sense! Kroger doesn’t deliver your groceries, and if they did would anyone expect them to do so for FREE?

  5. 26

    Againstthegrain says

    What’s sneaky about a delivery fee? If I ordered food with delivery service (I’ll bet it’s been at least 10 years since I’ve done so), I’d expect to pay a delivery fee for the service. If the quoted price didn’t add up to the advertised price, I’d ask, just as you did.

    What *is* sneakier about fast food, with or without delivery service, is all the imitation garbage ingredients it’s made with. Imitation cheese that is more vegetable oil and gum binders than real cheese, soy-extended meat toppings, chemical flavor enhancers, etc. No appetite for fake füd anymore.

    • 27

      Len Penzo says

      I’ll expound on my earlier point…

      Unlike some other pizzeria’s, Papa John’s and Domino’s especially are in business to deliver pizzas. So why should I expect to pay a delivery charges? That’s kind of like me buying an airline ticket and getting charged — on top of all their other ridiculous fees — a “transportation fee” on top of the air fare. Am I wrong here? :-) What am I missing?

      I’d much prefer they be more transparent with their pricing, drop the phony surcharge, and adjust their pizza prices accordingly.

      • 28

        Morgan says

        You can pay a delivery fee or the price of pizza can continue to rise to $20 for 1 pizza. The cost of goods,rent and insurance continues to rise. You would have to pay regardless.

      • 29

        Aaron Gabriel says

        Yes, you are wrong. Your argument is a non sequitur, it is simply a rhetorical matter whether an airline charges a fee and calls it a “transportation fee” or a “baggage fee.” Am I expected to fly without any clothing or hygiene items? Apparently, the answer is yes, unless I am willing to pay $25-$50 dollars to check a bag or purchase a ticket from an airline which includes checked baggage but charges a significantly higher rate. You could have written about airline baggage or the inflated price of much less refined diesel fuel at a much more refined unleaded price, but you chose the pizza delivery fee. What outrage!!! I am afraid that this idiocy (both of the original article and the mindless complaints of those willing to champion the cause) have consumed enough of my time. I better go make three dollars so that I can afford my next pizza without excessive complaining.

  6. 31

    DC says

    This is why we either buy a fresh pizza from the store, or make our own pizza from scratch.

    Surprisingly, it’s not that hard to do. It just takes time, but it can be a family project to make the dough, a sauce (basically just a can of tomato sauce with herbs and garlic added), prep ingredients and decorate the pie. There are lots of youtube instructions on how to make pizza.

    You can shortcut the process by starting with a fresh or frozen cheese pizza and decorate at will.

    • 32

      Len Penzo says

      My whole family loves homemade pizza too, DC. We haven’t had it in awhile at our house though; it’s probably time to put it back on the menu soon. :-)

      I use my bread maker to prepare the dough — it’s really no trouble at all when you do it that way.

    • 34

      Len Penzo says

      Yeah, those $11 dollar pizza deals don’t look quite so good after you’re done ringing up the delivery fee and tax — especially if you are only ordering one pizza.

      At least when you buy multiple pizzas, you end up diluting the delivery charge’s effect somewhat on a price-per-pizza basis.

    • 36

      Len Penzo says

      That’s up to you. I agree with you to a point; if the driver is getting $1 of that delivery charge, as Jackie says, then it’s essentially a mandatory tip in my book.

      (And I’ve written my opinions on the oxymoron known as the “mandatory tip” here before.)

      • 37

        Morgan says

        Go deliver and experience it for your self. Before the delivery fee drivers were still earning money per delivery.

    • 39

      jillmarie says

      Please don’t stiff the driver. They still deserve a fair tip. It’s a large portion of what they make. They really are not paid much. I used to work for Dominoes.

    • 41

      Len Penzo says

      Say it ain’t so, KC! Is it because of the cheese? I’ve had some tasty pizza before that was made without cheese.

  7. 42

    Jenny says

    What really bothers me are the places that advertise “free delivery – 10% discount for pickup”. That is not free delivery. The cost of delivery is the lack of the discount. I see this mostly at Chinese food restaurants.

    (To be clear, I don’t mind the discount for pickup setup, in fact I think I prefer it to the charge for delivery setup. It is the false statement of ‘free delivery’ that bothers me.)

    • 43

      Len Penzo says

      I’m with you, Jenny. These pizza places advertising pizza specials that get 98% of their business via delivery are being deceptive by not mentioning their delivery fees.

      Think about it: That $11 Papa John’s pizza special is 25 percent higher than advertised in my hometown after adding in the previously unmentioned delivery fee.

      I’ll quit squawking after they drop the delivery fee and advertise their pizza “special” at $13.75.

  8. 44

    Jennifer says

    I owned a pizza restaurant for over 11 years. We hated when we had to add the delivery fee, but our drivers actually requested it. It happened when gas prices really started to spike. I can honestly say that 100% of the delivery fee went directly to the drivers. When our customers questioned the fee and we explained, they understood, especially after they found out that it all went to the driver. The drivers also told us that their tips didn’t change either. The other independent pizza place down the street also started to charge a delivery fee after we did, but unfortunately, none of the fee went to the drivers! We were firm believers that if you charged the delivery fee, it should go to the drivers 100%

    • 45

      Len Penzo says

      I’m not surprised, Jennifer. Even I understand the concept of — and reason behind — the delivery fee. I totally get it.

      I like Jenny’s idea: Why can’t the pizzerias that offer delivery service raise their pizza prices and offer discounts for pick-up/dine-in instead?

      Now that is an honest pizza!

  9. 47

    says

    After reading this I guess the question we have to ask is “how much am I willing to pay for convenience?” You’re left with the choice between delivery or a chance for a little aerobic walk before indulging in the fatty goodness of pizza :)

  10. 49

    says

    We rarely get delivery cause the bride is too cheap to pay the fee. But since she’s the one that is too cheap,she does the pickup-so I get free delivery…(I know, nothings free.)

    • 50

      Len Penzo says

      That actually sounds like a great deal for you, Dr. Dean!

      I hope the missus lets you get at least one topping on that pizza. (Although I just love a good cheese pizza!)

  11. 51

    Kelly says

    Thought I would let you know something interesting on the subject. I delivery Dominos pizza and when the driver is in the store we get min wage. When we check out to deliver we get $4.80 an hour plus our tips when we get them and our $1.70 per run on milage. Here they charge I think $2.70 for delivery. Also if you take a double run or more the second or third run you only get 85 cents for them for milage. Thanks.

  12. 53

    says

    Whenever I buy ANYTHING I want the price upfront. I just signed up for a half marathon and there was a $2.75 “processing fee” (apparently because the gerbils who power the internet need to be fed).

    I agreed to the fee BEFORE I pressed the button to be charged. I think it should be the same for pizza.

  13. 54

    Jim says

    Do you really think you should get hot and fast delivery to your door and a lot of those doors are up 3 or more flights of stairs often times they are unshoveled or at least unsalted plus the 20 minute or more round trip drive which takes at least a couple of dollars in gas for the same price as if you come in and pick it up yourself. And then you want to not tip the poor guy. I’m a delivery man and most places i have worked for give you all or most of the delivery charge and only a dollar or 2 an hour for gas so i have been making less and less as the price of gas along with oil, tires, brakes, insurance and other costs all keep rising. I used to make 10 or 12 dollars an hour. Now i average about half that as prices of food and everything else continue to rise and delivery charges and tips do not. So by all means go clean off the car, warm it up and make the twenty minute trip to the pizza joint and pick up your food yourself and save 5 bucks or so. Do me a favour. See how that works for you.

    • 55

      Len Penzo says

      You seem to have missed the point of the article, Jim. Then again, a lot of readers who commented on this (over at MSN, not so much here) missed it too.

      I’m not railing against delivery fees per se; I’m against delivery fees being used as a way to keep pizza prices deceptively low. Based on those 260+ comments I received at MSN regarding this post so far, you getting 100% of the delivery charge is the exception — not the rule.

      • 56

        Morgan says

        But you call it sneaky. It is no secret. Delivery charges began with Pizza Hut then Papa Johns and lastly with Domino’s. It is not in neon. But it is there.

  14. 57

    Rebekah says

    This is definitely a good point! I’ve always just taken delivery charges for granted because one of my first jobs was at a pizza place, but it’s not something they usually quote you over the phone. I do a lot of my delivery ordering online, and there’s always a line for the delivery fee.
    I have three children who are three and under, so I often don’t feel like leaving the house. But if my husband is home or on his way home and can pick something up, I always avoid the fee. I’m cheap that way. I won’t tip less than $5 (well, unless the delivery is super late or something- I used to deliver pizzas, so I tip well), so I have to figure that into the cost. It gets expensive fast. One way around delivery fees with Domino’s is having a membership to Shoprunner. It’s something ridiculous, like $79 a year. I would never ever actually save that much with shipping or delivery charges, but Domino’s offered a free membership from their facebook page, and I was lucky enough to see it right away. So, free delivery for me this year! Well, except for the tip, of course.

