Re-Thinking Delivery Charges Off Topic

Re-Thinking Delivery Charges

To me, the delivery charge is for the drivers. We charge $1.50 and they get the whole amount. While gas and upkeep of a vehicle has doubled, if not tripled in the last 20 years, customers still tip the same $0, $2, $3, $5 they did 20 years ago.

Re: Re-Thinking Delivery Charges

  Don't know about your location but down here tips have most definitely increased in the last 20 years.  20 years ago our average tip was under $1. Today our average tip is in the $3 range.

Re: Re-Thinking Delivery Charges

Howdy folks and greetings from Pittsburgh, PA!!! Sadly, some of you folks are missing the point of delivery charges as it relates to the driver. The delivery charge is not equal to mileage reiumbursement in any way, shape, or form. It never has, and never will be. Drivers made “per run” reiumbursements long before delivery charges were the norm. For a shop operator to say that the delivery charge is “for the driver” is sadly mistaken. Instead, the delivery charge is “free and clear” money added to the total of the bill in lieu of raising prices. The shop gets the money. If a shop chooses to turn that money around and use it for mileage reiumbursement, that is up to them. With “free” delivery, the shop pays mileage reiumbursement (instead of the customer, albeit indirectly). With “free” delivery, the customers are not upset, or confused into thinking the delivery charge is the “tip.” Yes, I will agree that the customers that do tip have started tipping a bit more that in the past (I have been delivering off and on for 13 years) but I suppose they assume that although pizza prices remain stable due to competition, the drivers monthly bills has increased as much as theirs has. In addition, while tips have (slightly) increased overall, mileage reiumbursements have not equaled the rise in gas and car maintenance. Furthermore, wages (in general) have remained stagnant at best since my first days in 1997. Questions for the board:

  1. How can delivery charges be eliminated without causing a dramatic price increase, affecting operators, drivers and customers?

  2. Do you feel it is ok for employees (drivers included) to tell a customer about delivery charges as they relate to their order and/or do you feel that the driver should be able to mention tips to a customer if they make sub-minumum wages and both the employer and the driver threfore count on tips to make above minimum wage?

Note: I would have posted the ideas I convey to the drivers forum but the topic was brought up here so I went with it. I look forward the the candid and healthy discusssion. Thank you.

Re: Re-Thinking Delivery Charges

Unless there is a legal definition of what a ‘delivery charge’ is then what the delivery charge is, was and will be is totally up to the business owner.

One business owner, which you quoted, has told you that for him it is for the drivers - so he’s not ‘missing the point’ at all. In his business it has a direct relation to the driver.

In answer to your questions:

  1. Unless the business can afford to lose the revenue then a delivery charge can’t be eliminated without some form of price increase.

  2. No real idea on the sub minimum wage bit as I pay over min wage but I don;t think soliciting tips is ever going to do any good. If a business has a delivery charge (I don’t) then it should be able to clearly explain what the charge is for. I noticed someone posted about Domino’s statement on their website.

Funny, reading your post reminds me of someone.

Re: Re-Thinking Delivery Charges

The delivery charge is defined by the shop. It is simply a way of adding extra cost to the order without raising prices. It is indeed totally up to the shop owner. Your answer to 1) states that the delivery charge is revenue, which it indeed is. The charge (revenue) may be turned around and implemented as mileage reiumbursement, but the two are independent of one another.

If I remind you of another poster, so be it. But I assure you that I will not be posting and quoting laws ad nauseum. But as other posters have done, I will speak the truth as I see it and voice my humble opinion in a clear and professional manner, as I believe they (he) have/has done. I am pro business, and pro driver. What helps the store helps the driver. But at the same time, we should never see any employee get the the short end of hte stick due to unclear charges. What may seem clear as day to you may not seem so to the customer, and that may cost not only a driver a tip, but also the shop a customer.

Re-Thinking Delivery Charges

PPG2270 - With all due respect, please take note that I didn’t mention anything about driver compensation in my original post. If 100% of our delivery fee was given to the driver, or if 0% of our delivery fee was given to the driver, everything I posted would remain the same.

My points have nothing to do with driver compensation whatsoever.

If I keep my delivery charge or if I change to free delivery, my driver compensation will not change.

So, again with all due respect, let’s not make this into a driver compensation thread - as it clearly has absolutely nothing to do with my original post. Thanks!

Re-Thinking Delivery Charges

Hello Registered Guest! You mention negative interactions with customers due to delivery charges. Who is your representative at the door? Who is going to hear the feedback from the customer? Who is not going to receive a tip based on negative interactions over conufusion about, or being upset over, delivery charges? Your post has everything to do with driver compensation as much as it does every aspect of customer service vs. eating costs associated with eliminating the delivery charge. While I am not suggesting you make your decision solely based on whether a disgruntled customer will tip a driver, but it needs to be taken into consdieration. Question for you:

Do you make your customers aware that that the delivery charge is a fee paid to the store simply for the convenience of delivery and is not associated with the suggested tip? This is clearly a headache that goes away with the elimination of the delivery charge.

Note: Whether or not you have a delivery charge does not affect the mileage reiumbursement, so you are correct. You are correct because the two have nothing to do with one another. If you have $0 delivery charge or $100 per order, the customer does not pay mileage, you do.

Re: Re-Thinking Delivery Charges

And what does any of that have to do with minimum wage, mileage compensation or anything related to that? If I paid my drivers $20/hr and $10/run - they would still be my representative at the door and might still hear the feedback.

Of course, this is possible and is probable. But again, since I’m not going to consider driver compensation in my thought process on delivery charges, it is not something I care to discuss. I will concede that it is likely that anger over a delivery charge will result in a smaller or no tip.

If asked, we clearly explain how the delivery charge is distributed.

Re-Thinking Delivery Charges

I have edited this post upon request of the moderators. I am a new poster, and the moderators have proven it.

On topic, I feel that the should delivery charges be eliminated/not implemented, as delivery charges create confusion.

Confusion for the customer: The price is not what the menu price says, leading to the customer being upset and not re-ordering and/or treating the store employees with respect.

Confusion for the employee: Is it clearly defined what each employee is supposed to say to a customer (on the phone, at the door, during a complaint, etc.?) Unless each employee knows exactly how to handle the situation, inconsistencies may arise.

Confusion for the competition: Offer and advertise free delivery. Of course, some intial monies may be lost, but how much will be gained when the shop across the street refuses to stop delivery charges and the customer wants free delivery. There may not even be a need to raise prices, as the volume of customers leaving the other places will make up for it. Nothing says profit like high volume, regardless of the % gained from each order.

Personally, I have found it much easier to explain a price increase (cheese has gone up, gas has gone up, sorry but we need to stay competitive, etc.) than to explain a delivery charge. People understand inflation, what they do not understand is why they are being charged for something that previously was “free”.

Re: Re-Thinking Delivery Charges

Please tell me that sarcasm is a friend of yours, otherwise WOW.

Re-Thinking Delivery Charges the off topic part

I can’t believe it but I am opening up my big mouth. :shock: The bottom line here is that everyone here has a first priority to take care of. MAKE A PROFIT. Without this…none of the owners, cooks, or drivers would have anything to post about here. It is not fair to ever compair the product that most of the indies are putting out against the big guys because they are like apples and oranges. Your pizza cost is probably what PH sells their pizza for. So lets not even talk about selling prices or the profits that the owners rake in. You can not compare the two. As far as they reflect upon each other when you start adding in delivery fees… well… first drivers should be hired to deliver pizza and do what ever else the manager or owners asks of them at their place of employment. Last time I checked there was no restrictions upon drivers to do other work related duties and I would not keep employed a non-cross trainable employee. Drivers should be paid at least minimum wage and tips are a bonus above and beyond your base pay for the service you are providing. Now… the kicker… is it fair for the owner to eat the cost of delivering the pizza so the driver can get a tip? Maybe the driver should split the tips with the owners to help cover the free delivery? Only after reimbursement for actually delivery expenses. Before you all loose it on that one… do not take that seriously… at least the split the tip part. Maybe a good POS system that gives an accurate mileage for the delivery and charges the IRS accepted reimbursement rate per mile. What a pain since every order would differ…but how fair. Now you have an employee that works for a set rate…get the approved by law rate for mileage… and tips on top of that. What would be left to complain about? I know this is kind of off base…sorry to the regulars… but just making some valid points… or at least trying too… How to charge and not get an earfull everytime is another trick. People want free everything. Yes they think it’s free from the big boys and so it must be from you. I know you all have the loud mouth people that will complain no matter what… but what percentage of your business is that really. I get a big laugh about Dave down under and people paying upwards of ten dollars for deliveries. But it is fair bacause of the distance. Why should I have to pay for gas and time for your convenience. You already want my pizza for nothing and now you want me to bring it too you also? Shall I stick around and wipe your…face? :shock: Pizza is actually a really good value for a family to have dinner but not many stand back and look at it that way. A good pizza with quality toppings and maybe a good salad can provide a nutrious meal for 4 all for what…$25? That’s about the same as drive-thru at McDonalds for 4. I know I am wondering a bit…but this is a much larger issue than just the tip or delivery charge., I think as a business owner each operation needs to work at educating their customers about what they are getting for what they pay. Not just the basic description…make an ad campaign about the quality of your product and what is really being put on their table. :!:

