Delivery Driver Pay - Minimum vs Tipped Minimum?

Can somebody please explain to me why drivers cannot be paid at the tipped employee minimum vs. regular minimum like a server (assuming they do NOT perform any kitchen duties?

Before any drivers go postal on me let me explain that I am not trying to take advantage of anyone here…my delivery guys are making great money and never leave. My drivers are currently paid $9.15/hr in the wonderful state of CT and average over $3.50 per delivery (many of which are multiple orders per run). I have 4 company owned vehicles where I pay for the gas & insurance so there is no out-of-pocket costs. On weekends when it is busy I reimburse the additional drivers $1.50 each order so they average approx. $5 per delivery. My drivers are staffed so all they do is deliveries…they do not even put together their order other than grab drinks/desserts!! In the rare instance they do not have a delivery ready they could occupy themselves making boxes, but they do not do any other kitchen duties other than the last driver takes empties the trash bins for the servers at the end of the night. My guys do no less than 20 deliveries per shift.

I understand if I have them doing dishes & cutting pizzas, but it seems to me that the tipped employee minimum of $5.78 in CT combined with their CREDIT CARD TIPS ALONE would more than cover the difference. Just a footmote than I do not even want to go that low…for the last 8 yrs I have been paying the regular minimum but after the last increase and with it going to $10 soon I think this is getting ridiculous…I get it for my guys in the kitchen…I pay them alot more than minimum cross the board.


Short answer is they can be paid the tipped minimum. I have no knowledge about CT but you will find that most shops around the country pay drivers a “tipped” minimum wage. Talk to your accountant.

We pay our drivers $6 per hour which is above the tipped minimum but below the regular minimum. Good luck with the transition though.

If i would provide a delivery vehicle id pay a tip minimum and not a penny more… We have a chineese rest. Nextdoor and they pay 3.5 an hour and 2 bucks per delivery( that they charge a customer) and the driver drives his own car with all his expenses.
we pay 7 plus a dollar per delivery and my drivers do anything i need them to- from cooking to cleaning.

We are one of the lucky ones out here in California. No tipped wages. We don’t have to worry about any of that stuff. My very top driver at our busiest store hurt his shoulder in an accident a couple of weeks ago and has to miss a month of work. He is getting his lost wages thru his insurance co but its delayed for a couple of months. Me being the nice guy that I am offer to loan him the months pay so he can keep his bills up to date. I just needed to know his take home pay per week with tips. Well it’s $1100 per week. Holy Cow

In a good store a full time driver will make between that and as much as 1800. Must be nice!

I don’t get why they keep the delivery fee if they are using your vehicles. I gave my drivers the delivery fee but they were using their own cars, gas, insurance, ect. I paid them regular wage to offset the fact that tipping is hit and miss here.

I keep trying to figure out a way to make delivery break even but it just keeps costing us money to do it, which is why we quit about a year ago.

The way i do it, and is similar to every place i have ever worked. We charge a delivery fee now, this does not go to the driver. It is used to compensate me for the added insurance i am required by law to carry. When a customer asks we explain that the delivery fee is to cover the added insurance cost of doing delivery.

As for the driver compensation, i pay 5.25% of the pre tax total. I pay above the tipped min wage for CO, but below regular min wage (with the exception of my day driver) for hourly wages.

Most of my drivers avg $5 a run, 3 to 4 runs an hour during the rush and they are pulling in $21 an hour on the low side.

Typically, part of the delivery charge goes to the store and part goes to the driver. For example, if there’s a $3 delivery charge, $1.50 may go to the store, and $1.50 to the driver. This is to help the store with the added costs of delivery, including the added labor, payroll taxes, the extra insurance and workman’s comp that the store incurs, and to help the driver with fuel, maintenance and insurance costs that the driver incurs.

If the driver is using your vehicle, which you are fueling and maintaining, and is on your insurance, the driver is not incurring those expenses, and should not be compensated for them. Either the driver uses their own car and insurance and is partially compensated for those costs with part of the delivery charge, or the driver uses a company vehicle and the company is compensated for those costs with the full amount of the delivery charge.

