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TO BE CLEAR: I am NOT a guy who plays for food & drink, I play 3-4 nights a week for $$, but quite often the gig include "Food & Drink". Initially this sounded great, however after several years I'm finding it not to be so. Here's my experience:

1.Eating before the gig: requires getting there earlier, which I don't want to do, plus I don't play well on a full stomach.

2. Eating on a Break: Requires exact timing by your server & kitchen, which rarely happens. Breaks are usually 15 min, which actually only leave about 10 min eating time & again I'm trying to blow a horn with a full stomach.

3. Eating after the gig: which requires staying longer, and again cooperation with Server & Kitchen

4. Taking it to go: Which actually is my best option, I carry kitchen towels in the car to keep from spilling while driving

5. Add in the pressure to order from the lower end of the menu so as to not appear to be abusing the privilege.

Overall, Free Food & Drink actually hasn't proven to be that much of a bonus. SO WHAT AM I MISSING?
 

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The drink portion. :) Free alcohol is something I always requested at gigs. I usually negotiated the up front fee first, then toss in "and how many drinks per person?" Something like that. If you play a regular spot, just be good to the server/bartender and they'll give you whatever you want. I never had a tab at my weekly spots. Reminding everyone to be generous and tip the staff well goes a long way in my experience, as does suggesting a drink or cocktail if the opportunity arises.

- Saxaholic
 

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I would always expect food and drink to be available. I don’t think of it as a pay boost, just something that should be provided.
 

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It depends on the gig and how the timing is going to work out. In general I agree with you that while a free meal is a nice perk it shouldn't take the place of a great deal of pay. I play lots of gigs where the load-in and sound check happen long before down-beat so there's plenty of time to eat and digest before starting to play. We also play many fundraisers where they have presentations, speeches, auctions, etc. in the middle that take a long time so we have time to eat then. We do some afternoon gigs and I don't mind hanging around for a bit and eating with the band while I decompress after the gig. I wouldn't want to stay and eat a full meal at 1am after the typical bar/club gig especially when I have an hour+ drive home.

I don't know that you are missing anything except realizing that the folks who book the gigs view a free meal as a bigger value than you do. Many seem to think that you want to come and hangout at their bar/club/restaurant and you have nothing else to do. They don't realize that in many ways your job isn't all that different from a plumber or electrician. They wouldn't expect the guy who comes to clear their drain or fix their A/C or walk-in freezer to hangout or take a meal (or for that mater "exposure") as compensation but that's often the way they see musicians.

Tonight I have a gig at a local place so my commute is short. They are offering food so I'll go over just a little early to get dinner before I setup but like you I don't consider it to be all that big a bonus in most cases.
 

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Last night, the kitchen packed a full dinner and dessert. I was very appreciative and enjoyed it on the road. I don't expect dinner, but it's always nice.
I do not consider it any form of "pay boost" or compensation. I will use the label "perk" or "kind gesture."
 

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I would always expect food and drink to be available. I don’t think of it as a pay boost, just something that should be provided.
+1. Definitely not as a pay boost (you have to negotiate the pay on its own).

Most venues I play comp us 2 drinks each (I wouldn't drink more than that on a gig these days) and if its a place that provides food, a meal. Sometimes I pass on the meal if it's 'bar food' (burgers, etc) because I eat better at home. But at the nice restaurants I always take the meal and enjoy it. Either before or after the gig, never on a break (I don't like to eat that fast). If it's an afternoon gig I eat afterward, evening gig, I eat before.

As far as playing on a full stomach, I suggest not eating so much, which is always a good idea, at least at my age.
 

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+1. Definitely not as a pay boost (you have to negotiate the pay on its own).

Most venues I play comp us 2 drinks each (I wouldn't drink more than that on a gig these days) and if its a place that provides food, a meal. Sometimes I pass on the meal if it's 'bar food' (burgers, etc) because I eat better at home. But at the nice restaurants I always take the meal and enjoy it. Either before or after the gig, never on a break (I don't like to eat that fast). If it's an afternoon gig I eat afterward, evening gig, I eat before.

