Super Bowl Sunday isn’t the biggest day of the year just for football fans and TV advertisers, but also for the young men and women who pull their beat-up cars into residential driveways across the country to deliver steaming hot pizzas. The old saying about athletes is that a true champion wants to be thrown the ball only during the last minutes of a big game and, excusing the cliché, much of the same goes for delivery drivers on Super Bowl Sunday.
The National Restaurant Association estimated that 48 million Americans ordered takeout or delivery food during the Super Bowl last year, nearly a third of all who watched the game. Over half of all Americans between the ages 18 and 34 expected to order food. To some deliverymen those numbers are intimidating but, to the best, it presents a profit potential unlike any other that comes during the year.
While pizzeria owners might be reading those numbers with dollar signs in their eyes, there’s an obvious problem for consumers: The wait time. A large pizza and 50 chicken wings may take 25 minutes to arrive or three hours, depending on a variety of factors outside of a customer’s control. So what’s the best way to skip the line before opening kickoff?
Well, nothing works quite as well as some old-fashioned bribery.
Think about it: A pizzeria will probably schedule its best driver to work on Super Bowl Sunday, although there will probably be more than one working at once because of the overwhelming demand. By that same logic, the best drivers will be delivering on the busiest days during the week leading up to the Super Bowl, which, according to the New York Post, are Thursday and Friday.
There are obvious variables to this scenario, but ordering a pizza on Thursday or Friday (around 6:30 EST, when the Super Bowl is scheduled to begin) increases one’s chances of encountering the same delivery person who will, hopefully, be delivering on Sunday night, when that same customer has a house full of friends and family.
After they step out of their car (the ceiling of which is no doubt festooned with a plastic monstrosity meant as an advertisement for their pizzeria) and deliver the cheesy treasure, grease them with a healthy tip he or she has no choice but to remember when they see the same address during the Super Bowl.
A deliveryman who worked for every major pizza chain in the United States cleared up the tipping particulars during an Ask-Me-Anything session on Reddit last month.
“I think on orders under $25 that three bucks is fair. $5 is excellent, and anything above that is generosity. For orders above $25, i think $5 is fair, $7 is excellent, and anything above that is generosity. For orders above $50, $7 is fair, $10 is excellent, and anything above that is generosity,” the expert wrote.
“People who can't tip with usually tell you that they can't. And I'm ok with that. If you wanted awesome food and you can't afford to tip me, that's cool. I've been that poor before. I understand that. But on the other hand, if you live in a $650k house with a Bentley in the driveway and give me exact change, there's something wrong there. I'm not saying give me a $100 tip, but if you have 5 bucks you could help me out for the gas I spent driving all the way to your mansion (they're usually a ways away and secluded).”
For anyone not interested in a wink-wink corruption of their local driver, though, another tip is pre-ordering the food days before the Super Bowl party. That allows pizzerias to roughly time out their busiest day of the year and formulate a plan on how to provide the freshest food possible.
Always remember basic etiquette. The benefit that comes from bribing a delivery driver also can work against an angry customer who feels the need to dress down a tardy employee. Next time, when the day isn’t so busy, that deliverer may remember how they were yelled at for something that wasn’t their fault. It’s never smart to make enemies with someone who is alone with your food.