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Staff Meals!

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slowtyper

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How many of your restaurants provide staff meals? Off-menu at a discount, or just a separate dish/stew for everyone to share?
 

ThEoRy

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There's a thread somewhere here on the joys (thankless job) of making the family meal. I hope you can find it. :D
 

Citizen Snips

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last place i worked had staff food. 1 hotel pan of whatever i made per day. if you didn't get there in time, you went hungry. it was a great way to manage product and keep employees happy. the only unhappy person was me because making it was stress i didn't need in an already hectic day. on top of that, there is no way to make something that everyone will enjoy and not complain about that isn't named pizza, cheeseburgers or chicken wings
 

MadMel

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last place i worked had staff food. 1 hotel pan of whatever i made per day. if you didn't get there in time, you went hungry. it was a great way to manage product and keep employees happy. the only unhappy person was me because making it was stress i didn't need in an already hectic day. on top of that, there is no way to make something that everyone will enjoy and not complain about that isn't named pizza, cheeseburgers or chicken wings
I second the 'pizza, cheeseburgers or wings' part
 

JohnnyChance

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Every other place I have worked would let the cooks cook for themselves and the waitstaff order stuff at a discount. Which is stupid. The cooks eat way too much, and the waitstaff all order food when the kitchen has better things to be doing. The place I am at now does staff meal, we never have pizza, burgers or wings though.
 

JanusInTheGarden

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Where I am currently, the chef orders us a protein if we get with him in advance on the day we are designated to cook staff meal. He'll even slip in a few requests in his purveyor orders. We build our staff meal around whatever becomes provided, and it feeds both front and back of house.
 

MadMel

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At all the places I have worked at, staff meals are a given. Either you are given a fixed amount of $$ each day for food that gets credited into your pay, or we cook a meal of veg + meat + carbs, using ingredients that have been agreed upon and factored into the food cost. I find that it is a great way for the younger, more inexperienced cooks to show what they have. Also it is a chance for the head chef to evaluate the younger guys, especially in a Chinese kitchen where you won't get to touch the wok otherwise.
 

slowtyper

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What kind of stuff do you guys see for staff meal? curious
 

slowtyper

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Jesus, I have no idea how I missed the other thread about the same thing...sorry guys!
 

aser

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last place I worked at deducted a buck something off your pay each day for staff meal. Quite stingey of them imo.
 

MadMel

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last place I worked at deducted a buck something off your pay each day for staff meal. Quite stingey of them imo.
That's kinda sad... Are they that much in debt??
 

aser

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It was a fine dining restaurant, but corporate run as a museum contracted out their food services.

The worst part is that you're charged regardless of whether you eat staff meal. As with any fine dining restaurant, a lot of times you're too busy to eat because of the amount of work on your hands. There was also a day each week where there's a skeleton crew, and no staff meal is made that day. Still got charged though.
 

BraisedorStewed

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last place I worked at deducted a buck something off your pay each day for staff meal. Quite stingey of them imo.
We charge the FOH staff for family meal, BOH eats free. Our family meal can be pretty good though depending on whose cooking and whats left around from parties the night before, so I don't think anyone has a problem paying.

Drew
 

jgraeff

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We have staff meals everyday, we usually use up what we have extra of. On busy nights like saturdays/ holidays we usually order a turkey, bottom round, or something like that to feed everyone. Its free, the only thing is we don't get discounts of the menu unless we come in for dinner. If were working we have to pay full price for any dish. However we have some vegetarians so we will make them pasta, or salads if they can't have the staff for that day.

The only place i have worked that has had that but i feel its a great idea.
 

lumo

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Family meal is usually pretty good at my locations, served once a day and at no charge. If a cook serves up mediocre food they'll get hell, especially from me. There should always be something for everyone, even for the vegetarians and non-pork eaters. Sometimes we order things that may not be offered at that particular spot, e.g., hot dogs, burgers, tortillas, pasta, rice, etc... One of my favorite tests for someone trying out in the kitchen is to spring family on them and see how they work under pressure of their potential colleagues, and see their creativity and frugality in using cost conscious ingredients.

I have worked in places where the staff orders what they want, whenever they want. NO BUENO! It isn't efficient and could lead to favoritism and theft, plus it's nice to have everyone sit at the same time and take a break. Though we also tell our kitchen staff to...

TASTE, TASTE, and TASTE!!!
If you are hungry when family meal is served, you haven’t tasted your mis en place enough times.

I graze the kitchen all day long so I'm usually all set, but then again I'm fat. :happymug:
 

MadMel

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When we are on the topic of staff meals, here's a quote from Thomas Keller himself:

"Staff meal was first about the fundamentals of cooking and how to work with by-products, using scraps to make something tasty, eye appealing and satisfying. But the message underlying that was 'Can you be passionate about cooking at this level?' Staff meal. Only the staff sees it. If you can make great food for these people, create that habit, have that drive, that sincerity, and keep that with you and take it to another level in the staff meal, then someday you'll be a great chef. Maybe."
 

Derryn

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For me different sections of the kitchen have to cook staff meal every week. It's always the same, burgers, pasta, curries. But it changes once in a while.
Where I work previously you were able to order and cook what you want for staff, as long as it's not wagyu or lobsters you are cooking.
Which was great because the staff didn't like eating the same thing every week; so we got to experiment and try new things.
 

TamanegiKin

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Last week we prepared a holiday staff meal for FOH, what did we get? Squat, nada, zilch, zero...haven't seen a staff meal in over a year thanks to the two places I've worked in that time. Not quite sure how I feel about it either...
 

Candlejack

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Yeah, here in Sweden they can't legally give you food for free. (counts as a benefit)
So our union makes sure a few bucks off our salary goes to that..

I've worked at places where we eat of the lunchmenu and then a separate dinner of what's overstocked/left over.
And places with a separate menu for the staff, where it's treated just as seriously as our other foods. (Like spending two days on a piece of meat for the staff, and so on)
But it's a perk with having prep from 8-17 and then service to 01, where we end the day with a late night snack.
 

tkern

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Its union in my restaurant, so we pay everyone $7 a day for food to cover cost of them picking up food their own and bringing it in. If we were to provide staff meal legally by union rules we'd have to make 1 fish option, 1 meat option, 1 vegetarian option, 1 grain option, 1 vegan option, etc. I wish it were easier to feed everyone w/o getting into this legal stuff, but nope. So the chefs cook for each other and the FOH managers, b/c we're not union, for family meal.
 

Candlejack

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Sweden has rules AGAINST benefits for employees? :scratchhead:
Well, not exactly. - But you can't give it away as that would be counted as sort of payment ie. you'll have to tax on it.
But a few bucks per working day and you've got food. (That money is given by the union, but in some cases you'll add a bit extra yourself depending on the place, due to quality.)

You americans know not what taxing is, until you've visited Sweden. But then, those taxes are needed, if we didn't have them we'd be in notable debt as we have many government-funded benefits. And so on, so i'm on with the taxes.
 
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