When we posted a simple poll about tipping delivery drivers, we had no idea it would garner the kind of mammoth response it did, with folks on both sides of the tipping divide ardently defending their position. In an effort to clear up what he sees as common misconceptions about tipping, Consumerist reader and former delivery guy Justin wrote in to take a sledgehammer to a handful of “myths” about his past profession.
Here’s Justin’s list:
#1) The delivery fee goes to the driver to make up for a lack of tips. So any additional tip is optional
FALSE. The delivery fee is constant from chain to chain, but rarely does the entire fee go to the driver. Usually the business itself takes the fee in order to cover driver expenses, such as paying for a portion of their gas, or other related expenses specific to the delivery driver position itself (insurance, etc). Sometimes, the business may split the fee with the driver, and some smaller chains may give the driver the entirety of the fee to supplement pay. However, the delivery fee is just that at the end of the day: a fee for delivery to your home. It is NOT a tip, and should never be assumed to be one.
#2) Delivery drivers make more than the kitchen staff, so tips aren’t necessary
FALSE. In fact, because drivers have the ability to make tips, their pay is usually substantially lower than other staff members. The ability to make tips results in a much lower minimum wage by Federal Standards, to the tune of $2.13 an hour for tipped employees, versus $7.25 an hour for non-tip employees (this is also why retail employees cannot accept tips!). The employer must make up the difference if the monthly tips plus wage do not meet the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, hence the various fees tacked onto delivery runs, though even then the kitchen staff tends to make much more than minimum wage. At my place of employment, drivers got paid $8.25/hr plus tips due to municipality laws, though kitchen staff still made $15 to $20 an hour!
#3) If the driver is late, I’m not obligated to tip.
FALSE-ISH. You are never obligated to tip; nobody is twisting your arm until you pay up, after all. However, many customers use this excuse religiously during busy times, like lunch rush and weekend nights in order to get cheaper food. If you want the truth, however, customers who don’t tip are always bumped to the bottom of the delivery list. So if your food arrives cold consistently, maybe you should check and see if you have been tipping the driver; if not, that’s probably why!
#4) The driver just has to grab orders, deliver them, and collect the cash. It’s hardly a job worth a tip.
FALSE. Drivers are the grunts of the store, and do every job inside it. We clean the store at opening, fold boxes, make orders, take orders, box orders, proof the dough, make the wings, mix the sauce, load the freezers, cut the dough, unload the truck, balance the register, clean the counters, mop the floors, wash the windows, empty the trash, and get everything ready for the next day. In fact, drivers are the last employees to leave behind the manager on duty, and the first to arrive to help with the daily chores. Combine that with low pay and the fact we still deliver your food, and we work harder than anyone else in that store sometimes.
What do you think of Justin’s list? Would you be in favor of paying more for a product if you didn’t have to tip?