Re: Re-Thinking Delivery Charges

[quote="qcfmike well… first drivers should be hired to deliver pizza and do what ever else the manager or owners asks of them at their place of employment. Last time I checked there was no restrictions upon drivers to do other work related duties and I would not keep employed a non-cross trainable employee. Drivers should be paid at least minimum wage and tips are a bonus above and beyond your base pay for the service you are providing. Now… the kicker… is it fair for the owner to eat the cost of delivering the pizza so the driver can get a tip? Maybe the driver should split the tips with the owners to help cover the free delivery? quote]

With all the heat I received for being “off-topic”, this goes way beyond anything that I said. But since YOU brought it up, here goes:

First and foremost, it is my opinion that if drivers are to do the same work as insiders while inside, they should be paid as such. You mention that drivers should be paid at least minimum wage, and I commend you for that. However, the said truth is that many, if not most, drivers at this time are under tip credit rules. When I worked at Pizza Hut in 1997 (for example) the drivers got the minimum wage of $5.15 and the wait staff were paid tip credit. I realized that PH still pays minimum to drivers (right now anyway), but I am just using this as an example. The drivers, paid minimum, washed the dishes (that the eat-in customers used, having nothing to do with delivery), prepped the pans, made the dough, unloaded the truck, took out trash, swept the parking, etc., while the sub-minimum wait staff did nothing but wait on tables and occasionally folded silverware into napkins while yelling “I need dishes.” Yes, they got away with it. They did so because theywere paid to wait on tables, and were getting $2.13 per hour to do so. Why should drivers, therefore, getting sub-min do anything but drive?

If a driver is sub-min, it is illegal for an owner to take (or split) tips. Period. If the driver is minimum, he/she can split tips when the owner shares his profit check.

As far as the owner eating the costs of delivery to allow the driver to get a tip, this goes back to the original topic. Apparently, somewhere along the way someone decided that this was not going to happen, and implemented a delivery charge, to feed profits in disregard of the driver. The rest followed suit like (forgive the pun) dominos.

Re: Re-Thinking Delivery Charges

Well maybe you should quote the part about not taking the splitting of the tips seriously next time? Again…sorry regulars if going off here… I tried to get back in the end of my post with some thoughts and also in a pm I sent RG with an idea… but I don’t know about any of you… but if a delivery person came to my door and started asking for a tip or talking about his sub-minimum wage… it would probably make me not order from that restaurant again. I think drivers need to realize they do represent the business and if they say things that are not appropriate and make customers feel uncomfortable it really hurts them too. I will stand by my feeling of drivers are employees and should do whatever they are asked to do while on the clock. I do not know of a single operation that pays drivers under minimum wage. Do any of you pay sub-min? Just to touch on a comment… does a server not have to do other tasks in a restaurant while not serving tables? WOW… how every restaurant would grind to a halt if they did not. The funny thing is I am getting quoted as saying something against “drivers” from us mean old greedy owners…when in reality I was actually standing up for them if the post had been read correctly. Go figure. I am going to report myself to the TT Mounties and as a closing note… funny thing is that the best pizza places around do not deliver at all. How in the world does that one work? I am talking about real businesses not some made up dream world. The best place in town…has 4 locations now… all doing over a million in sales annually… has never delivered since day one and that was 13 year ago or so. Now there is something to consider! :idea:

Re: Re-Thinking Delivery Charges

I know a few places in the Pittsburgh area that do not deliver at all. The eat-in areas are full consistently, the phones constantly ring, the prices are fair, and most important, the product is superior. I cannot, in good faith, try to tell someone whether or not delivery is a good idea, but some of the bigger companies started that way, and remain so. My only issue with the ones that deliver is that employees are paid fairly. And yes, I did see the disclaimer about splitting tips being a joke, but you still put the idea out there. Sir, that is no joke and should not be taken lightly.

