There is a long-standing debate about how much to tip pizza delivery drivers and other service-oriented personnel. This is a major topic of interest for me. My wife says that I overtip, but I don’t believe that I do. I have an appreciation for the people who provide services to me that make my experiences convenient. In many of these instances, the individual who is providing the service is not handsomely compensated by their employer. Whether it is a waiter/waitress, a car detailer, or pizza delivery person, there should be an adequate tipping rate based on the services rendered and the amount spent.
The debate generally surrounds how much is enough when tipping certain people. Here we are focusing on pizza delivery drivers. It is important to understand that while a tip is not obligatory in most instances, to not tip is considered rude and inconsiderate. In the case of the wait staff at restaurants, many establishments have implemented a minimum gratuity for large parties, which I personally believe to be reasonable.
When it comes to delivery services, if you do not want to pay the gratuity, then order pickup instead. There is a misconception that the delivery fee that many restaurants are adding replaces the tip, but it does not. Rarely does any part of the delivery fee end up in the driver’s hand, so it should not be considered as part of the tip.
So, what do you tip a pizza delivery driver? If the delivery order totals $20 or less, you should tip a minimum of $3.00. If the amount exceeds $20.00 then it is customary to tip between 10 to 15 percent, but the amount should never be lower than $5.00. While there is a $3 minimum on orders less than $20, it should not be automatic. Reward drivers that are on time and polite throughout the delivery experience. The minimum is for average service that was not impressive.
My wife considers me to be an above average tipper, and she is likely right. I simply believe that most people who earn tips depend heavily on them. In other words, people who earn tips are not being paid middle-class salaries — the tips are what makes the difference for them. With this in mind, it should be understood that there are certain times in which it is reasonable to tip more than what is set forth above. First, consider your delivery driver to be a mobile waiter/waitress — meaning that tipping is not optional.
There are situations and conditions in which a larger tip is more appropriate. One time that I definitely tip more is when the driver has to navigate inclement weather to get me my food. Conditions such as rain, hail, snow sleet, and the like are potentially hazardous, and the driver should be rewarded for taking the risks.
If the distance from the restaurant to your home or office is more than five miles that is something else that should be considered and a larger tip is more than likely the appropriate thing to do. Additionally, during peak times or during the televised presentations of a sporting event where drivers are forced to work faster and harder to get orders delivered while they are still hot should merit a higher tip than normal.
If you are wondering why tipping pizza delivery drivers or any type of food delivery driver is so important, it is because they likely make minimum wage, or close to it. Federal dictates that if an employees salary, plus tips, does not add up to the Federal minimum wage, the employer has to make up the difference. This is why many restaurants charge a minimum delivery fee. What should be understood is that there is no state in the entire nation in which minimum wage is sufficient to sustain the essentials. By tipping using these guidelines, you are playing a significant role in ensuring that everyone has the ability to live a quality life when they do their job well. The convenience that comes with pizza and food delivery is not essential, it is something that you should be willing to pay for based on the level of the service delivered. Far too many people view this convenient service as a privilege, which is unfortunate.
Written by Rick Wallace
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