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Pizza Delivery: When To Tip and How Much to Tip

Tipping a waiter or waitress is a common American custom and we have all been raised understanding that good service in a restaurant warrants a 15% tip; great service a 20% tip. But the guidelines for tipping delivery drivers have not been so clearly defined. 

When deciding whether to tip your pizza delivery driver consider these three things: 

  • Is the food you ordered correct? 
  • Was it delivered on time? 
  • Is it hot? 

Of course common sense must be considered in special circumstances. If the food took longer than expected to arrive but was delivered in the through buckets of rain in the middle of a crazy thunderstorm then perhaps a tip is still in order. 

Determining how much the tip should be for a delivery driver is not quite the same as for a restaurant waitstaff. 

In 1979, “keep the change” rounding the tip to the next nearest dollar might have been adequate, but then gasoline cost fifty-four cents per gallon. 

Today it is safe to assume that two dollars plus the change is the absolute minimum and work your way up from there. Five dollars is a nice tip and above that is considered generous for a regular home delivery. (For big catering order deliveries 15% is not unusual.) 

Does that surprise you? 

Consider the value of the delivery service. First there's your time, then the gas you would use to drive there yourself and back. How much is it worth to you to stay out of the weather and not to have to cook ? 

Plus there are some safety concerns with this occupation that are not as prevalent with their waitstaff counterparts. 

Pizza delivery drivers spend long hours on the road. The dangers of time spent in traffic and the small but real threat of being robbed are both on-the-job hazards that these dedicated individuals endure to get your pepperoni pizza to you in rain, sleet, wind or snow. 

As with all other parts of life, remember that your kindness in the way you treat your driver will surely return to you in some way. You may notice that when you tip generously your pizza arrives just a little quicker the next time as the delivery drivers know the inside scoop for which houses are the best (and worst) tippers.