Do owners of restaurants eat most of their meals at the restaurant?

Yes, it included the chips. And more refried beans than I would have preferred. Time has eroded any other details, though, so I can’t give any other specifics.

This was in a family-owned shop, not a franchise.

The local Chinese restaurant I frequent is owned/operated by a Chinese family who live above the restaurant. The family eats meals at a large table. They do not order from the menu; in fact, they usually eat dishes that aren’t even on the menu.

They eat pretty simply. Rice, green beans, and maybe a small amount of meat, typically chicken. The family members are all lean and healthy looking.

My daughter works at a restaurant and does this all the time. Management seems fine with it.

I’ve seen the documentary* Bob’s Burgers* and the family lives above the restaurant and eats regular non-burger foods at their kitchen table.


Interesting, I remember a few years ago I got off the freeway to get gas in some small Indiana town, there was a couple of gas stations there and a few fast food places. I chose the Taco Bell, and then noticed a group of about 4 McDonald’s employees in uniform coming in to eat. I assume the fast food places in that small area had a reciprocal agreement.

A buddy of mine owns a pizza shop. We meet Friday nights at a local brewery and hoist a few. A few weeks ago we did a trade; we had a spare lawn tractor and gave it to him in exchange for free pizza for a while. His shop is 0.7 miles from the brewery, He often will get two or three large pies delivered for dinner.

He doesn’t consume 3 large pizzas himself. He shares with everyone. The upside for him is that he gets a slice of each of three different pies.

He told me he eats pizza every day. He’s probably 15 pounds overweight (if that) and he is my age (60). His wife makes him eat a side salad and some vegetable matter, plus he’s very active.

I worked at a restaurant as a breakfast cook for a little over a decade. The owners were a family and the members of ownership changed slightly over the years due to marriages, deaths, and 1 sibling power struggle, but it was mostly the same group of people and they all worked there (usually 7 days a week during the busy season). The guys who worked at night would come in and have breakfast or lunch. Then they would eat dinner while working. For several years they just strolled in and said what they wanted, but later they had to ring up their orders and use the ticket system like everyone else. The dad/uncle/main man of the family would usually hop on the line and make himself something while we were trying to work. Sometimes there were some bratty kids who would walk in and command you to make them a grilled cheese or whatever. This is only my experience with this one restaurant and family, but they mostly ate there and their entire family and spouses were on the payroll and lived in company owned properties. The kids had it made, until the unfortunate timing of their redevelopment plans.

A friend worked as a teen in a fast food restaurant. At the corner, there were McDonalds, Burger King, & Taco Bell, KFC & Arby’s were half a block away, and a Chinese chain was nearby. They all participated in a reciprocal agreement where their workers could go to any of them for their employee meals. So it was pretty common to see employees, in their uniforms, eating at a ‘competitor’ restaurant.

Eventually, some regional managers got fussy about it, and demanded they not wear their uniforms when eating elsewhere. Had started out demanding that they never eat elsewhere, but the employees (in all the fast food places) threatened to quit. Also one employee, advised by his father, anonymously distributed NLRB card check forms to the employees – that brought immediate attention from corporate to the situation (and soon, reassignment of the regional manager who triggered this).

I have a good friend that owns about 15 McDonald’s franchises. He and his family rarely eat at their restaurants.