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Staff meals, what do you do?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

Long story short, several years ago the owner got stupid at at FOH meeting and told the waitstaff they could have anything they want for their meal breaks. After going through a case of 14 oz. NY strips that first night he quickly modified the policy to exclude steaks, shrimps, and prime rib.

 

As you can imagine this has been a major wedge between FOH and BOH ever since, with the servers routinely making ridiculous demands for their meals. Lately they have even started demanding items not on the menu.

 

So how do you guys handle your staff meals? Me, I would prefer to just go to a 25% discount or something along those lines. That way they could still have their meals and neither the BOH or the food cost would get hammered the way it is now, but I'm reluctant to approach ownership without more info.

 

Any consensus out there?

post #2 of 26

I let our employees eat whatever they want, but we have all lower cost items. I would set up a employee menu with 5 to 7 items that are lower cost. I think things like Chicken Caesar salad, Bacon Cheeseburger, Grilled Chicken sandwich, things like that. Some Houses make a employee meal special, I would say whatever works for your operation.

post #3 of 26

Never in my 50+ years in the business did I ever work in a place that permitted staff to eat steak,or any real hi cost item. There is no law that says you have to feed them. I feed them what was left from banquets day before., or pizza, oe salad, or pasta. No matter what you feed staff anyplace, anywhere they will  always complain.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #4 of 26

you make one big staff meal once or twice a day, say breakfast and an early dinner before service. use leftovers and cheap items. they get what they get; if they don't like it they can eat at home. no matter what you do someone will whine about it and there is no law stating you must feed them. in cases where there is a daily staff meal some employers will deduct a minimal amount from the paychecks for each shift worked. ours is $1.50 per shift. it doesn't account for the entire cost of the meal but it makes the owner feel better about giving food away. 

post #5 of 26

The owner allso writes employees meals off as a loss even though they charge  $1.50

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #6 of 26

We get $8.00 for regular shift. Two dollars more for 10 hours.  If I pay cash, I get 25% off.  Got to love union jobs.smile.gif

post #7 of 26

i have an employee menu.  easy stuff, inexpensive stuff. burgers, chicken sandwich, salad, etc

post #8 of 26

We cook 2 family meals a day. The lunch shift gets one based on eggs and dinner shift gets one primarily based on chicken. Not sure what they do in the a.m., but i've heard of frittatas, omelettes, "skillet scrambles" an so on.

For the dinner shift we have recently made:

penne with italian sauce, chicken and red sauce

lunch's soup of the day with a salad

roasted pork loin with mashed potatoes and brussels sprouts

many different varieties of tacos mostly with chicken, sometimes pork These are the most popular

pulled pork sandwiches

fried chicken with mac n cheese

chicken and andouille jambalaya

stir fry-chicken, bok choy, carrots, red onion, red pepper and jasmine rice

chicken marsala with penne and of course shrooms

sandwiches on focaccia with ham, turkey, provolone, tomato, red onion, lettuce and salad

 

It is most often prepared by the grill cook who doesn't have much in the way of prep. Family meal is always ready at 4:30 everyday. The owner may not pay well, but he makes sure we're fed well.

 

post #9 of 26

We do exactly like Chefdb & Piratechef.  I generally just raid the coolers & move product that needs to go. I also save leftovers from banquets & serve them next day. I stick to cheap stuff like chicken, sausage, pasta, etc.  We do 1 meal @ 3:00 where everybody sits down & eats front & back. Anytime I am not using leftovers, I log what was used so they can account for it when determining food cost.  People who miss lunch are welcome to order from the menu before or after their shift. 50% off. Excluding steaks & other high-cost items,

Also, no matter what I do, someone is gonna complain. I tell them that they don't have to eat if they don't want to  ;-)

A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.  - Al E
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.  - Ben Franklin
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A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.  - Al E
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.  - Ben Franklin
Reply
post #10 of 26

I just finished working at a place where I was averaging 300 cover per week, it is a family run busines, a family of five who eat anything they want twice a day, in short they eat 25% of the food. Guess what? they could not afford to keep me on.

 

In previous jobs including my current one I have introduced a staff meal policy which goes something like this;

 

 

 

 

Staff Meal Policy

 

 

 

 

Date of issue: September 2009

 

In the absence of any existing Meal Policy it has been decided to introduce the following to ensure that everyone is treated fairly and to avoid having a negative impact on the business. It will be monitored and must be adhered to at all times.

 

·      Anyone who works a minimum of four hours over a lunch or dinner session is entitled to a meal at a discount of 50% of the menu price.

