After you develop the general framework for shift meals at your restaurant, you’ll need to nail down the details about exactly what’s included. Start by determining if any foods should be off-limits to the staff, said Zagor.
“There are always items that are exclusionary for employees. Racks of lamb, lobster tails, steak — basically anything that’s labor intense or high in cost.”
Next, think about beverages. Obviously, staff need access to water, but what else is allowed?
“Generally, the policy is that staff can have coffee, tea, soda from the gun and tap water. Anything else starts to create cost concerns,” said Zagor.
Sometimes staff would rather eat at home. Should you let them take their shift meal to go? Not a good idea, said Zagor.
“You don’t want employees in the habit of carrying food out because you don’t want to be constantly wondering what’s in everyone’s bags and whether the food’s an employee meal or something they grabbed from the kitchen,” said Zagor.
There’s no right or wrong answer to any of these questions, but you need to make a decision and put the policy in writing.
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