Confessions of a Pizza Delivery Driver

My family always has more medical bills than we need. Last spring, I took a job as a pizza delivery driver to take care of some of that debt. Some of Hubby’s church members were not amused. It may sound crazy for me to deliver pizzas but the job actually made a lot of sense.

I was able to work on Friday and Saturday evenings. This fit in well with the schedule from my regular job. My boss at the pizza place was fantastic. She was very understanding when my schedule unexpectedly ran over at my first job and made me late.

When she hired me she gave me a uniform top. It was up to me to provide a working vehicle, car insurance, pants, shoes and belt. This seemed fair and I took the job.

On my first day at work I was shown where to put my stuff, how to take orders and the right way to fold pizza boxes. Then, I was on my own. A few days later I had the hang of working there and began to notice a few things…

I was told that pizzas are to be delivered as they are ready. That’s not quite true. If two pizzas deliveries are going to be made near each other, a driver will try to take the both on the same run. Pizza for customer #1 may wait a few minutes so pizza for customer #2 can come out of the oven. It works great for the driver. It may not work as well for the customer.

The other thing that I noticed was that my tips were a lot smaller than the other drivers were reporting. As drivers come in from a run they check the computer for upcoming deliveries and to see which driver is next to go out. Several times, drivers let me take pizzas even though they were next to take a pizza delivery.

There are a lot of legitimate reasons for doing this. These range from having to take care of the lobby to taking out the trash or making pizzas. However, the other drivers weren’t letting me deliver pizzas to be nice. They were giving me the bad tippers.

In pizza delivery there is a motto (or at least at our store). The saying is “the bigger the house, the smaller the tip”. This did appear to be true. CKB

I once delivered an order of several pizzas, wings and several two liter sodas to a party. It was in the nicest neighborhood on the route. As soon as the last pizza was out of the oven I was out the door. The Volvos, Mercedes, BMW and such lined the driveway. There was a bag of extra plates, napkins and cheese packets. It took a few trips to unload the car and make the delivery.

The customer complimented me on the speed of the pizza delivery and held the door open as I brought everything onto the screened in porch. Then she handed me exact change.

When I got back to the store and turned in the money another driver asked if they had given me exact change. I was surprised that he knew. Then, he rattled off a list of addresses. He knew all right! That’s why I, the newbie, got to deliver what was to have been his run!

Pizza drivers don’t just expect tips. We rely on them. The job pays an hourly rate of minimum wage. That’s not bad until you start adding up the expenses of insurance, gas and car repairs. Pizza delivery drivers are tougher on cars than the average driver. The constant start and stop is hard on brakes.

Repairs, gas and insurance eat up a lot of what a driver makes in a paycheck. The only way they come out ahead is through tips.

We take risks. We risk being held up. We risk getting stiffed by someone who doesn’t tip. We risk getting hit – you name it.

This lady had problems with her pizza delivery because she didn’t tip. It was not because our national pizza chain was always so busy! She was a regular customer. The drivers knew the address well. A little tip would have made a lot of difference.

In contrast, a guy who lived in the trailer park was also a regular customer. He usually gave a $5 tip. Everyone wanted to make that pizza delivery!

Even in restaurants where it is a self-service buffet you tip the server. Just as in a restaurant, if someone called back to say the pizza wasn’t right we fixed it and delivered it again.

And, just as in a restaurant, you can request that a particular driver deliver your pizza.

A tip of $3 was considered to be a good tip. Even $1 is appreciated. A consistent $5 tip will just about always ensure that the pizza gets to you as hot and as fresh as possible. No tip generally meant no service.

Don’t get me wrong. Pizza delivery isn’t always about tipping. A lot of things go into getting the pizza to you as quickly as possible. This includes how busy the store is and how many drivers that there are.

The lady that I delivered the large order to requested me next time. When I got there, she said I had done a great job and that she was happy I had been available. I told her it was no problem and leveled with her as to why she’d not been getting great service.

She smiled and said “ok”. Then she handed me exact change just as she did for every other pizza delivery order that I took to her.
Personal experience.Pizza for customer #1 may wait a few minutes so pizza for customer #2 can come out of the oven.This lady had problems with her pizza delivery because she didn’t tip.Pizza drivers don’t just expect tips. We rely on them.