A pizza guy shouldn’t make a cardiologist salary

Saw this story on MSN Money about a pizza delivery guy who delivered 85 pizzas, costing $1,453.95.  He received a $10 tip.  A friend of the driver then posts a picture of the receipt on Reddit, and the 15 minutes of fame begins.

The article points out that the tip is less than 1% of the total bill of $1,453.95.  (It’s 0.688% of the bill, actually.)  Some standards would recommend $2 per pizza, which for this delivery would be $170.  Another standard would indicate 10%, or $143 and change.

So another way of putting this guy’s tip in context is to say that he delivered 85 pizzas, but was tipped as if he had delivered five.

Standards are standards, I suppose, but I find it hard to believe that these standards should be applied to such a large order of pizzas.  Tipping a pizza delivery guy over a hundred bucks is a little much.

Is it seventeen times more labor-intensive to deliver 85 pizzas than it is to deliver five pizzas?  Probably not.  A few extra trips from the car, IF the person buying the pizzas (and/or a few of his friends) doesn’t offer to help bring them in.  An extra trip from the store if a big truck isn’t available.  Another driver if they needed the pizzas fast.

Let’s say maybe three to five times more time- and labor-intensive.  So $50, maybe?  (I would have rounded the bill up to $1,500 even, for a $46.05 tip.  Actually, I probably would have picked them up myself and saved the delivery charges and tips altogether.)

Carrying 85 pizzas might burn a dime’s more worth of gas on the trip.  It’s not going to wear the tires down that much faster.  It’s more or less like any other delivery (or maybe two deliveries) in that regard.

Yet there’s the expectation that he be paid like a cardiologist because it’s a $1,500 order.  Nice work if you can get it, but seriously?

Now, please don’t get me wrong.  If you can’t afford a reasonable tip, you can’t afford to eat out (or take delivery).  I’m also not arguing that $10 was enough.  It wasn’t.

But to ask me to fork over well over $100 for a tip?  That’s insane.

There’s a point when you just have to draw the line, and pay someone appropriately for the job they’re doing.

John Wedding

Husband. Father. Web publisher. Musician. John has blogged at Mighty Bargain Hunter since 2005, helping people to recognize life's good deals.

More Posts - Twitter - Facebook - Google Plus


  1. Tammy says

    So, just to make sure that I’m clear, you would then also agree that if I order the most expensive meal on the menu at a restaurant, with some pricey drink, it’s ok to tip the same exact amount as if I’d ordered the cheapest meal and had water? Because the waitstaff would have worked the same exact amount for my meal there, right? I’m not saying I disagree with that theory, just looking to see if you’re consistent on this.

    • John Wedding says

      Thanks for your comment!

      It’s more of a sliding scale. If I were to get a $10 meal at a restaurant, I’d typically tip a larger percentage than if I got a $30 meal. My tip would still be larger for the $30 meal.

      Same with the pizza guy. Delivering 85 pizzas is not 85 times the work of delivering one, but it is definitely more work, and should be tipped more.

  2. says

    I think 10% would probably be a bit much but a $10 is miserly. I agree with your last statement, if you can’t afford a reasonable tip then you shouldn’t be eating out. thinking about it I have to wonder what he was driving, I don’t think 85 pizza’s would fit in the average car, 85 pizzas would need a full size pickup!

  3. says

    You have to consider that it probably took him quite a while to load up the car, so when you consider how much tip to get, you should estimate how much time he spent working on your order and tip based on how much the driver would get. I would think in this case a $15 – $25 tip would be fine.

  4. says

    The delivery person is similar to a bell hop. You are tipped based on the number of bags. I really don’t know what would be appropriate for 85 pizzas, but a percentage is definitely wrong.

    • John Wedding says

      Right, but if each pizza costs the same, a per-pizza gratuity is still a percentage. I’d probably just avoid the delivery altogether and pick them up myself for that price difference.

  5. SLS says

    No one is saying he should be paid what a cardiologist is paid. But if you can afford to purchase 85 pizzas for $1450, you should be able to throw in an extra $100 for the delivery person. That’s not even 10% and I think its a fair tip on such a large order.

    • John Wedding says

      Thanks for your comment SLS!

      But if he takes an hour to deliver those pizzas, and gets a $100 tip, that’s in the realm of what a cardiologist makes. That’s the disconnect.

  6. says

    I heard about the pizza guy, and definitely think an adjustment in the tip is needed. I don’t think 10% or 20% is an absolute. But $10? That’s an insult. Personally, I would probably tip a flat amount, like $50 or $75. The effort to deliver that many pizzas isn’t much more than what it takes to deliver 5. But then again, I’ve never been a delivery person so I’m not sure if my amount would be considered fair. But to me that’s a logical amount.

  7. says

    I’m with you, I would have picked up the order myself and saved myself the delivery charges altogether! This is why a lot of pizza places put a delivery surcharge on orders, to avoid this kind of negative publicity. I think $50 would have been fair on *both* ends.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *