Papa John’s Delivery Fee – How Much Is It?

Before ordering Papa John’s pizza, you should know the total cost, including the delivery fees. What are Papa John’s delivery fees?

On average, Papa John’s delivery fee is $4.50. Some locations charge less while others charge even more. The delivery fees of pizza restaurants have increased more than ten times since 2002.

Papa John’s says the delivery fee is for providing fast, expert pizza delivery, according to your preference. If you want your pizza delivered to your home or a specific location, they are willing to do it. However, they will charge a delivery fee, and it may not be subject to a discount.

Read on to learn more about the delivery fee of Papa John’s and why they charge it.

Papa John's delivery fee

Papa John’s Delivery Fee

Every time you order pizza from Papa John’s, they will charge an average delivery fee of $4.50. That is certainly high, but that’s what they charge for home delivery. Some pizza restaurants charge lower while others charge higher.

In return, you get the convenience of having your pizza delivered right at your door. You don’t have to spend time and money picking it up from the store. The delivery fee is worth it when you consider how convenient it is to get pizza delivered right to your home. 

If you ask for home delivery, a delivery fee will apply, and most often, it is not subject to a discount. But if you think that the delivery fee is too high, you can always go to the local Papa John’s restaurant. Order your pizza there, pay for it, pick it up, eat it there or bring it home.

Why Papa John’s Charges Delivery Fees

Industry insiders claim that food joints introduced the delivery fees to stay competitive in the pizza market. A report from Huffington Post somehow revealed the reason for pizza brands charging delivery fees.

The report quoted a spokesman for a leading pizza brand who stated that pizzas’ prices had remained nearly the same during the past 30 years. This is despite the increases in the cost of operations and pizza ingredients.

According to this spokesperson, the delivery fee is the best way to pay for the service’s cost instead of increasing their food products’ prices. Other industry insiders claim that they charge delivery fees to cover their driver’s liability insurance.

The fee goes toward the gas and wear and tear of their driver’s vehicles while on their delivery runs. However, industry analysts believe that these expenses are usually only about half the pizza brands’ fees.

The rest of the money, the drivers believe, is being pocketed by their companies. Additionally, there is another income generator that is affected by these high delivery fees: driver tips. It seems tips given by customers to drivers are going down because of these high delivery fees.

Delivery Fees Are Necessary Says Pizza Brands

There is stiff competition in the business of pizza today. This situation is underlined in an article written by Bruce Horovitz in USA Today in 2008. His article revealed that the pizza brands introduced the delivery fee so that they can stay in business.

It appears that frozen pizzas spurred the competition. According to Horovitz, the market for this type of pizza has grown these past years exponentially. One reason is that the different pizza brands could find ways to imitate homemade pizzas’ taste and texture.

Pizza companies are also diversifying their pizza menus. They are innovating and adding chicken, sandwiches, pasta choices, and desserts to attract a wider market. However, the issue of confusing delivery fees remains.

The delivery drivers are the ones losing their money. Meantime, the practice of pizza companies hiding their costs by tacking delivery fees on their prices instead of just increasing their prices persists.

Why Is the Delivery Fee of Papa John’s High?

Papa John's delivery cost

Undoubtedly, the delivery fee is charged by Papa John’s is one of the highest in the industry. Some observers and customers have offered some guesses as to why Papa John’s and other pizza companies are charging delivery fees:

1. To Cover Up for Financial Losses

Some believe that Papa John’s charges delivery fees to cover their financial losses. Businesses do not customarily inform the public about their losses. Losses can occur in a business if a customer refuses to pay for goods already delivered. To prevent this kind of loss, companies devise clever ways to offset it. The delivery fee might be one of their clever ways.

2. To Make Up for Higher Costs of Labor and Goods

A researcher did some sleuthing about this topic. They discovered that the delivery fee was designed and started by Domino’s Pizza several decades ago. This researcher found out that Domino’s did it to cover up their increasing cost of goods and labor.

Rather than raise their prices, it appears that they thought it would be better if they will add a delivery fee. So, they were able to retain their prices or kept them low. As a result, they appeared to be ‘visually’ competitive.

3. To Cover Up for the Wages

Another customer believes that it is to make up for the costs of paying their drivers. The delivery person will do his job of delivering pizzas if they know that the company will pay them.

On average, Papa John’s pays about 30% more than the wage (after taxes). Most likely, Papa John’s is also paying their liability insurance. These are costs that they should add understandably to the cost of operating a business.

4. To Disguise Price Increases

Another customer/observer believes that pizza companies are charging delivery fees to disguise their price increases. They have observed that delivery fees of pizza brands continued to outpace the inflation rate.

They guessed that to cover up for this loss, pizza companies thought of a subtle way to disguise their price increases. They devise marketing strategies that make it appear that their prices are still available at bargain prices while they painlessly raise their prices.