 

·      Team members must order and pay for their meal and register it through the till as usual with 50% to be vouchered off.

 

·      The order should be sent to the kitchen immediately with the time it is required.

The meal will be made to menu specification.

 

·      Some meals may not be available depending on stock levels and business needs. Meals will be offered at the discretion of the General Manager and the Head Chef,

 

·      Team members are entitled to the same discount whilst visiting The xxxx xxxx when they are off duty, this benefit will not apply to any of their guests.

 

·      Meals must be consumed on the premises at a time and place that does not inconvenience guests dining in the restaurant. Food must not be taken home.

 

This Policy is to be communicated to all Team Members and displayed. Please sign and date below.

 

 

 

 

Print name………………………………………...

 

 

Signature………………………………………….

 

 

Date………………………………………………..

 

 

It works really well and everyone knows where they stand, once they have read and signed it there can be no complaints.

post #11 of 26

Well since I work at a hotel we do provide Employees meals.  Everyday at 12 noon 3 big hotel pans of food go out.  The house keeping comes upstairs and gets it and brings it downstairs for all the other employees of the hotel.  There is no set menu it depends on the cook.  When I work that shift I give them Chicken fingers and french fries and some left over banquet food.  Some time I make chicken Alfredo.  The employees that work night can buy there food at a 50% discount.  The use to be able to get salad for free but now they have to pay full price do to the lettuce prices hiking up.

post #12 of 26

I work at an Italian place most of the week, so it's easy for us. Just a big pan of some type of pasta creation and a salad. It's usually just based on ingredients that we know aren't going to be used up in time and inexpensive items. The other night I sent out some penne with alfredo sauce, sundried tomatoes and basil. Nothing fancy or time consuming, the staff loved it, and it was cheap for the kitchen to make. The staff is kind of at the mercy of our decision, but we try to please.

 

We are closed between dinner and lunch, so we just do our meal about an hour before dinner service. If they miss the meal or can't eat it for whatever reason, we'll gladly make them something from the menu, but within reason (i.e. not a giant plate of Carpaccio).

post #13 of 26

50% off while on shift.

No "take out"

All items are at cook's discretion.

All items ordered as per menu... no subs, no mods.

 

It's still a LOT of money every month. About 15 meals a day... works out to roughly $3000 in lost revenue.

post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by PrairieChef View Post
...It's still a LOT of money every month. About 15 meals a day... works out to roughly $3000 in lost revenue.

It might be $3,000 in increased costs, that's $100/day, but it sure is NOT $3,000 in lost revenues, unless your employees would eat there if you didn't offer staff meals!

 

At 15 meals per day and your estimate of $100/day ($3,000/month), that's $6.67/meal. For an 8 hour shift, that amounts to $0.83/hour. Have you considered raising their pay by $0.85/hour and they pay the cost of meals (labor + food), say 60% of menu price, you eat the overhead, you'd be far better off.
 

 

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #15 of 26

When I worked at Black Angus we got to pick from a set few dishes that were free, grilled chicken, grilled chicken sandwich, soup/salad, hamburger. If we wanted anything else we got 25% off. Non-alcoholic drinks (tea & sodas) were always free. This was only during our shift.

 

We have such a small staff where I am now, everyone just has whatever. We do tend to eat the stuff that needs eating first, ie: soup, chicken salad that is on it's last day etc. We also snack a lot throughout the day, being a cheese shop as well we are constantly cutting samples for customers and reserve the rest for ourselves. We also do tastings on Tuesday and Thursday when we get our cheese and charcuterie shipments in, those days I toast up a few baguettes and we try the new cheeses along with any accompaniments our cheese monger wants us to try and the tastings usually serve as our staff meal on those days.

post #16 of 26

FOH orders whatever they want, i think they get 50%.

 

BOH do not pay.

 

There is different rules for different dept heads as well. Some get 50%, some 100%.

 

EVERYTHING gets rung through. No friggin exceptions. If staff eats off leftover banquet food, it gets rung through.

 

When the GM is asking questions about revenue & food cost at the end of the year, we have those numbers all ready to go.

 

The $$$ figure of comped food for the 100%'ers last year was astronomical.

 

Once we seperated that from our actual revenue, food cost was pretty decent.

