May 29, 2014 |

Throwback Thursday: Delivery fees become industry debate

By Mandy Wolf Detwiler

November 2003 CoverWhen I first started at Pizza Today waaaay back in 2004, my idea of pizza delivery was whatever was cheapest … and if I had a coupon I came out even more ahead. Any time I could get dinner delivered for around $10, I considered it a win.

Those days are long gone based mainly on additional fees charged by pizzerias who deliver. While I have certainly grown to understand the need for a delivery fee, many consumers still do not. And with fees adding up to $3 per order, that can make or break a customer’s decision.

Our November 2003 cover story examined what was then a rising trend. More and more operators were instituting a fee –– small then, around a dollar or less –– to offset the increasing costs of having drivers on the road. Domino’s Pizza, an industry leader in delivery, had to-date remained charge-free but had begun to test delivery fees in some markets. Pizza Hut had already implemented a 50-cent fee. Some Papa John’s locations charged as high as $1.50 (but company-owned stores had not yet adopted delivery fees).

Domino's Delivery FeeToday, with gas prices hovering at $3.50 or more a gallon and an increase in insurance premiums for drivers, most places both big and small require a delivery fee. Is this paid to the driver? No, and that’s why some companies clearly state that fact on their boxes and even while ordering online. It’s a small step in helping to educate the public, and one that’s necessary.

Be wary of nickeling and diming your customers to death, though. Take a look at all your fees. It is really necessary to charge $1 for an extra cup of marinara? How about an extra dressing packet?

Do you charge a delivery fee? If so, how much? Let us know in the comments.