As far as playing on a full stomach, I suggest not eating so much, which is always a good idea, at least at my age.
Yes pay boost is ridiculous, even in a small bar/reataurant - their cost is minimal ie a meal that would be on the menu at $16 costs the venue maybe $1 in basic raw materials (plus most of it is made up in advance and thrown away if not sold to a punter), drinks probably $1 each wholesale at most so for them it's practically nothing. To make workers pay customer/retail price for such things is at best a bit cynical IMO.
 

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Yes pay boost is ridiculous, even in a small bar/reataurant - their cost is minimal ...
Exactly. One exception might be wine. Still not as a pay boost, but as a definite benefit. We play at several wineries and most of them used to include a bottle or two of wine for each band member. One of the guys doesn't drink, so he'd let me have his bottle also. These are wines that retail for $40 to $60 a bottle, so not a minor benefit. However, note I said "used to;" now most of them no longer provide the bottles of wine, although they do comp us a couple of glasses of wine. The good news is a couple of the wineries raised our pay. I think wine is getting more expensive even on the wholesale end, perhaps.
 

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It’s a well appreciated perk for a bar gig. In fact I rate my bar gigs by how good the food is...being on the Blues & BBQ circuit is kinda fun too because that’s usually good “to go” food.

...And There’s usually a case of beer included with the brewery gigs.

It’s on the Rider with my stage band.
 

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Last night's gig at a brewery included a couple of beers. I could have had more but 2 is my limit anyway. No food made at the brewery, but there were expensive food trucks. Still, I can't eat just before, during, or after a gig. I either eat early at home or much later after the gig. After the gig last night, I went to my favorite Mexican joint that's open late for a big meal near my home. But no, food & drink are not much of a bonus. Nice if it's there, no big deal if it's not. One of our regular gigs provides a meal but NOT drinks. You get a $15 credit for the meal and you have to choose from the provided musician's menu, not the regular menu, so you don't pick the priciest thing on there.

If it's a bar and/or restaurant, I'd expect something to be comped just because, as noted above, it barely costs them anything. A long time ago, I played 4 nights a week in a bar for about a year. I got to understand bar operation from inside, including helping the wife of the owner sling kegs of beer. I saw how much money crossed the bar on a packed night and also how much it costs the bar for the drinks they poured. Your draft beer costs them a few cents, your glass of wine or shot of booze costs them way less than a dollar. If I'm comped a real drink, I'll choose a single malt scotch or my latest fave Redbreast, a single pot still Irish. If I'm drinking tequila, it might be Patron, anejo or reposado if they have it. I always tip the bartender, especially for comped drinks. Same principle as: always be nice to the sound engineer.
 

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Food and drink is a courtesy to me, rather than a boost. I seldom drink or eat at a gig - don’t like to drink while playing, nor just before I drive.
 

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I am with most everyone else...IS it a 'benefit'. Yes, I'd call it that. Does it have a monetary compensation value attached to it ? I would say No.

Therefore, the argument (if any venue manager ever makes it) that 'hey, yeah we are only paying you $40 per person BUT we are giving each member a good $20 worth of food and drink comps !" (and I have never actually experienced a venue manager state this, myself)....is utter BS and should not be accepted as valid.

But, the comps have some meaning. It is more, to me, indicative of the type of establishment you are dealing with. It is traditional 'common courtesy' to the band, if you will. So for me, yes..actually it MIGHT be a 'big deal' if it is not offered. Again because it is really such a SMALL gesture for an establishment to make.
The absence of it, to me, might well influence whether I wanna play there or not (unless the pay was extremely good, in which case I might let the lack of courtesy...go).

I find it a bit funny that anyone would actually complain about or dismiss a venue offering a comp meal, or comment on its impracticality. Yeah, OK, in our context as musicians ....it's not gonna be the most relaxed meal...but that doesn't negate its significance, IMHO.