 

As long as the heads are happy with the arrangement i have no complaints.

post #17 of 26

"It might be $3,000 in increased costs, that's $100/day, but it sure is NOT $3,000 in lost revenues, unless your employees would eat there if you didn't offer staff meals! "

 

No,. it's lost revenue. The food is sold at full price, rung in through POS, and then discounted at 50%. We get 50% less revenue on those meals than we would have if they were sold at full price. If I were going to throw the food away IF the staff didn't eat it? Then yes, I would agree... but this is product that absolutely will be sold. Therefore, I receive far less revenue on it than I should.

 

As for tracking it... the staff meals are explained away on my month end reporting.

 

I'd prefer them to simply create a Staff Meal expense line, so that the cost of food would never reach my inventory... but they don't see the logic.

post #18 of 26

Didn't want to comment on this, but how are you accounting this as lost revenue? Its lost cost. Bottom line. Piece of 'Grilled Chicken and Potato' is what, 85 cents? Thats 85 lost cost. Maybe it comes up as lost revenue on your numbers, but thats absurd.

post #19 of 26

OK PraireChef, then you are turning away 15 customers per day because you are feeding staff? If that is the case, then I'll be the first to agree with you.

 

However, one cannot "lose" what one never had!

 

And I'm certain you are not turning customers away, at least not for long laser.gifor you'll be no longer having to feed staff rollsmile.gif

 

Oh, who is paying the 50%?

 

And why are the staff meals being run through the POS unless someone is putting some money in the till?

 

IMHO, someone needs a "come to Jesus" meeting with the bean counters because they are counting the wrong beans!

 

Instead of "losing revenue", from what you said it appears that someone is "inflating sales" by running comps through income.

 

Oh well, it is not "my house", but to me, someone is playing fast and loose with the monopoly money...

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #20 of 26

Where I work, everyone can have soup, salad, potatoes and bread free. FOH can order whatever they want at 50% off. Back of house does not pay. I get irritated with BOH sometimes because almost everything we have is high cost (no burgers, the cheapest things are catfish or chicken breast). Will they eat the the chicken breast that broke in the bag? No, they take a good one. Or the shrimp with no tails or small pieces of scallops that break off? No, they take the best ones. (S'cuse the rant, they don't care). Anyway, the 50% is policy is from someone who was there before me. I don't believe in making money off my employees, so I generally let them buy things for cost. As long as I get the actual cost back, it's no skin off me. The crew is there anyway, so there's no extra labor. I also sometimes take the broken chicken breasts and other things (undersized walleye fillets etc.) and discount it to employees. At least that way I get my cost back and don't have to hassle with a supplier over credit for something I couldn't sell that I paid for. Or I'll make a family meal out of odds and ends I can't sell. Usually this will be in the form of a stir.fry. Or when we have a small crew on during the week nights, I sometimes make things that I'm hungry for using ingredients I purchased myself. Last night it was meatloaf and scalloped potatoes. Last week it was biscuits and gravy. They're always hungry and always appreciate anything I make. Some nights someone else will bring something in for everybody.

post #21 of 26

Pete is correct. The other thing to consider is the employer can in his creative accounting ""write off his employee meals as a loss''' at end of year.  A policy I establish when I run a kitchen is that nothing to go is sold to employees including myself.;;. ""Nothing leaves the building.'' This way someone can't leve with a package and say "Oh I paid for it"... If the product comes in bad or not up to spec. Purveyor gets it back and issues credit , otherwise he is not purveyor anymore.All my food purveyors are given our spec sheet at beginning of the season. We pay on time every 30 days we expect quality and we get it.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #22 of 26

I don't know chefedb, maybe we're too small of a place to have that kind of clout with suppliers. One of our featured items that we're well known for is walleye. This goes back to the 1800s when Ojibwa Indians traded walleye to the place that was caught in the Mississippi. The walleye I buy now comes from Canada from a company called Freshwater. They more or less have a monopoly on Canadian walleye as they are owned by the Canadian government. I had a problem with quality about a year ago. None of my suppliers claimed they could do anything about it, so I called the company. Guess what? They didn't care. At one point I was getting Canadian walleye that had "product of China" on the label. They denied they ever packed walleye in China and implied that someone had copied their box and label. You wouldn't believe the stuff companies try to tell me. They know I have to buy from them. If I drop the product, my customers will crucify me, and if I buy from a U.S. supplier the cost is prohibitive and my customers will crucify me. Had the same issue with sea scallops last year. Had to call the manufacturer. I spend so much time fighting with producers (and yes, we pay our bills on time) that my head hurts and it takes too much time away from things I need to focus on. I can change suppliers, but they all buy from the same manufacturers so it's just it's more of the same.  And I always hear "well you're the only one complaining, no one else said anything". Drives me nuts. I remember when suppliers actually cared about what they sold. Now I get a "too bad" attitude. Or, "You can get better quality if you want to pay for it," Sorry, this is the real world, and my customers don't want to pay for it. So if I get a broken chicken breast and I can unload it on an employee, I'll save myself the headache. I don't let employees buy full meals to go, but if they buy something and don't eat all of it, they can take the rest home. I don't think I could legally stop them from doing that even if I wanted to as they paid for it. In fact if we have things like cut lettuce that I know we can't use the next day for quality reasons, I encourage them to take it home. I hate throwing food away. I might be wrong, but I feel better about it and it doesn't matter on my bottom line if it goes in the trash can or to help feed someone's family.

