I agree - if you don't take care of your employees - don't care for them - they will not be motivated to work for you nor do their best when at work. Working at the camp there is no issue with eating. It is my responsibility to keep food items available to all the staff in the dinning room or staff fridge. They do not have the right to enter the kitchen areas - I know they sneak in when I leave the area - always a touchy subject between my self and the owner and staff.
Saara, You have a great system I think! I love the 2 dollar treat allotment! In the last place we had a horrible kantina...I mean horrible. They took money for it right out of checks for each day we worked too as well as a half an hour pay whether we used it or not.
We will now be taking on staff meals at the new place...fortunately the staff is small but we want to do it right. The worst is when employees don't feel cared for...that is when things go wrong.
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Our crew gets a 25% employee discount and $2 for a "break treat" for every 5 hours worked. The break treat needs to be used that day, but several employees can combine their treats and go in on a pizza together if they like. Also, I try to make it clear that if someone is hungry, just let me know and we'll get them something. Most are a bunch of students so they don't necessarily have very much money and it's certainly no problem for us to just give them something to eat!
I've looked into making regular staff meals, but it's a real taxing mess to do that. For them it becomes a benefit and we have to pay tax on it. Crazy!
Luckily, non-regular staff meals aren't taxable, so I slip the crew food irregularly.
In the morning, I'll sometimes give into my OCD for perfectly square brownies which leaves about a 3/4" strip of excess. I'll cut this into little pieces and set out plates on the shelf where the crew keep their drinks. If a cinnamon roll looks funny or comes apart when slicing the pan, I'll part that out for them as well. When a pizza or sandwich order gets accidentally duplicated, overdone, or made wrong, everybody gets to share in the spoils.
I try to set a good example by grabbing a carrot when I need a snack and I let them know that they can eat all the carrots that they want. We have enough items on our menu that are inexpensive enough that with the discount and the $2, the employee can get a meal for a buck or two. Sometimes I'll even just make something and let them know that there's mac 'n cheese or something that's not on our regular menu free for the taking in the cooler.
Yes, it's all sandwiches, baked goods, pizza, candy, and ice cream, but (except the commercial candy and ice cream), everything is homemade from scratch. Not health food, but good quality anyway. They can only use their break treat for homemade candy as well.
For us, it's not a matter of money, it'd be simpler just to feed them, but we do like them to eat from the menu so that they are familiar with our offerings.
Except for the small bites that I put on the beverage shelf, I don't let them eat anywhere but in the dining room or in the employee area. The health department frowns on such behavior and it's unsanitary. One woman was particularly problematic as she'd try to settle in to making chowder and have her lunch next to her and eat while preparing food. I put a stop to it at once. I wish it was as easy to get our elder partner to stop grabbing bites out of the prep table!
Many years ago I worked in a hospital in the kitchen as a general kitchen helper. Pot and dishwasher - clean up after the messy cooks - serve on the "belt" to load the food item onto the hospital trays going to the patients. We were not allowed to eat anywhere but in the cafeteria after we had paid full price for everything we chose. What was the result - almost all the staff I knew would be stuffing their face whenever the supervisor was not looking. You would find empty milk cartons in the fridge, and wrappers all over the kitchen of the remains of goods consumed on the sly.
So the question is - the company save money by giving free meals to prevent stealing - or not?
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