Sneaky pizza fees are here to stay
Did you even know that you're being charged a pizza delivery fee? And we have no one to blame but ourselves.
This post comes from Len Penzo at partner blog Len Penzo dot Com.
I love sleight-of-hand tricks, and occasionally a co-worker of mine named Fred will stop by my office and regale me with some truly amazing acts of prestidigitation.
I'm always left in awe every time he seemingly pulls a coin out of thin air or makes one vanish -- despite the fact that I know ahead of time he's going to pull a fast one on me. It doesn't matter how hard I concentrate on those coins; I always succumb to Fred's subtly masterful acts of misdirection.
Needless to say, the art of deception can be very advantageous to those who've mastered it. In 2008, magician David Copperfield reportedly used his sleight-of-hand talents to deceive a mugger into thinking he had empty pockets -- even though they actually held his wallet, passport and cellphone.
Today, even the pizza companies are honing their sleight-of-hand skills. Take delivery fees, for example.
My experience has been that most pizza joints rarely mention their delivery fees when quoting their prices over the phone. That's pretty sneaky, if you ask me. Usually, the conversation typically ends up sounding something like this:
"OK, sir, you ordered two Pizza Planet pepperoni specials for delivery. That'll be $26.67."
"Hold on. Those pizzas were advertised at $11 each. I know taxes are high here, but they're not that high."
"Well, sir, that total includes a delivery charge of $2.75."
"Whoa! Two-seventy-five? Say, your last name wouldn't happen to be Copperfield, would it?"
"No, sir. Why do you ask?"
"This isn't Fred, is it? Why on earth are you moonlighting at Pizza Planet?"
"Who's Fred, sir?"
"Oh, never mind."
OK, the part of the conversation where I talk about Fred is a stretch, but you get my drift. Post continues below.
Delivery charges are illusory in other ways. Ironically, they don't always go directly to the driver. Instead, most -- if not all -- of that money is typically used to boost the bottom line by offsetting business expenses like the cost of ingredients and employee wages.
It turns out that the major pizza chains began dabbling with delivery fees in select areas about a decade ago. Back then, Pizza Hut's delivery charges were typically 50 cents, while Papa John's and Domino's hovered around a buck.
However, those fees have increased dramatically since then -- especially when compared with the inflation rate over the same period.
Where I live, Papa John's levies a $2.75 fee for delivery. Meanwhile, my neighborhood Domino's charges $1.85 to bring their pies to your door, and the local Pizza Hut gets $3.
Out of curiosity, I surveyed two other local pizzerias to see what they were charging for delivery: Round Table tacks on an additional $1.50, and an independent joint down the street from me charges $3.
If you ask me, the most likely reason why pizza delivery fees continue to outpace inflation is that they provide a subtle way of disguising price increases. That monetary legerdemain allows pizzerias to painlessly raise prices while continuing to advertise pies at seemingly bargain rates.
By the way, in case you're wondering, those pizza delivery charges only became permanent and more widespread once it became apparent to the major pizza chains that they wouldn't result in an appreciable loss of customers.
Of course, with all the hocus-pocus going on, it's uncertain exactly how many people realized they were even being charged a delivery fee in the first place -- but that really doesn't matter now. We've got nobody to blame but ourselves.
Unfortunately, because we didn't balk when we had the chance, pizza delivery charges are most likely here to stay.
In fact, they're so firmly entrenched in the market now, I suspect even David Copperfield couldn't make them disappear.
More on Len Penzo dot Com and MSN Money:
charge should be minimum font because everyone by now should know theres been delivery charges for over a decade.
My son delivers for Papa Johns.....drivers don't just drive, they do other tasks in the store, when not on the road. When "in store" they make minimum wage ( $7.67/hr). They swipe their employee card when they leave on a delivery. While driving they make $4.67/hr. In effect they get "restaurant Waitstaff wages" and tips are used to "make up" the difference to get them to minimum wage. It takes a lot more to get your Pizza from the store to your house, than it does for your waitress to get your dinner from the kitchen to your table....and the waitress doesn't need to own a car, pay for gas and insurance and be out in traffic in all kinds of dangerous weather. The $1.50 delivery fee he gets doesn't cover much.....
I bet waiters and waitresses run the other way when known cheapwads like you come in.....
Its also deceitful advertising. Thats the other reason I dont like it. You get a pamphlet in your mail, with a big bold message of two4one = 11$ or whatever, and in small print on the back is where it says "oh by the way its not really 11 bucks, because theres a delivery charge. We deceived you so you would call thinking its cheaper. And we can advertise a price that isnt really true"
Instead of trying to dupe people, just make the price you advertise, the actual price.
dominh*es, little sleasers, and pizzasl*t.
rich people dont tip well, best tips are from middleclass. pizza price is key, if the pizza is under 10 bucks we know we will only get the change off a 10 bill. if the kids get the cash from the parents to pay the driver, they like to keep it lol. but it really tears your car up so i dont see why people complain about tipping 1 dollar is fine, at the end of the night it adds up. some pizza companies put a delivery charge now and take some of the cake. i love the guys that call to order and say" oh you allways mess up??? then why the * do you call back every weekend? if you call to complain about the pizza you got, dont be an * on the phone becuse drivethru rules apply....
All of these people complaining about the fee, let me ask you this, hypothetically, if you agreed to split pizza at work w/ coworkers, would you complain to them about the $2.75 delivery fee and the fact you have to tip? Get over it people!
I dont order in ever, because of the fees. Havent ordered in food in years for that reason. I have on occasion stopped to pick up an order when it was convemient. Once in a blue moon. But I have no problem finding an alternative to ordering in these days.
The whole point of ordering delivery is because they deliver. Its the reason for calling them in the first place. Soon as they started charging for it, it was no longer a bonus for giving them the business, but just another added cost. No thanks.
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