  15. 58

    gene says

    Jeez have you never run a business! The COST for an extra employee to deliver your food is expensive. If it takes 20 minutes to do a round trip, then the driver can only make 3 deliveries per hour. If you are paying $9 per hour and collecting $9 in delivery fees, the business is still making a SMALLER profit. With matching SS costs and unemployment insurance, plus if you pay the driver some sort of gas allowance, this cuts into any gross profit. It is really simple! The restaurants that deliver would rather you picked up your food!!!! And if you can’t or don’t want to, shut up and pay the delivery fee!

    • 59

      Len Penzo says

      I know I am beginning to sound like a broken record here, but I’ll add you to the alarming list of folks who completely missed the point of the article.

      If the cost is so high, Gene, then why not just include the added expense in the price of the pizza? Is that too much to ask? Why do the pizzerias have to be so deceptive?

      • 60

        Guy says

        Because then people who pick up are subsidizing your pizza. Why should people who rather pick up pay more because you want delivery? It makes sense to charge the people that are causing them higher costs more. Don’t like it? Then drive over and pick it up yourself. They would prefer that and that is what this fee is doing, trying to get people to stop doing something that is costing them more money and get them to pick up the food themselves. Seems like the free market at work to me…

      • 61

        Dave Mitchell says

        Len,

        I see what point you are trying to drive home to everyone…let me shed some light on answering your question and easing your frustration. And I do know it is very deceptive at times as its thrown in there. But its all about the books and taxes. If you charged $13.75 to everyone instead of $11 at the end of the quarter or year you are paying more tax. If you set that extra $2 plus into a delivery charge and you have a good tax guy (like I know a lot do) that can put that somewhere else and justify it against an expense (like I know some have done), they end up with more profit. Simple as that.

        • 62

          Len Penzo says

          That makes a lot of sense, Dave. Thanks for taking the time to add (all) your comments to this thread. I appreciate you sharing your experience gained from being in the pizza business for as long as you have.

  16. 63

    hojakk says

    Len, it’s the way the article is written that is getting you so much flack.
    Do you know an English major who can edit for you?

  17. 65

    says

    Len- I can remember back in college when you could get a delicious 16 inch pizza for $4.99, no fees! Then we would walk up and down the halls of our dorm & scrape together everyone’s loose change to buy huge breadsticks at 10cents a pop! Granted it was in southwest Virginia with a low cost of living (and 1993), but still!

    So what do you think about Burger King starting fast food delivery. Think that’s got legs?

  18. 67

    cs says

    But you forget that you are only charged that once per delivery no matter how many piazzas so it would be impractical to have it built I.to the cost of the pizza

    • 68

      Len Penzo says

      While I understand where you’re coming from, that doesn’t make it impractical, cs.

      It will be just another cost of doing business that helps determine the ultimate price of the pizza. And it’s unique impact on the price of the pizza will be irrelevant to consumers.

    • 69

      Len Penzo says

      While I understand where you’re coming from, that doesn’t make it impractical, cs.

      It will be just another cost of doing business that helps determine the ultimate price of the pizza. And it’s unique impact on the price of the pizza will be irrelevant to consumers.

  19. 71

    Emma says

    Get sneaky back, ‘shop runner’ occasionally offers a years membership for $1 or even free. With this membership, dominos delivery is free!

  20. 72

    Nessie says

    Hi Len,
    For my family ordering pizza is a 24.00 affair including tip and worth every penny. Here’s why.
    My husband, sister and myself have cerebral palsy and cannot drive. Our Local pizzeria is an independent outfit and offers a large New York Style pie that we adore. It is also the best pizza we have ever had.
    The staff is courteous to us whenever we call, the delivery driver will come into our home to set the pie on the table (a real gift when your hands are taken up holding a walker). And it’s a bargain when you consider not having to add the price of cab fare to the restaurant. (20.00 more round trip) Long Live Garden Deli and Pizzeria, Manteo, NC. :)

  21. 73

    says

    I deliver pizza. The company I work for charges $2 for delivery. They give the driver $1 for delivering the pizza plus minimum wage. The $1 barely covers the gas, if that. The drivers have to use their own car, pay for oil changes and repairs. Usually, it takes at least one set of tires per year. Most people tip, some don’t. When you add up all the tips and divide it by the number of deliveries, the average tip is $2. If it wasn’t for the tips, there would be no way I could afford to deliver pizza.

