employee food policy

What are the generally practiced policies on empolyee lunches and pizza ana soda compensation ?

I have been fairly lax and had some employees take advantage of it.
Before, I let them have some pizza amd soda, all I serve, some would spend a half hour making a fancy pizza then a half hour eating it, taking home what they could not eat.

I even had one making pizzas to take home.
I need more detail in this area,


I have a manager ring in the food before it is made and the staff buying the pizza is not allowed to make it. The staff get the food while on shift at 1/2 price and take home at 30% off.

im pretty lax to my deal is my girls dont really get any set breaks so if there hungry they can make themselves something to eat they can drink soda also, ive had to watch that it can get a little out of control they know not to push it! im not feeding there family!!! i know when i used to work for 5.00 dollars an hour i had a boss that would buy me lunch and it meant alot to me i just try to treat people fair

We had a really lax policy to start with that employees could eat on shift, and have 20 minutes to eat when time permitted. We are open for a 5 hour shift/6 hours on Fri Sat. 2 employees started taking home huge pizzas and wings for themselves, so we set a ground rule of a menu value that an employee could eat on the shift, and if no time, is welcome to take home same value. We set it at $8.75, which would get you 15 wings (the benchmark) or a 12" pepperoni pie. We have some big ole guys these days. Since we set the policy, and started writing down meals, no one has taken advantage, and only one guy tried to sneak a second meal . . . he’s not with us anymore for other reasons.

I am very generous with employees who want to take some food home for wife/g’friend on occasion. They get 15% off on food the buy, and free on shift. We may give a better discount this year to give a better benefit since they are all kinda cash strapped and love our food. May go to 30% off when not on shift or taking food home.

we make a crew pie(s) and eat all @ once (nothing wild-no leftovers go home) - House buys crew pie(s) everything else is 50% off 2 take home

50% off everything except soda and wings for employees to be eaten on break or taken home.

Order must be entered and paid for before it’s made.

Employees cannot make their own food.

Mistake pies have to be either tossed or given away to the firehouse, business, hospital, etc.

Occasionally we’ll make up a crew pie to celebrate a success.

i give drivers 30% off and inside help gets 50% off

Employees eat free on shift… only pay sales tax.
Desserts and bottle pop are full price.
Fountain drinks are free - no tax.

Anything they eat or take home after shift is full price.

Hello Otis,I let my employee’s eat free while working and I give them a 15% discount when they take food home.The Coke Cola bottles that we sell they are charged for @1.00 in which I actually end up profiting off of.They have the option of water or soda but they seem to always choose the latter.


Our official policy is employees get 50% off on dine-in or carry out and 20% off on delivery. This is off the first $20 of the order (max discount is $10).

Usually there is 1 crew pie per night, at the shift manager’s discretion, and soft-drinks from the machine are free. Employees also share mess-ups, and there are usually extra bread-sticks, etc.

Some managers are more lenient than others.

thanks for all the feedback,
that is good information,

sounds like a middle ground for me would be 50% off everything, up to $20 on what they take home, someone else prepares there pizza from the menu.
off the clock while eating, 15 or 30 minutes, there choice and depending on how busy, other “breaks” on me

information was very helpfull, thanks,

on employee breaks and lunches, do your employees go off the clock ?

Our guys are on the clock for 15 minute break. Only a 5 hour shift, so not much sense making a big meal production.

They are ‘urged’ to take breaks when there is a natural lull in business for the night, and not just sit around for the lull, then come back to ask for a meal break. Someone must specifically say they will cover the work station for them.

Get your break in early on Friday, or you just might not get one :slight_smile:

We used to give a $1.25 per hour food credit for every hour worked…That credit could be banked and used when ever the employee wanted…On duty or off duty…I tracked it in Quickbooks and when it was used a charge slip was prepared…At the end of the year it showed up on the employee’s T-4 (Canada Tax form) as a “taxable benefit”…It was a little bit of work to track but when implemented it has good results in both employee moral and food cost…Bonuses were often food credit as well…RCS…

At our main location employees can eat as much pizza and salad during the shift as they want for free. It is one of the principal benifits of a pretty low paying job in a resort town. Wings, ice cream and sodas (cans) are 50% off. At our seasonal location they can have pizza or fountain drinks free if they are working that day. Otherwise it is 50% off.

Off shift they can buy whatever they want at half price, but they have to pick it up, we will not deliver it to them.