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I don’t know too many people that feel like they are making exactly what they deserve. Whether they are owners, managers, drivers, servers, cooks or dishwashers I think they’d all like to be making more. I know I would ! If drivers don’t feel like they aren’t fairly compensated they would leave. I’ve owned my store for four years come August and I have yet to have a driver leave because they felt they weren’t making what was ‘fair’.

Once again the agenda of the few has taken over a thread intended for owners. What bothers me is that this whole driver compensation conversation takes up such a huge part of the TT when in the pizza world it is only an issue with a small percentage of drivers.

Note: Sorry Nick, I only saw your post after I posted mine.

Re-Thinking Delivery Charges

This point is of no merit without the input of a delivery driver who owns and maintains their own vehicle. So I will chime in. Delivery charges vary between store greatly here in Erie, PA. I have been a driver for over 20 years and I must tell you as most of you already know, depending on the franchise or independent the fee charged for delivery is directed toward the driver and the shop in some way. At the height of a newly developed independent in my town we were taking over 400 deliveries per day (with a 1 dollar delivery charge going directly to the driver) on the weekend generating upwards of 700,000 in sales alone.To not charge for delivery with gas prices escalating is ludicrous and to believe that shops do not benefit from delivery as a consumer is also ludicrous (remember the 700K in sales). Nowhere and I mean nowhere in the “FREE” world is there anything for free and as consumers which we all are, know this. As a business owner to have to deal with the occasional complaint about delivery is simply part of the business.If you truly want to keep an honest and open report with your customer base as professional business people then all charges should be posted in some form. If you have a system to track orders and you know the address is fresh at the time of the order then it should be stated as a fee and any questions the customer may have are simply answered not to mention a menu should be promptly placed in the order which hopefully states a delivery fee. As for the tips I have made a great deal of money delivering Pizza in what everyone calls a cheap town.

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Post that are “on topic” but are from a different perspective (ie. a perspective that management dosen’t want to hear) seem to disappear really fast around here. Instead of clicking on the exclamation point, provide a true and honest answer to the argument being presented. Let’s say, that a driver actually came to you in the store and said:

“The delivery charge seems to be lowering my tips because customers believe it is an automatic tip. However, we both know that this charge is free and clear money for the shop and has nothing to do with the tip or mileage. What can we do?”

Since you have no moderators to report this comment in a real-life setting, how do you answer the question?

Finally, I AM talking about delivery charges, just from a different perspective, so answer the dang question.

Re-Thinking Delivery Charges

[quote=“PPG2270”]

“The delivery charge seems to be lowering my tips because customers believe it is an automatic tip. However, we both know that this charge is free and clear money for the shop and has nothing to do with the tip or mileage. What can we do?”

So are you saying that if an owner dropped the delivery charge you would be fine just getting the tip? You wouldn’t have a problem not getting a percentage or any of the fee that would have originally been charged?

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I would tell the delivery driver that they can feel free to apply for employment elsewhere. Every other one of our drivers has been quite surprised that their tips have actually increased since our 99 cent delivery charge was started. If this particular individual doesn’t feel that their tips have also increased, there’s probably 40 other places they can feel free to go work at.

Re-Thinking Delivery Charges

I would say “Why don’t you find a new job?” Nobody is allowed to say that over at TTPG, but this isn’t TTPG. I’d never hear the above though. My current drivers 19-21 year old college students and average around $13 per hour. Their tip average is over $4.00 per order. They are more than happy and have probably never given the delivery charge a second thought.

That would be my recommendation - If you don’t like it, quit. I’ve got a big line of people willing to make 10-15 bucks per hour to sit on their *ss, listen to music and do what might be one of the easiest jobs on earth. And I delivered for a Big 3 for three years, so I speak from experience. The guys at TTPG try to make it sound like they’re stockyard workers in Sinclair’s The Jungle. Please.

Here’s the problem for drivers that want to make a “career” out of delivering pizzas - You can’t. Sorry, you probably can’t support a family on a $13 per hour, less than full time job if you’re the sole provider. And we, as owners, are not required to make it so that you can. You don’t get to pick an easy profession and then demand everybody alter their businesses so you can continue to do it forever.

This is a free market system (whether you like it or hate it), and that’s how markets work. If driver’s have it so bad they would all quit and businesses would have to make a change to retain them. That might include having to remove the delivery charge, increase wages, etc. Or they might decide to stop delivering. As it stands right now, however, there seems to be a surplus of people wanting to deliver pizzas.