  22. 74

    Willie says

    Well, I figured that the driver’s got part of the delivery charge, so I give less of a tip. I’ve worked at various pizza chains and depending on which night of the week it is, delivery driver’s make good money. So my solution is to give less in a tip because they charge for delivery. I already know that the driver gets a certain amount for taking the delivery, plus his hourly wages. If the company keeps the delivery charge, I feel bad.

  23. 75

    Robert says

    Hey Len, What about the umbrella coverage we have to carry on all drivers. Just incase their insurance doesn’t cover. Do your homework Len before you start shooting your mouth off. It’s not cheep to have 18 year olds delivering pizza

  24. 76

    Alex says

    The change in cost of gas is completely ignored in this article. The change in cost of delivery although slightly disproportionate to change in gas prices largely reflects increasing gas prices. The delivery charge pays for the driver to be employed. There are numerous different ways of paying the driver hourly/by delivery/tips.
    A reasonable article would be similar to this one but focusing on grub hub which charges a higher delivery fee and pays drivers much less than they earned before. Not only is the customer getting screwed, but so is the driver and the restaurant is paying upt 20% of the price of the food to have it delivered. That makes more sense than going after Pizza places who’s delivery charges have increased similar to pace with fuel.

    I worked briefly for a grub hub delivery sub-contractor in Chicago. Delivery charges were up to $5 and drivers were paid $3 per delivery. Please publish something about how Grub hub is Sneaky.

  25. 78

    josh says

    Well I’ve got to admit, pizza delievery fees help offset the gas price and low wage we are paid when on delieveries. I started working for fox’s pizza den and the wage while out is $4.25 + $2.25 for delievery fee + tips. So if we are given $3 tip plus that $2.25 we only make $5.25(not counting in the wage) but after driving around and maybe only making several stops a night we aren’t paid that much. Don’t complain about it because at my work it goes directly to me to compensate for gas…small tips don’t help it…

  26. 79

    Dakota Lally says

    I dont know when this was posted, but based on the comments related to gas prices, i have followed it though about 5 years. As of now, april 9th, of 2013, gas prices are around $3.30-4.35 per gallon. I have worked for pizza hut for 2.5 years, i started out as a cook, and about 6 months ago, i became a shift manager. I have always been interested in the business side, as i plan to be an accountant, so i talk to the store manager about things, and try to learn stuff. I feel i havea pretty good grasp on this delivery charge concept, and hope to shed some light on some people.
    When i started, there was a $2 delivery charge. Pizza Hut is a franchise, here in Olathe, KS, we charged $2, it increased to $2.50 a few months ago. NPC owns most of the stores around the country, they charge $2.75. In Olathe, drivers get $1 per delivery, whether it be accross the street, or the max of 10 miles round trip. At NPC, the driver got paid per mile, something low, like 11cents. At $3.50 per gallon, at 20MPG, the max spent on gas is $1.75, the max reimbursed is $1.11, so on some deliveries, and a lot, in Olathe, drivers are losing money. Add on top of that, the cost of maintaining a vehicle – delivering pizzas takes a large toll on your car. You drive as fast as possible, and as hard on your car as you can, to try to make it to that house aas quick as possible, in hope that you will get a tip – not a large tip, but any tip. It hurts your car, you have to change oil every 3000 miles, change your brakes more often, change tires, it takes a lot! Drivers in most of the country make $4.25/hour on the road, and $7.25/hour in the store. This income, I would say goes towards the maintenance and the gas. If a driver makes no tips throughout the day, they pretty much breakeven, they made no money, but they lost none either. So all of their actual earnings, comes from tips. I have seen some good drivers that make more than the store general manager, that is a pretty good salary… But they still do a hard job, and deserve it, in my opinion. I am jealous, because they make more than me, but at the same time, it is more of a risk, I make $9 an hour, their income isnt gauranteed, as they dont know how many deliveries they will take, how well they will get tipped, if their engine will die on them, i know what i will make. They get more, because it is uncertain, it is a gamble, it is stressful.
    For the business side, drivers in Olathe, get $1 per deliver, the rest of the $2.50 goes to the store, this covers their $7.25/hr payout to the drivers, the cost of buying new delivery bags every year, the cost of liability insurance for the drivers, and many other costs. It is not free to offer delivery service, the store sees little profit from the markup, and the drivers are only reimbursed to a breakeven point.
    Bottom line: tip your drivers, 15% minimum, they work a hard job. ignore the delivery charge, as it is life, costs of business go up, and they have to charge you more. Every company wants to offer $10 pizza now, but it doesnt cost $5 to make a pizza, Overall, it costs a lot more. The driver doesnt see all of this fee, tip them. The company wants to survive, let them charge you a couple bucks for the convenience. Maybe if the economy improves, it will go away, maybe not, but it is a tough world for everyone. Be courteous to the people who service you.

