• Drivers' group delivers angry response to Domino's fee test expansion

WARNER ROBBINS, Ga. -- The Association of Pizza Delivery Drivers is expressing outrage at the expansion of a delivery fee test being conducted at 350 Domino's Pizza stores in the U.S.

In a release, the president of the new association disputed Domino's claim that rising food costs and expenses associated with delivery are the reason for assessing the $1 per-delivery fee. Such financial concerns, the president said, stand in stark contrast to the strong numbers the company reported for its second quarter 2002.

"APDD opposes the delivery charge because it absolutely and unequivocally is designed to take money from the pockets of drivers and transfer it to the company," wrote APDD president, J.W. Callahan. "Delivery drivers use their own vehicles, paying out of pocket the costs of gasoline, maintenance, repair, and upkeep. For the use of the vehicles that make pizza delivery the $30 billion industry that it is, drivers are woefully under-compensated."

The release said that drivers working for Pizza Hut, which instituted a 50-cent delivery charge nearly two years ago, have reported tip declines of more than 30 percent. "The reason most cited for the decline is the widespread misperception by customers that the delivery charge is going to the driver, thereby bypassing the necessity of giving a tip."

APDD secretary Holly Hunter called charging for delivery the same as "taking half of every driver's primary source of income, their tip money, and putting it into the company coffers. ... I'm sure (Domino's is) looking at this increased revenue with an eye on the top slot."

APDD, a non-profit organization of restaurant delivery drivers, was formed last spring by pizza-delivery drivers who discuss issues of mutual concern at its Web site. According to the release, within two months of its formation, it had members in 23 U.S. states and Australia.

"The focus of this organization is to bring the issues of being a delivery driver to light," Callahan said. " ... With delivery drivers responsible for 70 percent to 80 percent of (pizza companies') business, you'd think they would be more concerned about our livelihood and job satisfaction."

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