A few friends of mine and I have had this ongoing discussion about proper tipping etiquette when it comes to pizza delivery. I called several local pizza places to find out how the drivers get paid, and what kind of tip to leave to not be a total loser. 

I recently ordered pizza while at a friend's house, and paid with my card. I forgot to add tip, only had $2 in cash and felt like a total loser for under tipping the driver on a $30 order. On top of it all, I was getting my hair done, so I looked like a mad woman in my PJ's, my friend's dog was barking, and OF COURSE the delivery person recognized my name and probably thinks I'm a total POS. This happened like a month ago, (maybe longer) and I'm still humiliated by the fact that some hardworking nice young man got a crappy tip. I've worked for tips for several years, and while I never expect them or treat anyone who doesn't tip any differently, I do understand that the tips are really how the majority of the money is made.

When I told my friends Jenny and Aaron, they told me their tip etiquette, and it got me thinking. Jenny says she tips a pretty good percentage of the total order price. Aaron says, no way, $2 is it every single time because if he has to pay to have it delivered, he's not going to pay much more to have it delivered. He says that's just like paying your waitress to waitress then tipping her too. I see both sides of the story, and have never known where that delivery fee actually goes. I called around to see what the different establishments do and the results were quite astonishing.

I sat right here at my desk and called several pizza joints in the area including, Hungry Howie's, Happy's, Little Caesars, Pizza Hut, Domino's, Jet's and Cottage Inn. I found out that at most of these places, the driver only gets a small portion of the delivery fee. Every place is different, and without getting too specific, it ranged from 1/5 to 1/2 of a fee which ranged from $3 - $5. One place said their drivers only make $4.50 hourly, and do not get a cut of their delivery fee, so tips are what they rely on. Another place said the whole $3.50 goes to the driver, but did not tell me their hourly. (I didn't want to get too nosey.)

What happens to the rest of the delivery fee, you ask? Well, since these delivery people are using their own cars, the rest of the fee often goes into an insurance fund IN CASE something happens, so they don't have to file it with their own personal insurance companies. That's in case something happens.

(I want you to know that while I was typing this article, a coworker showed up with pizza for all of us, and I found that quite ironic. Now I'm full, yet wondering if it was pick-up or delivery.)

So, I have learned that it is best to give your pizza person a good tip. I couldn't imagine driving to the houses of folks I don't know, holding their dinner. I'm far too terrified of people to ever attempt that job, so I respect anyone in this profession. After my extensive research, I feel even crappier about giving such a bad tip.

Dear friendly delivery driver at the Hungry Howie's on Corunna Road in Flint,

It was a strange situation, and I didn't mean to under tip you. I hope you can forgive me, and not think forever that your friendly neighborhood DJ is incredibly tacky. If you know this person and are reading this article, please pass the word on. Thanks.


Andrea Love

(Ham, mushroom, and tomato are my favorite pizza toppings, in case you were wondering. You probably weren't.)