  27. 80

    Generic says

    it’s obviously the greed of the pizza companies. you know for sure that the people at the top are not going to lose $$..at all costs. gigantic corporations could buy their employees cars,etc, but they choose not to because of greed and charge an additional fee that they keep half of in their own pocket. ripping the employees and the customer’s off in the meantime.
    we all know that. the employees know that. everyone knows that.
    GREED is the center of it all. welcome to slavery. haha.
    -the end.

  28. 81

    says

    I’m a delivery driver and the delivery charge is based on the distance the driver has to drive… for example if I have to drive 4 miles one-way to make a delivery we charge $3.75 if my delivery is within 1 mile of the store the charge is $2.00 when we take down all the info “address phone number etc..” the computer system checks Google maps for distance and such and the area in which we deliver is all marked out in zones… zone 1 zone 2 etc… zone 4 being the farthest we deliver. as a driver we get paid 1.25 for any deliveries in zones 1 and 2… 1.75 in zone 3 and 2.50 in zone 4

  29. 82

    joe giordano says

    I can’ t believe that these multi-million dollar corps want to nickle and dime there customers …we pick up there pizza…do we pay a walk in charge?….so why a delivery charge?….same product….if the delivery charge went to the person delivering it….i am all for it….but from what i understand it doesn’t….so basically if everyone picked up there pizza instead of having it delivered….these multi million dollar corps will lose money….

  30. 84

    Matt says

    Just paid $3.49 “Delivery Fee” for a single pizza from Papa Johns in Washington… Driver confirmed that he received only minimum wage from the pizza shop, and nothing per delivery.

    I remember when It was a dollar, two dollars, then two fifty… but $3.49… I’m sure it will be four dollars soon.

    It’s a sad state of affairs…

    • 85

      Matt says

      And just to be clear — I gave the driver a $3.50 tip as well
      (Don’t want it to sound like I stiffed the driver! :) )

    • 86

      Emily says

      Matt, often drivers will tell customers they receive nothing in hopes of getting your tip. If a driver only made $8/hr, they’d probably seek employment elsewhere. There’s no way minimum wage would cover their expenses.

  31. 87

    says

    With all these comments, I am appalled at the complaints for pizza delivery fees. Do you forget the convenience of getting food delivered. If you go to a restaurant, you will wait for service, get seated, wait for the food to be cooked, then tip the server 15% if the bill. For pizza drivers they are lucky to get a lousy $2 bucks. If you want to really avoid the fees and the tip, just used your own car, time and gasoline to pick up your pizza. Consider the service convenient and the $3 fee does not even compared?

  32. 91

    E. says

    So if every other pizza joint is selling $10 pizzas, you want one to “step up” and charge $12 but discard the delivery fee? Any guesses what would happen to that company?

    There’s very little brand loyalty in the pizza business. People will go where they get the best price, period.

    As a pizza franchisee, I am caught between what specials corporate blasts all over TV and social media (usually a loss leader, emphasis on the “loss”), and trying to make sure my drivers get enough compensation to keep them viable. Enter the delivery charge.

    Let the record show my drivers make minimum wage, and of the $2 delivery charge, they get $1.50 per run, regardless of distance. My driver turnover is very low because we take care of our employees. The other $0.50 per delivery offsets my increasing liability insurance. And I mean offsets, it doesn’t even come close to paying for the increases we’ve seen in the last 3 years.

    Absolutely, if the delivery charge sticks in your craw so badly, stop in. We’d love to see you. But if you want to avoid crappy weather, getting out of your jammies, traffic, cold cars, hot cars, etc etc, don’t complain. We truly would not have instituted a delivery charge if people were consistent tippers.

    Oh, and our drivers have gotten up to $1.75 of that delivery charge when gas topped $4/gal. So, at least here, that shoots the hole in that argument.

    Greedy corporate monsters, indeed. Step into my shoes, bucko, and see how greedy I am. Me and my 14-year-old car, we’re living the high life…

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