It is painless because their customers are unaware of the price increase. This person also believes that this practice of charging delivery fees became more widespread and permanent when the pizza brands realized that it would not turn off the majority of their customers. 

Pizza Companies Treat Delivery Fees As an Afterthought

A customer’s experience will show you that pizza companies treat the delivery fees as just an afterthought. Most pizza restaurants don’t mention their delivery fees when someone asks them about their pizza price over the phone.

This customer ordered pizzas from a certain pizza joint. They referred to the company’s pizza advertisement that specified a certain price. They already know the total amount of their order and what they need to pay. The pizza costs $11 each, and they ordered two. So, the total amount is only $22.

However, when they asked the pizza company’s staff about their bill, the pizza staff said it is $27. Some restaurants would even say it is $30. The caller argued that if the advert is true, then the total should only be $22.

The pizza restaurant staff replied that the total amount included the delivery fee, which is $5. If you are the customer and you truly crave the pizza, you will cave in. But if you have other options, you can cancel your order.

Pizza Delivery Fees Have Been Rising Continuously

delivery fee Papa John's

Maybe you didn’t notice, but pizza companies’ delivery fees have been rising steadily over the past years. Major pizza companies started dabbling with these delivery fees only in select areas in early 2000.

The delivery fee of Pizza Hut back in 2002 was only $0.50. Those of Domino’s and Papa John’s were just $1. However, these delivery charges have increased considerably since then, compared to the inflation rate during the same time.

Here is a table that will show you the dramatic increases of pizza delivery fees over the years:

Pizza Brand2002201220152019
Pizza Hut$ 0.50$ 3.00$ 3.25$ 5.00
Papa John’s$ 1.00$ 2.75$ 2.99$ 4.50
Domino’s$ 1.00$ 1.85$ 1.99$ 4.00
Round TableNo data$ 1.50$ 1.75$ 3.00

Frequently Asked Questions

Where the Delivery Fee Goes

Typically, when a customer pays for the order, the delivery fee is mixed with all the other money. This situation is a bit muddy since drivers are reimbursed for the use of their vehicles. However, the reimbursed money is not actually a part of the delivery fee but comes from the company’s general sales.

So, where does the Papa John’s delivery fee go? Who enjoys it?

Part of it goes to the driver – in the form of wages. Unfortunately, driver’s wages in this kind of business operation are below the minimum wage. Specifically, part of it goes to pay the miles of the driver.

Some pizza joints give their drivers $1.50 per delivery while others give $0.15 to $0.30 per mile. To save money, restaurants with large delivery areas will give $1.50. Restaurants that only have to go no more than 3 miles typically do it by miles.

Sometimes, a part of the delivery fee also goes to pay for driver’s insurance. This insurance is to protect the corporation if a delivery kills or injures individuals on the road. Drivers are left to buy their own insurances to protect themselves.

After all these costs are deducted, the rest of the money left in the delivery fee goes to the store in income. So, delivery fees don’t go directly to the driver. Most of it, if not all, goes to the store.

It is used typically to increase the bottom line by offsetting the cost of doing business, such as the cost of wages and pizza ingredients.

Do You Still Need to Give A Tip?

Driver forums and message boards on the internet show that delivery fees are hurting the drivers’ trips overall. Many customers assume that the delivery charge is part of the tip to the driver. Pizza companies are required to be upfront about the delivery fee.

They should make it clear that it is not part of the tip for drivers. But oftentimes, this is not made clear to customers. If you are given good service by the driver, giving them a tip would be just right.

Most business observers recommend an amount equal to the amount you should normally give when dining at a restaurant. The amount should be from 15% to 20% of the amount you ordered. A minimum tip should be from $4 to $5. Remember that it is a luxury to order food delivery. The job of food delivery can be dangerous at times.

Is It Right for Papa John’s to Charge Delivery Fees?

Delivery drivers of pizza companies across the US agree that the additional operating costs should be reflected in the menu prices and not be taken from the delivery costs.

In this way, the customers will get a clear picture of their pizza orders’ actual costs. However, competition is very stiff and drives the prices down. It may take a while before pizza companies agree to do what is right.

Just one of the major pizza chains dropping its delivery fees might influence others to do the same. But which of them is courageous enough to start the ball rolling? Would Papa John’s be the one?

Conclusion: Papa John’s Delivery Fee

Papa John’s charges a delivery fee of $4.50 for every pizza home delivery order they receive. There are many reasons why they are charging delivery fees for home deliveries. Some pizza restaurants are charging less than these, while others are charging even more.

You can still buy a Papa John’s pizza at any of their local restaurants near you. If you pick up the pizza at the resaurant, you will avoid the Papa John’s delivery fee.