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Can't Believe Staff Meal Becomes an Issue

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Again I'm baffled how simple things become giant festering sores from my FOH staff. So basically the owner had a policy where BOH staff ate a meal for free (burger, sandwich etc,) which I have no issue with, they all deserve a free sandwich. However, FOH also was allowed a meal for free (again something like a sandwich but not a steak or anything) which I have never heard of before. It's usually been discounted wherever else I have worked but this was the policy put in place by the owner so I had to go along with it,


Needless to say FOH was causing too many issues with it. Everyone was ringing in their meals as kitchen staff is trying to close adding substantial closing time as well as pissing off the cooks, nobody wanted something on the menu it had to be something special, they wanted an add salad for free but would pay half price for a piece of salmon and they "forget" to ring the salmon in. It was really getting out of hand because they all were stealing from the restaurant when they order entrees (these are half priced for FOH staff not free like sandwiches) and "forget" to ring them in. When I am in the kitchen it doesn't happen, when the cooks are there FOH are all stealing. I saw a ticket that said flatbread ($9) but the note under it said "sirloin med rare plz" so they just paid $4.50 for a $24 entree because they hit the flatbread key on the POS instead of the sirloin entree key. My English challenged cook doesn't quite know how the POS system works so he doesn't know how to catch these "errors". Despite my pleas to my cooks do not cook anything that isn't rang in food stills goes out because the servers tell them they'll ring it in when they get a chance etc. etc.



Anyways when I saw that flatbread ticket I said f*ck this no one gets anything off the menu everyone is getting a house made staff meal before dinner service. Staff meal is what it is, it's not glamorous but it's tasty and usually is pretty healthy.  Of course FOH is bewildered because they feel entitled to a free entree every night. Nobody from FOH will eat the staff meal, they'll pick at it and then when I go home after service I notice the hummus on cold line is almost empty and there is roast beef missing off of cold line as well. It drives me nuts because my GM is completely incompetent and doesn't care because he stills gets a free burger everynight, will not eat staff meal himself because he's a fat sow. I can not institute any sort of policies regarding FOH because the owner doesn't care and the GM (who happens to be a good friend of the owner and has no restaurant or management experience before working here) doesn't care because he literally sits on his 300lb @ss all day playing on facebook.


Sorry for the rant but FOH and terrible management drives me up a wall!

post #2 of 7
Dont hold back, tell us how you really feel. Ok just tring to lighten the fustration your feeling from the situation. I would say keep pluging the family meal pre service. It will definatly be a battle but its one that sounds like you can only win halfway. I would also try keeping track of all the pilffering being done and present it as a money figure to the owner and see what kind of responce you get. Regaurding the GM, I think its an uphill battle at best if he is all buddy buddy with the owner. I know its annoying but dont beat your head against the wall if yu dont see any real change from the ownership, and maybe glance around at other oppertunities as a change may be tge wat to go.
post #3 of 7

I once worked at a very busy bar  and yes FOH was bitchy. 


Girls wanting paninis and guys wanting steaks , thats when i said oh no , you will get rice and beans everyday before you catch me cooking high class meals for low arse bums. 


One girl wanted to delegate to me how she wanted her sandwhich i respond , " honey , this isnt subway take it or leave it "


2 days later i quit for other reasons. 


Next restaurant we did staff meals daily , usually a carb a protein and a veg. 

But the waiters wanted more , they wanted roasted this , and grilled that , and fresh pizza , thats when we lost it. 

Staff meals became eat it or starve , until our GM started ringing in order for himself , such as bruschettas , salads , risottos etc...


I literally had to take these guys and give them a quick chat , show them my ugly side . 

Since it was a take it or leave it thing , they either learned to eat or go hungry , especially when the head chef got the owners to ban making pizza , or actual dishes for the waiters. 

Especially when we calculated the money being lost weekly for these meals. 


Show the owners the bill , show them how much they are losing , sum it up and show them. 

Tell them they are losing money for a bad cause. 


If they dont change , follow lagoms advice and start looking around if they arent willing to change ways. 

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.



Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.


post #4 of 7

We serve two staff meals a day. One meal is served at noon for the prep crew, AM management and janitors. The other is served at 4:45pm before dinner service. Our closing managers are allowed to order off the menu nightly but are limited to $35 at menu price. The managers that eat nightly must ring in their meal 30 minutes before the kitchen closes or earlier.


Our AM staff meal is made by a prep guy and the PM staff meal is made by a sous chef. We always serve a salad and something whether it be chicken and rice or pasta etc. Some days it is amazing, some days its pasta with tomato sauce. It varies based on what is in house.


The FOH staff is not allowed to order from the menu anytime during a shift. This simplifies the situation to the point that there is no grey area. If you would like to eat at the restaurant, it must be on your day off and then we give a 40% discount.


To me, it sounds like you need the support of the FOH management and if there isn't any, then I'm sorry for the situation you find yourself in.

post #5 of 7


"Can't Believe Staff Meal Becomes an Issue"

Oh, I can.

If the FOH is abusing the system (and they will, just like the BOH will abuse the FOH bartender) and you have no control over FOH abusing the system, then the Draconian response is to put it on BOH and write them up if they give out free food. Really.


In my current employment, this is not a huge issue. Without getting into it too much, it happens, but it is overlooked. BUT, I DO hawk the NY steak. I'll count them, then the next day I'll see how many were rung in, the I'll count how many are left. If the numbers don't match, I'll go to the cook who was working grill that night and ask them why. Just knowing that I am watching it closely and that I'm going to throw a fit if numbers don't match helps keep it from getting rung in as an "add steak" (well, that is what I like to think). I know that the line cooks are constantly barraged with servers asking for stuff without a ticket so I understand and I allow some cushion, but they know not to budge on the big ticket items. And it's not like my line cooks are just chomping at the bit to feed FOH dinner items.


You're not working in a place where the GM cares about the FOH eating free food it seems. Does that cut into your budget? Do you have a budget? If you do and it does, then you are absolutely entitled to crack the whip and bring down the hammer (use both hands). If not, them why do you care? Just the principle? I get it, either way.


Where I work, soup is free; all you can eat. All day menu items are... basically they are paying for the tax. Dinner menu items are 50% discount. I think that is very generous.


I've worked at places, nicer places, fancier places, higher ticket item places, that had a break room and for a fee ($5?) an employee could hit the chafing dishes in the break room that were... abysmal. Like, pesto linguine with cream sauce (stretched with milk and roux) and chicken (because it was about to go) in it... if you got in line first. If not it was the leftovers from the buffet earlier that day (stale sandwiches and the like). AND, we had to eat it backwards, in the snow, BAREFOOT! And we liked it and said "thank you!". No, but really, it was junk and just another way for the hotel to make a $.01.



I dunno, man. Sounds like the community dinner isn't going to work. Hummus is probably your lowest FC item on the menu. If they're going to graze, better that then a protein. No? You may be better off going with the flow a bit rather than doing the Draconian thing... Free hummus, some crudites, cheap pita. In my last 5 years of employment, I've learned that it's sometimes better to meet half-way. Isn't always the the correct way to go, but it is a under-utilized tool IMO.

post #6 of 7

Where does the chef stand on all of this?

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
post #7 of 7
you guys get staff meals?!
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