What If My Friends & Family Want to Eat for Free?

When I was a shift manager at a pizza chain many moons ago, all of my friends wanted the hook up. I was an impressionable teenager at the time, so of course I gave them free pizza. Of course. I would even make them take the dishes home so my employees wouldn’t have to wash them. That’s a big no-no in the restaurant business – even for adult restaurant managers, not just a goofy teenager like I was. Here are some ground rules you should put into place at your restaurant to make sure employees, managers, partners, etc. aren’t comping more food than they’re allowed or feeding friends for free.

Restaurant owners have to put policies into place that limit or prohibit free meals to friends, family, politicians, partners, raccoons, etc. A lot of restaurant owners allow a 50% discount to relatives as long as they are present at the time of discount. Other restaurant owners comp meals to relatives and employees, but again, only when they are present.

If your friends keep coming in begging for free meals, tell them to get a job. Or simply explain to them that if they were given a free meal, every employee will expect their friends to be treated in the same way. Tell them “Hey boyo, even the owner makes his elderly, fixed-income parents pay for food.” Your friends will understand.

You could explain it to them this way: “The owner of a gas station doesn’t give free gas to his friends. The owner of a shoe store doesn’t give free Jordans to his friends. The owner of a massage parlor doesn’t give free massages to his friends. The owner of a car dealership doesn’t give his best boy a free Prius. C’mon!”

Who you should be comping are disgruntled or loyal customers. Let them know you appreciate their business and keep em coming back!

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