I’m not sure why owners do this: having a delivery fee that doesn’t go to the driver really fucks us over. First of all, no other employee is paid from any sort of fee. Not the bartender, not a waitperson, no a phone person, not even a cook. So why then is the driver’s pay supplemented by a service we’re largely paying for ourselves by having the car, putting our own gas in it, taking care of all the repairs, and so forth? No other employee has to do that, and yet we’re partially being paid by that fee. Most places give something for gas, but it’s never even close to what it should be. It should be the IRS mileage rate, especially since most employers try to be slick and deduct the mileage rate, even though they never paid us for it. That rate in CT this year is 55 cents a mile. So if the delivery were 18 miles round trip, and yes, we really do take deliveries that far, then my “gas money” for the trip should be $9.90. Instead, it’s usually something along the lines of 50 cents to a dollar, tops.
Here’s the bigger problem: customers see that money and assume it goes to us. Often it’s between $1.50 and $2. Of that we might get 30%. So the employer is making an additional 70% profit on that fee we provided. So if your order were $30,a good tip would be around $4.50 Some people will deduct that delivery charge and give us maybe $3 instead. So we wind up with $3 to $3.50 for a $30 order on a trip that took an half an hour with traffic. Now you have to deduct what we used in gas, and we’ll skip the wear and tear. On my car, I get 20 miles a gallon. So that’s almost a gallon of gas to take that delivery. So it cost me $4 to bring you the delivery that you gave me $3 for. So I lost a dollar right there. If i get 50 cents from my employer I only lost 50 cents for the delivery. If my hourly pay is $7, in that half an hour I made $3.50, but since I lost 50 cents, now I only made $3 for that half hour.
If you do the math and figure out averages, it can really piss you off because if every situation were like that, we would make $6 an hour after gas, making the job just not worth it. It’s the good customers who understand all that, that make it worth doing most of the time. The people who give a $10 tip for a $30 order because they know they live 9 miles from the store. Or the people who give a little extra when it’s raining, or snowing, or really hot or cold. Those people bring up the average and our hourly pay will go way up.
That doesn’t excuse the owners who screw us over with delivery charges we don’t get 100% of, especially the ones who give you nothing for it. And it doesn’t excuse the customers who know how far they are or what the weather is, but are too cheap to give what they should. The example I used above is a high percentage. We should get 15% at every delivery, the same as waiters do. We have much more risk, and way more expenses than they do. The sad truth of the matter is a lot of you won’t tip us 15%, or even 10%. Those of you who are like that average between 3% and 5% which is just pathetic. We remember you, and we take your orders last. We also don’t go the extra mile, or are extra nice. We tried it before and it seems like you’re in league with the owner to price us out of work. Which is fine, we can find other jobs, but that means you’ll have to get off your lazy asses and go pick up your food.

The Driver (Adam Smith)

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“Kick Rocks” Pizza Delivery Nightmares by Adam Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License

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