Under the US tax laws, you do not have declare shift meals as compensation or collect sales taxes as long as the meal is provided FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF THE BUSINESS. (there is no sales tax because there is no sale)

A large pie with loads of toppings works out to something like 25 cents an hour in labor cost for the crew it feeds.

Easier for me - we sell slices, and so employees get to have slices for their meals - no charge. Officially, it’s one per shift, while taking their break. In real life, they often will ask if they can take a 10 minute “slice-break” some time other than their lunch break. Since lunch breaks are always going to be mid afternoon or later at night, they get hungry. As long as it doesn’t get inefficient, I allow that.
Free soda.
And they will ask for a salad instead of a slice some of the time, and I allow that too.
They do “load up” their slices with whatever toppings they want (we add toppings to a lightly cooked huge slice and recook a couple minutes). I’ve seen pretty sizeable piles of meats and extra cheese layed on a slice of pizza. But it IS indeed a perk, and it’s appreciated.
I currently offer NO off-shift breaks. Employees will still order a pie delivered, or a slice on a day off. I’m thinking about an employee discount - just haven’t done it yet.
They don’t try to get free soda or slices when they aren’t working. The only abuse would be the occasional person having a slice early in the day (they’d ASK for that one) and then another - or a salad - during their lunch break.
If there is a “crew pie” it’s because I am experimenting with recipes.
And we’ll often send any late night mess-ups, or leftover slices, home with an employee.

Back in the day we used to let employees eat for free. They didn’t have to clock out. Soda was free. They were allowed to eat mistakes.

As all people tend to do with such freedom when we were not around the policy was abused. “Mistakes” were made often and luck would have it their friends would drop by and they nicely gave away the “mistakes” Or the crew would just be hungry and we just so happened to have a “mistake”

They wouldn’t have to clock out and I was too busy doing other things to realize the “short” break became a literal social HOUR.

The “free” soda became a soda fest all day and then a 32 oz ftn to go for each and every employee.

You may not think these “little” things cost you much money but they do.

I came to the realization that REWARDING the employees for a mistake was ridiculous.

I don’t eat for free so why should they. Having the employees pay for the food is not unreasonable.

Soda, an expense which really shouldn’t be a big one became a huge cost for us.

Although employees don’t make this connection usually the cost of this “perk” comes out of their pocket just as it does mine. Do they really appreciate it? I don’t think so. If I was given the choice of 1.00 an hour pay or 1.00 an hour in “free” food, mistakes and soda…I would take the raise.

Our policy now is…Mistakes go in the trash…Period. We don’t reward mistakes. (Of course if the employee want to buy it they want) We rarely have “mistakes” anymore.

Soda is a quarter each day. Pays for the cup, lid, straw and a little soda. Comes directly out of their check and no one has issue with this.

Employees get 50% off a small meal for them, while they are at work. They can take a small meal home but aren’t allowed to use it on wings or large pizzas.

Employees can “charge” their meal and it comes out of their check. (They really appreciate this)

After a year the employees get one free meal per shift.

If an employee works 2 shifts or a split shift they get a free meal.

We make crew pies on occasion, usually an unusual pie we are testing out.


We give away “free” meals for great performance, someone covering a shift, winning a suggestive selling contest etc. A great incentive employees appreciate.

Why stand at a scale weighing cheese when you are having a free for all with your “employee meals” makes no sense to me. Wanna save 1-2% food cost…recover some of the costs your employees are eating.

We give a 2 topping small staff pie (or similar) for each shift or something a bit bigger for an all day shift.

If they buy stuff its 50% but we don’t do a staff discount on delivery (had problems with some people trying it on having it delivered to a friends house where they were supposedly hanging out but weren’t).

My advice:

  1. Have a formal policy - people know where they stand, what to expect and when they cross the line
  2. If you have a POS make sure you account for all staff food. Manager always puts staff food through
  3. We do not deviate from the policy i.e. you can’t upgrade to a bigger pie and pay something - it gets really messy.
  4. All staff food must be clearly labelled likewise drinks purchased etc

There is a very fine line between ‘free food’ and stealing food. Without the policy staff may think they are just having free food but you may think they are stealing. Best to make sure you all know where you stand.

30% off everything is my standard policy. After long nights, or very good weeks, I usually reward everyone with free meals that night. We also usually knock back a couple while closing up.

If an employee screws up an order (say puts on pepperoni instead of sausage) I usually donate that to the nearest fire department. If a customer no shows or cancels then we all eat whatever it is. I suppose that can be taken advantage of some, but this has happened maybe 3 times this year, so not a big deal if it is.