How to account/record staff meals for ture food cost

Joined Feb 7, 2017
How does your restaurant handle free staff meals on the accounting side.

Assuming you punch them in through a POS what happens on the general ledger

Does it go in a "staff meal" account line under expenses?

Does your food cost line get automatically credited? Or do you calculate that manually when figuring out food cost

Does it get recorded as food sale and get discounted on another line.

What, where, why. Any clarification is helpful. Thanks
Joined Feb 16, 2017
If your trying to determine true food cost it shouldn't be accounted under a separate accounting line. 

Set out rules for staff food such as no food items off the menu, no seafood, no steaks, no housemade, no etc so you save your ass on high food cost, and punch in staff meals as the normal way you would punch them in for guests. 

Maybe modify the check name to "kitchen food" or "staff meal" just for accounting purposes.

In reality for true food cost your employee's Caesar salad is the same as a guests Caesar salad. Treat them as the same.
Joined Jan 19, 2014
As Conner stated, your food cost is your food cost regardless who's eating the meal. No need to separate what it costs you to put out a staff meal as it's not relevant to your bottom line. You spend what you spend.

Every place is different but what we do is provide them with a staff menu that they can order ONE item at no charge ONCE per day. Anything else they can buy at 40% off menu pricing, no lobster or steak.
Joined Feb 7, 2017
Just to clairyfy punch in the meal normaly under regular food sales category on the revenue side then calculate it into a staff meal catagory on the expense side?
Joined Jan 19, 2014
You could do it that why, but I don't know know why you would bother. You already expense ALL of your food purchases as food cost  , so there's really no need to separate out the staff meal is there? And since there's no revenue (assuming you don't charge the staff to eat), there's no need to run it through with your regular food sales.

That said, our rule is NOTHING comes out of the kitchen without a dupe through our POS system, including staff meals, which are rung through at no price.. But that's only an attempt to keep everyone honest.


Staff member
Joined Jun 11, 2001
If they pay for it then there's no accounting for it.  It's just part of your inventory that gets used.
Joined Jul 5, 2015
Last restaurant I worked for all we had to write down was the protein and the weight. Ownership then determined how much money went to the food cost as a credit.

At the hotel I am at I get a fixed $ amount for every 8hrs worked. So they take the total number of hours worked by everyone in the hotel and divide by 8.

I've worked in places that have had staff write down what they ate and it had to be made by another staff member.

At the end of the day you have to find something that works for you and also what is the real impact on your food cost.

For me my food cost is impacted by human error..... cook saw that there was a few desert pieces that could go to staff and instead sent down whole new cakes, or when sending stir fry to the staff cooked all the protein for both lunch & dinner, for lunch! 
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