Why can't I keep delivery drivers?

Hi all,

Anybody else have a problem keeping good delivery drivers on staff? I have four Cashier/Servers and all have been with us for over a year. My cooks last on average about 8 months (mainly high school kids leaving when the graduate.) The first four cooks I ever hired all stayed for 1 1/2 years until they went away to college. One of them still comes back to work over breaks.

I have one assistant manager with 1 year, and the other with 1 1/2 years. My GM has been with me since we opened the doors 2 1/2 years ago… and will be leaving in 6 months to open our first franchised location. It seems like our employees are happy, well paid and like to stick around.

So why do my drivers tend to only last about 1 or 2 months at a time? They get $7.00/hr + Tips. We have a $1.50 delivery charge and the driver gets all of it as fuel/maintenance reimbursement. They don’t take a lot of deliveries, but their average tip is $4.00 per order! On a Friday night they work either a 4 or 5 hour shift (depending if they close or not) and will take about 15 deliveries. Is it just me or is that about $19.00 - $22.00 per hour?

They do dishes and fold boxes… but they never have to answer the phone, help in the kitchen, bus the dining room, etc. They’ve never been trained to and it’s not expected. I think that sounds ideal for a driver! When I was a driver in college I was also a cook, cashier, food runner, cut table guy, garbage taker-outer, cigarette and change runner for the managers, janitor, maintenance man… the list goes on. And I stayed there for 3 years, because it was obscene how much money I was making as a college student… and it wasn’t even close to what my guys are making.

It’s not like they leave because they’re going away to school or anything… they usually just stop coming to work one day.

Anybody have a secret I’m missing out on?

We can’t get rid of them here. I’ve got one who has been with the store twenty two years and another at twelve years.

Have you asked them directly to find out why they stop coming in to work? Maybe a certain work environment need is not being meet. Just a thought?

When I worked in our local pizzeria I constantly asked to be crossed train so I would always have the same position everynight. It gave me a variety plus I felt more valuable as the go to guy when they needed to fill a shift.

do you give your drivers any kind of training? What kind of benefits do they get?

how many days a week do they all work? i find that giving drivers 3 nights only works the best. If i give them more days, they tend to not want to work anymore cause they are making too good money. Haven’t had to hire a driver in years!

I really haven’t. When somebody quits via job abandonment the last thing I want to do is call them and ask why.

To answer the other questions, no there’s no benefits for them. My GM is the only one who gets benefits at the current time. But our driver positions are all part time, so I’m not sure I should be offering benefits.

No, we really don’t provide them with any training. Their only really is to drive. But, it sounds from above that maybe I should be doing some cross-training with them. Maybe that’s the problem… they get bored?

The last question… they are generally working 4 nights per week. We only do about 15% delivery, and we’re very much in a family area. We’re pretty much closed up by 9:00pm. So I can’t really bring drivers in full-time… to get 40 hours per week they’d have to work 9 days. On average they’re around 20 hours per week.

benefits can be something as simple is half price meals, free uniforms and free drinks (barring alcohol of course) There is obviously something wrong that would drive your drivers to just quit like that. do you recoginize good work? tell your drivers you appreciate them?

If it was just one or two drivers that had left you I wouldn’t bother calling them back either. But in your situation where they are dropping like flies they could be a valuable resource for you. Heck, you might even get a couple of them to come back and work for you.

I think there are some keys to keeping drivers. The first one is that when you hire them tell them exactly what they can expect from you and your store. The good, the bad and the ugly. The more they know what to expect the better. Second, let them know exactly what you expect of them. Don’t be afraid of scaring them away with the gory details of their cleaning tasks. Third, let know them know that you want open communication with them. If they have a problem or issue you want to make sure that they bring it directly to you(or the person that is in charge). Let them know that problems or issues that they express to other employees won’t be resolved. But given the opportunity, you will handle their issues and a fair and timely manner.

Communication is the key in this situation. Talk to the drivers that left and talk to your current ones. I’m willing to bet that they are all leaving for the same reason and once you identify it you can fix it.

Oh, those types of benefits. Yes, all of my employees have all of the above. And actually, I usually pay for their meals; they’re not even half price.

Yeah, I think our management team does a great job of showing appreciation of all of our employees. That’s why I pointed out how many employees we have that have been long-termers. It really is a great working environment. Maybe the above poster was right… maybe they do make too much money. I guess when you’re 19, living at home with no bills, and can make a quick $1,000 or so you might decide you just don’t have to work for a while.

We tended to turn over drivers as well, but this is common in Australia with the high cost of fuel and other running costs of cars. But saying that the current crop have been with me for 9 months and one the whole 16 months I have had the shop.

We did go through a period when we had a turn over of drivers but looking back they weren’t really what we wanted anyway so it was no loss.

Issues we find is that once the novelty wears off they then start looking at what they get paid against the cost of running their cars. They also see the mileage clocking up very quickly on the speedo, things start going wrong with their cars and the big thing - they see their mates out on Friday and Saturday nights at the pubs and clubs while they are working.

We train our people, let/make them do every activity in the shop from driving, phones, prep, boxes and any other thing that needs doing (even on the make bench when it is quiet) so they don’t get bored. They get 1/2 price food and drinks even when they are not at work are supplied free uniforms plus they get other benefits.

I find drivers are cyclic and there are certain times of the year when everyone is scratching for drivers and others times you get heaps filling out applications when we don’t need anyone.


last question, probably should have asked earlier… how big is your delivery area?

We have had the same problem, in the last 2 years we have gone through about 5 drivers. I think the problem is they just get sick of it. some people just dont want to work no matter what you do for them. We pay our drivers $4.20 a delivery and on a saturday night they will do about 20-35 and thats n about 3 hours. Good money, good conditions. Its hard to find good workers. All my drivers have been great drivers but same as you they jusst stop comming one day. Dont worry to much about it you will find the right driver.

Without knowing why they left, this is a difficult question to answer. Some have suggested they are making too much money and no longer feel the need to work but I doubt that is the case.

Sounds like your delivery business is pretty slow. 15 deliveries on a Friday night is not many at all. Perhaps they are leaving to go to a busier shop?

An average tip of $4 is good (if true), but if I can take 30 deliveries in the same amount of time and average $2.50 per tip, I’m probably making out better.

It seems like you’re doing everything correctly, and should be holding those drivers. If your drivers are getting $100 on a Friday shift, that’s pretty decent. But is it considerably worse the other nights of the week?

i wonder if they are going to a busier shop, or is it possible a busier shop is STEALING them? Maybe a couple phones might give you some idea.