614 Food Services

614.1 Policy

The Postal Service provides food services, including provision of snacks and beverages, that cannot be conveniently obtained at reasonable prices from commercial sources and that are required for the health, comfort, or efficiency of postal employees while on duty. The Randolph–Sheppard Act, as amended in 1974, dealing with the operation of vending facilities by a blind vendor, applies to the Postal Service.

614.2 Operation

614.21 Responsibility

Food service facilities in central lunchrooms and in satellite work areas — manual, vended, or a combination — are under the control of the installation head. This responsibility may not be delegated to any employee committee.

614.22 Management

Employees should expend only minimal time and effort in food management. Therefore, these operations are contracted out to professional in–plant food management firms and concessionaires, including qualified food service operations established by state licensing agencies for the blind.

614.3 Types

As conditions warrant, an installation may have three distinct types of food service operations. Subject to the provisions of the Randolph–Sheppard Act, as amended in 1974, priority consideration is given to the state agency for the blind for the operation of any of the following food services:

  1. Central Lunchroom or Cafeteria. An employee lunch room or cafeteria, either manual or vended, may be established to provide necessary food service to an installation’s employees. Cafeterias are contracted for on a break–even basis to provide wholesome food at the lowest practical cost.
  2. Vending in Work Areas. Vending machines with snacks, beverages, tobacco products, etc., may be installed at or near employee workstations.
  3. Blind Vending Facility. Food service and vending stands are established in postal facilities through arrangements with state licensing agencies for the blind. Every effort is made to cooperate with state licensing agencies to implement this program. As opportunities arise, postal officials notify state agencies of additional vending facilities to be operated by the blind under the Randolph–Sheppard Act.

614.4 Funds

A fee of 1 1/2 percent of net sales is paid to the Postal Service by all vendors operating under contract. This “operating fee” offsets utilities costs to the Postal Service. No operating fees or commissions are charged to blind vendors operating under permit.

Disposition of funds depends on the source:

  1. From Central Lunchroom or Cafeteria. The Postal Service must neither profit from nor subsidize the operation of a central lunchroom or cafeteria. Contractors operating these services do not pay a commission to the Postal Service. After 1 1/2 percent of net sales (operating fee) is deducted for reimbursement of utilities, any funds generated from operating a central lunchroom or cafeteria are redistributed to lunchroom patrons through reduced food costs for items sold or vended. These funds are not turned over to the employee social and recreational committee.
  2. From Work Area Vending. After 1 1/2 percent of net sales is deducted for reimbursement of utilities (operating fee), commissions and/or other income from vending machines in employee work areas is first shared with the state agency for the blind in accordance with the Randolph–Sheppard Act (see Handbook EL–602, Food Service Operations). The remaining income is assigned to programs devised by the employee social and recreational committee.