If you’re paying your drivers $9.15 an hour, reimbursing them with another $1.50 per delivery for fuel, vehicle and insurance expenses that you’re incurring, and they’re making tips on 20 deliveries a night, it’s no wonder you’ve never lost a driver. The fact that they’re not helping out in the store in any way is just salting the wound. I’m guessing you have applications stacked to the ceiling.

As long as their rate of pay plus tips is equal to or greater than the legal minimum wage, you are within the law.

There’s absolutely no reason for them not to be able to answer phones, assemble orders, wash dishes, fold boxes, clean, and sweep and mop the floors when they’re not out on a delivery. That comes with the territory. The idea that they hired in as delivery drivers, and therefore the only thing they should be expected to do is take deliveries is outrageous. Once again, as long as their combined income is equal to or greater than the minimum wage, you are within the law.


Hometown & OSV thanks for the response but its only the guys on the weekend that drive their own cars get an additional $1.50.

My new accountant tried calling the state for clarification and all he would get is that they have to be paid at the higher rate for whatever reason…just trying to cover my ass so it seems that I am good as long as their tips cover the gap…thanks!

Hometown, i dont think anyone breaks even especially if you have your own vehicles but for us the advertising having a fleet of 4 wrapped vehicles buzzing around town all day & night is priceless. Also the increase in volume keeps my guys busy all day and night and adds to the bottom line so it is definitely worth it if it is run properly.

OSV, I do have have a ton of applications waiting to be filled even without the extra $1.50…there is a reason as to why I don’t have these knuckleheads do more, but that is for a different post and another drink


I’m guessing that CT set up its min wage and considered the gratuities only for Wait and Bartenders:

-2. What is the minimum wage for Service employees (waitpersons and bartenders)?
The minimum wage for service employees is $9.15 per hour with a gratuity allowance of 36.8% of the minimum wage for waitpersons and $9.15 per hour with a gratuity allowance of 18.5% of the minimum wage for bartenders The base wage remains at $5.78 per hour and $7.46 for bartenders. IMPORTANT NOTE: All state and federal taxes are required to be paid based on at least the $8.15 minimum wage (gross wages).

The labor poster has more:

© “SERVICE EMPLOYEE” means any employee whose duties relate solely to the serving of food and/or beverage to patrons seated at tables or booths, and to the performance of duties incidental to such service, and who customarily receives gratuities. For the purpose of this order, a person shall not be considered to customarily receive gratuities unless a minimum of $10.00 per week in gratuities is received in the case of full- time employees, or $2.00 per day in the case of parttime employees, as evidenced by signed statements of the employee, stating unequivocally that such worker did receive gratuities as herein required, which must be maintained as part of the records of the employer.
(d) “NON-SERVICE EMPLOYEE” means an employee other than a service employee as herein defined. A non-service employee includes, but is not limited to, countergirls, counterwaitresses, countermen, counterwaiters and those employees serving food or beverage to patrons at tables or booths and who do not customarily receive gratuities as defined above.
(e) “GRATUITIES” means a voluntary monetary contribution received by the employee directly from a guest, patron or customer for service rendered.
Sec. 31-62-E3. GRATUITIES AS PART OF THE vMINIMUM FAIR WAGE. Gratuities may be recognized as constituting a part of the minimum fair wage when all of the following provisions are complied with:
(a) The employee must be engaged in an employment in which gratuities have customarily and usually constituted and have been recognized as part of his remuneration for hiring purposes and
(b) The amount received in gratuities claimed as credit for part of the minimum fair wage must be recorded on a weekly basis as a separate item in the wage record even though payment is made more frequently and
© Each employer claiming credit for gratuities as part of the minimum fair wage paid to any employee shall obtain weekly a statement signed by the employee attesting that he has received in gratuities the amount claimed as a credit for part of the minimum fair wage. Such statement shall contain the week ending date of the payroll week for which credit is claimed. Gratuities received in excess of 34.6% in 2014 and 36.8% in 2015, 2016 and 2017 for service employees and 15.6% in 2014 and 18.5% in 2015, 2016 and 2017 for bartenders need not be reported or recorded for the purposes of this regulation.

So, I’m reading it as drivers aren’t considered “service employees” in CT because they aren’t serving food to those seated at booths or tables and they aren’t Bartenders.