post #23 of 26

I agree with you as far as throwing food away. Unfortunatly we are in the US and one bad apple spoils it for the rest. And as far as purveyors, i agree and I trust none of them. Its like a big game of who can screw who. I try to hold my Monday purchases down so as not to get 3 day old stuff. Once a year I'll change purveyors if need be just to keep them honest. But it's a two way street if they leave something thats not on my invoice in error  or shortweight themselves ,I will    tell them. Motto being""" Be straight with me and I'll be straight with you""". I have many purveyors for years.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #24 of 26

Same here. I always tell them if I get someone else's stuff. I also try to get them to just play straight with me. Everybody's trying to make a buck here. I won't sit and tell them to sharpen their pencils up on prices as I know they'll just jack them up so I can whittle them down to where they were in the first place. I don't have time for it and neither do they. If one company is lower than the other on a comparable item, I'll tell them so they have the opportunity to match or come in under the other's price. And I won't lie about that price. The only way I know about what a price should be is by comparing company to company, which is why I would never go with a single supplier. My boss brings it up every now and then, but I don't want to do it. They don't all have the same level of quality on every item either. One time I ran out of scallops and had to buy some from the local grocery store. The owner knows me and when he saw I had scallops, he marked down the price as they were going to go on sale the next day. His price to me was lower than my suppliers'. I'm thinking "How does he do that? How do I buy from his supplier? Wow."

post #25 of 26

Omg bloody servers-who want to be served b4 guests,and eat what they like,on the menu or not -AHHHH! laser.gifsmoking.gif

Now look what your've done-wheres my medi's,ma blood preasure  just went wayyyy up!

Mmmm,dont get me started-that was another forum, i remember!

 The "Brass-Ass",aka management, tried that stunt-30% off already  dear a-la-carte prices,including chefs!

It lasted 5 minutes-some  (servers) suprise,suprise even "ate takeout" in front of guests! Every kitchen,i have been,staff in the kitchen can have (with common sense)-what they liked,while others eg: servers,office staff etc. had a staff menu,priced cheaply including a special-as many are sudents.

If we had meals left from a function-its free-call it staff relations.

Things like pastas,a wet dish,ceasar salad,chicken parma,wedges,nachos,chicken salad,minute steak,steak sandwich,burger,grilled fish etc,stuff your not going to go broke on if u charge say $6 bucks flat rate.

Mind you-its a good job,as in some places, for junior staff to have made it their job to plan,cost,prep,cook and present the staff meal-even if just for the kitchen-what a whole new appreciation of cost,profit,loss/waste & portion control they'll gain!

post #26 of 26


Mmmmmmmm! Man-id come eat at your establishment-just for the staff menu!!

Damnnnn im hungary now!
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by halmstad View Post

We cook 2 family meals a day. The lunch shift gets one based on eggs and dinner shift gets one primarily based on chicken. Not sure what they do in the a.m., but i've heard of frittatas, omelettes, "skillet scrambles" an so on.

For the dinner shift we have recently made:

penne with italian sauce, chicken and red sauce

lunch's soup of the day with a salad

roasted pork loin with mashed potatoes and brussels sprouts

many different varieties of tacos mostly with chicken, sometimes pork These are the most popular

pulled pork sandwiches

fried chicken with mac n cheese

chicken and andouille jambalaya

stir fry-chicken, bok choy, carrots, red onion, red pepper and jasmine rice

chicken marsala with penne and of course shrooms

sandwiches on focaccia with ham, turkey, provolone, tomato, red onion, lettuce and salad

 

It is most often prepared by the grill cook who doesn't have much in the way of prep. Family meal is always ready at 4:30 everyday. The owner may not pay well, but he makes sure we're fed well.

 



 

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