Oh, and as an aside, I like to have a drink before each set...I enjoy myself more and I think I actually play better as a result.
 

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Food and Drink are perks, not pay.

If the pay is good, great! If the pay is bad, why did I take the gig? A meal won't bring me back to a bad gig, nor will lack of a meal keep me away from a good one. But if promised a meal, but then find that said meal was NOWHERE TO BE FOUND...that's a symptom of poor communication and I will not return (there's a story to that one).
 

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Mostly it is something like "don't grab any f~ing lobster" ...
 

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Of course this is the ZITI thing

https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?28684-Ziti-A-working-musician-s-dinner

Hey guys. I've been playing weddings for ~20 years and have always had the understanding that the wedding band, in addition to pay, gets served dinner. The dinner is generally the same as the wedding guests.

Last night I played at Lombardos in Randolph, a multi-function hall facility that has been in business ~30 years at that location. I've played a hundred or so weddings there as one of the "house" bands. We typically get a chicken or beef dish for dinner, we're told where to eat and when to eat it, and that's generally fine.

Last night we were told to go to the kitchen for our meal and the executive chef, a real tool, informed us that we were getting Ziti for dinner. When my drummer asked the chef if that was it, the response was: "hey take two plates of ziti, I don't care."

I'm not a child, I won't eat that for my dinner. They might as well have served us spaghetti-Os! After sharing my displeasure with the chef, I informed my band leader that I refuse to play at that facility again due to their attitude. They tried serving us ziti once before, and I told the leader that I would leave if they ever try that s%#t again. I'm sticking to my word.

It's not about money, but I feel that the chef is humiliating us and we deserve better treatment. They had 5 weddings last night, they make plenty of money. We are not sweat-shop workers getting fed a bowl of rice. Even the DJ got a real meal, the same tenderloin as the guests!

Any thoughts on this?
No, I think that food is a must and should be provided to any person ( aside from the waiting people because it comes with the job description) present at a social event even (and probably more so) if in a working capacity.

When I was a beginning photographer in Milan Italy I occasionally covered events for the Press Releases by the PR organisation of the event.

Once I was at the presentation of a Golden Disc for an Italian Singer, Antonello Venditti and the event was organised by the PR office of the music publisher RICORDI.

The event was held at a good Milanese restaurant and when I arrived I expected to be shooting the pictures and go but the waiters sat me with the rest of the press and we enjoyed a full dinner , wined and dined with honors.

Similarly, always for Ricordi I believe, I went to a Uto Ughi (classical violinist) concert. After the Concert there was a Champagne ( well Italian Ferrari spumante no relation with the cars) reception, I was there , again as a working guest. While I shot the pictures the PR of Ferrari came and asked me to take some pictures of the maestro while drinking his spumante, which I did. I sent him the pictures and he sent me 18 of the best selection of 3 different types of spumante.

With my band we have played at social events and we have always been treated no differently than the other guests. Not an extra just part of the normal courtesy
 

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By the way Italian-Italians ( as opposed to American-Italians) don’t normally bake ziti (there are all manners of dishes) and if we do we call it “ Pasta al forno” and can be made with many different types of pasta. Different recipe from the American-Italian variant anyway.



We do have ziti bakes though just different form what American Italians bake

View attachment 241698

 

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LOL, yes this I know. When I lived in Italy for a year way back when I was young and handsome (albeit dumber), I remember searching out trattorias for various common dishes which I was accustomed to in Italian-American cooking.

It was darn funny how few of those were actually present in Italy-Italian cuisine....
 

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It was darn funny how few of those were actually present in Italy-Italian cuisine....
And if they were, they maybe looked similar but they tasted very different. But I digress ..

The one thing I hate is if there is a "voucher / budget" for food and drinks but it is not per person but per band and one of the members used to bring his "large" wife who usually has no problems shamelessly exhausting the entire budget with the amounts of food and beer she er, consumes.
 
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