It’s a cold and rainy Friday night. The work week has been exhausting. Your couch and a few TV shows on Netflix are calling your name. A couple of pizzas are on the way because you’re too tired to even think about cooking.
It’s the perfect end to long a week.
And then — before you can finish the first episode in what you expect to be a series-long binge — your pizza delivery driver is at the door. She promptly hands you your two pizzas, piping hot and ready to be devoured by yours truly.
You clam up as your mind scrambles to calculate the appropriate tip to give her: What exactly is the policy on tipping delivery drivers? Is 10% appropriate? What about 20%? Or is additional compensation not customarily expected by this type of food service worker?
Flustered by the immediacy of the situation, you fumble through your wallet and hand her a few bills, unsure of whether the amount was enough.
Let’s face it: the act of tipping can often be a confusing transaction, one that’s often muddled by perplexing rules and differing tipping standards that exist in the service industry.
But in the U.S., this is the system we’ve got. So, to help you smoothly navigate this process, here are a few pointers and general guidelines to show your pizza delivery driver you appreciate them.
Tip No. 1: Think of your delivery driver as if they were your server in a restaurant
In many ways, the duties of a delivery driver are very similar to those of restaurant server. The goal of a food delivery worker, like a server, is to bring you your meal in a quick and pleasant fashion. But, for all their effort, they’re often not tipped at nearly the same level as a member of the waitstaff.
Delivery drivers ensuring your order is accurate, prepping it for a smooth voyage, carefully transporting it to their car and then driving it to your home. And they’re often traveling miles, sometimes through swarms of frustrating traffic or tricky weather, to ensure that you receive your food in a timely fashion. It’s a job that arguably demands as much effort — or more — as a waiter.
Tip No. 2: The worse the weather, the more generous the tip
If there’s a foot of snow on the ground and the local TV station is warning of blizzard-like precipitation, make sure your tip reflects the stormy weather. Trekking through inclement conditions is often more time consuming and a more difficult (not to mention dangerous) task for delivery workers.
And this rule doesn’t just apply to snow. Whether there’s torrential rain, high winds or bone-chilling temperatures, if the climate is exceedingly unpleasant, you should consider adding a few extra dollars to your tip. (After all, there’s a reason you don’t want to venture outdoors.)
Tip No. 3: The bigger the order, the bigger the tip
This pointer may seem rather intuitive, but it’s worth repeating. If you’re ordering a dozen or so pies for a corporate lunch or party, be sure the size of your tip directly correlates with how much food is being delivered. Oftentimes, larger parties tend to tip a flat fee of around $10 to $20 — but that pay can be comparatively low if you’re ordering 20 pies for your team of 100. These orders often take an intense amount of strategic maneuvering and manpower to ensure that all the pizzerias are delivered hot, crisp and on-time. So just be cognizant of the effort exerted in these situations.
Tip. No 4: You should tip at least $2 per pie
And last, but not least, here are a few specific figures and numbers to help you calculate how much to tip your delivery driver:
The general consensus in the industry is to tip $2 to $3 per pie delivered.
But also look at how much your tip is compared to the entire bill. At the minimum, you should tip 10 percent of the total bill. A tip of 16 percent of the bill is for normal service and 20 percent is for exceptional service.
The farther your home is from the pizzeria, the higher the tip.
And, of course, there are certain circumstances when these rules can be skirted or bent, but if you use these tips as general guideposts, you’ll be tipping your driver accurately and fairly.
Pizza delivery drivers are your vehicles to a warm and cheesy meal. So remember to tip them — and to do so generously.
— Melanie Lawder