Pizza jobs hurt by inflated gas prices

Domino’s and other pizza places look for ways to repay drivers.
Tuesday, April 12, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 11:17 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Delivering pizza has never been considered a high-paying job, and the recent spike in gasoline prices isn’t helping.

Padraic McGrath, who delivers pizza for Domino’s, said he’s paid 65 cents for delivery runs that average 12 miles.

With a Subaru that gets 25 miles to the gallon, the 65 cents calculates out to about $1.30 per gallon consumed.

McGrath and other Domino’s delivery drivers are paid minimum wage of $5.15 an hour plus tips, and gas prices of about $2.20 a gallon are cutting into their net income.

The squeeze has Domino’s and other pizza businesses considering ways to provide their drivers with a little extra dough.

Domino’s area supervisor Brian Brown realizes higher gas prices are affecting his drivers.

The pizza business previously increased the amount it pays drivers for each run, and Brown said it’s time for another adjustment.

“We’re going to change it soon,” he said last week. “I just talked to the owner, and we’re looking at what everyone else is doing. You don’t want to jump the gun and pay a certain price now and then have the price of gas go back down, so we’re looking at putting it on a sliding scale.”

That method is exactly what Papa John’s pizza does. Its drivers used to get $1 per run, but when gas prices climbed above $2, drivers were given an extra nickel. If gas prices increase past $2.25, Papa John’s will pay their drivers another 5 cents per trip, General Manager Matt Phillips said.

Shakespeare’s Pizza is starting to feel the impact of higher gas prices as well.

“The workers are coming to me with a legitimate issue, so we’re thinking of either raising the 75 cents (they now get per run) or getting our own cars,” owner Kurt Mirtsching said. “If the cost to deliver goes up, then eventually the price will reflect that one way or another.”

Mirtsching said increases in gas prices will not hurt his delivery service because people will be less willing to drive and will therefore use the service more.

“As gas prices increase, it’ll be more efficient for one deliverer to go to 10 homes rather than those 10 people to go to the store,” he said.

For now, McGrath and other delivery drivers are paying more at the pumps and hoping their customers remember the realities of the high gas prices.

McGrath said the only thing he’s doing differently is “getting more upset when people don’t tip.”

A portion of this report first aired Monday during “News at 10” on KMIZ/Channel 17 ABC, Columbia.

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