Investment banking meal allowance is the daily stipend that the junior staff receive for food for days where they have to work past a certain hour (which is often). Also, after a certain time later than the meal allowance checkpoint, bankers are allowed to expense reasonable transportation home. Previously, investment banks had taxi cards or taxi chits with the firm’s name, but now most analysts will have a company credit card which they will use to call an Uber.
For weekends, all meals are on the firm and taxi rides to and from the office can also be expensed.
Most large banks are pretty good with meal allowance and see it as a way for the pit to bond. For boutique banks, your mileage may vary – with some smaller boutiques seeing it as an expense that should be in bonus instead (the bonus of the partners). Despite that, the meal allowance and taxi expense is a very cost-effective boost to analyst and associate quality of life and work productivity. Between banks, the meal allowance amount varies – from $15 to $40 with even more variance on weekends.
Depending on the food delivery options in the city (Foodora, UberEats, Grubhub/Seamless), the meal allowance may be the best introduction to food.
Usually, the most junior staff member will coordinate the dinner order (and make the PIB, get coffee, etc.). They are also expected to come up with good food suggestions and not get the order wrong – something that inexcusably happens from time to time.
Spending All Of the Meal Allowance
It is important to be cautious in the spending of the meal allowance. The meal allowance is not meant to be perceived as part of compensation or a given perquisite. It is supposed to help junior staff focus on work instead of budgetary concerns for dinner.
That said, the policy is interpreted differently with some analysts using the allowance to buy their groceries for the week. This is not encouraged.
Some teams are very liberal in their policies, with the pit spending any residual allowance on snacks or non-alcoholic drinks.
The best way to allocate meal allowance is to go with the flow of the group. However, if the group orders simple dinners, hitting the high end of the meal allowance range may be looked at unfavorably.
Abusing the policy could be grounds for termination (analysts eating at lavish restaurants well away from work). Although it is tempting to save money, it is best to refrain from going too close to the limit if it is unnecessary ($35 of a $35 allowance every day) for psychological comfort.
Foodora and UberEats Choices in Toronto
For rookie analysts who want to make a good impression right off the bat, we have asked our friends for recommendations in Toronto. These choices will make you full on a normal meal allowance and taste good to the extent that food in Toronto can taste good.
Real cities such as New York and Hong Kong have far too many good choices to list and we are not compiling any for the benefit of maybe 10 people in Vancouver or Calgary.
- Kinton Ramen
- Burger’s Priest
- Maker Pizza
- Gusto 101
- Popeyes Chicken
- Krispy Kreme
- Cherry Street BBQ
- Gushi Street Food
- Sugar Marmalade
- Spot Crepes and Tea
- Jackpot Chicken Rice
- Owl of Minerva
- Banh Mi Boys
- Fusaro’s Italian Kitchen
- Rasta Pasta
- Porchetta & Co
- Pizza Liberetto